If you know anything about modding late model BMW‘s, it’s that the BMW 335i or 435i responds better to mods than almost any other car that I’ve personally experienced – while it is true that the N55’s twin scroll SINGLE TURBO (not TWIN TURBO like N54) doesn’t make as much power outright as the N54, the N55 still has LOTS of power potential.
We’ve previously discussed the whole host of mods to go Full Bolt On with your E9X N55 335i, but with the change to the F30 chassis a few other things changed with it – that’s why today we’re covering your options to take your Bimmer from Factory to Full Bolt on with these Mods for F32 435i / F30 335i N55 engines.
Let’s start with where things begin with performance – your F30 335i’s Intake System – or 435i Intake. There are a number of different options to suit nearly any budget and taste – for simplicity, a drop in air filter is nice but really doesn’t do much, so for the purposes of this writeup, we’ll be focusing on full intake systems for the N55 F30 BMW 335i, F32 BMW 435i & F22 M235i.
The following are some of the options currently available for your N55 F30 BMW 335i or F32 BMW 435i and almost all of those cross over to the F22 BMW M235i as well – and any of these is a great choice for enhancing your power, so we’ve laid out the options with their pros and cons to help you make your own decision which intake is right for you.
We’ll go ahead and start with one of our favorites, offering the unique perk of being 100% smog and BMW warranty compliant. If you’re looking for warranty-friendly performance intakes, or if you’re wanting one of the most bespoke intakes available, then look no further than the Dinan Carbon Fiber Air Intake for F30 BMW 335i.
This beautiful and brilliantly engineered intake system is handmade in carbon fiber. This system is warranty and CARB/EPA/smog/emissions-friendly, meaning it’s as headache free and no-hassle as possible, and unlike the majority of intakes which say “Carbon Fiber finish” or “carbon fiber hydrographic”, this intake system is real carbon fiber.
This system replaces the OEM airbox lid and the intake tube with this higher flow version which looks and sounds better, not to mention the increase in power and torque.
Of course, a bespoke product, especially one made of an exotic material like REAL carbon fiber, comes with a bespoke pricetag, meaning it’s not ideal for the budget enthusiast, but given the fine precision craftsmanship and the ultimate performance air intake system, the S-Flo Carbon Fiber Intake for BMW F-Chassis N55 engines from AWE Tuning is the perfect fit for the discerning tuning enthusiast.
Featuring full carbon fiber construction, the AWE Tuning S-Flo Carbon Fiber Intake for BMW FXX N55 Engines (335i/435i/M235i) performs as good as it looks and the extensive use of carbon fiber also makes it one of the most exotic.
With a 9hp and 15tq gain, this intake system yields the power gains you’d expect while giving your engine bay a gorgeous high-end exotic-car look.
Another great option for the N55 comes from Injen. Injen Technology has long been a player in the Intake System market, and their Short Ram tuned Air Intake for the 335i streamlines airflow for enhanced power and throttle response and features a heat shield to help isolate the inlet from hot underhood air, further enhancing power.
With an integrated heat shield, this system is able to deliver the sort of response and power you’d expect of a turbocharged six. Available in wrinkle black powdercoated or polished aluminum, this system fits virtually any build.
Well engineered and priced within reach, this Injen Short Ram Air Intake for F30 BMW 335i is also a great option for those seeking power and throttle response on a budget.
Over at aFe Power, they’ve developed their own rotomolded plastic intake system as well, good for a tidy gain of 11hp / 15tq. This system features a closed-top airbox for superior heat exclusion.
Enhancing the aFe Intake is a Carbon Fiber aFe Intake Scoop for BMW F30 and F32, which replaces the undersized OEM duct with a much larger, streamlined scoop to scoop up incoming air and stuff that directly into the airbox.
Here’s a look at the intake scoop with the kidney grille installed – it blends right in, making it a stealthy upgrade.
This BMS Performance Intake for F30 335i features a molded intake tube and high flow filter but doesn’t feature a heat shield. This system enhances airflow significantly but doesn’t have all the features of a more expensive system. Offering a great pricepoint at the expense of extras like a heat shield, this BMS intake is a great choice for power for the enthusiast on a budget.
All of these are great choices and whatever you choose, you’re going to unlock about 10whp and 15wtq at the least.
Of course, if you’re unsure you can always call our friendly Mod Experts at 714-582-3330 for advice on your next mod, whether that’s deciding on an intake or exhaust or whether it’s a good idea to go aftermarket turbo or what wheel offsets you can get away with – our guys really are Experts.
While we’re talking about intakes, it’s just as important that we take a moment to mention the chargepipes. Evolution Racewerks offers a high flow Chargepipe for the F30 BMW 335i which not only enhances horsepower and torque significantly, but the torque curve comes on much earlier and stronger than the stock chargepipe and increases torque across the entire powerband.
Why? The OEM chargepipe is a bottleneck in the system, creating a slow-moving flow of air into the throttle body. What’s more, the plastic OEM chargepipes have a history of leaking at higher boost, making the Evolution Racewerks Chargepipe for F30 BMW 335i a good idea for preventive reasons as well. Take a look at your factory rubber charge pipe that runs from the turbocharger to your intercooler. Grab it and squeeze the rubber hose and you will be surprised how easily it collapses.
Now, imagine how that charge pipe is under boost! Our new turbocharger to intercooler (TIC) charge pipe replaces that rubber hose with a new 6061 aluminum (lightweight) mandrel bent piping. Often ignored, charged intake airflow characteristics greatly affect throttle response, turbo lag and ultimately maximum power potential. Smooth bends and minimal obstructions are ideal.
Moving on from the intake is how that air is managed, and that’s done through your ECM. At the moment, there aren’t any OBD-II port based tuners for the F30 335i, but that by no means limits the power you can make. The great news is that none of these permanently modify your ECU in any way that can ever be detected by the dealer. Just remove the tuner before service and you’re good to go.
The JB4 is famous among turbo BMW enthsuiasts for a reason: It works great. The BMS JB4 Tuner for F30 BMW 335i with N55 motors offers a much more stark 60hp 80tq gain (for Stage II) and response is hugely improved with just one mod (dyno shown has ONLY a downpipe and the JB4). The JB4 offers more features than the other systems but you’ll need to learn how to use it to take advantage of all the clever features that it offers, like shift lights, open/closing exhaust valves on demand, boost gauge and a whole host of neat things it can do, certainly too much to list here.
The JB4 adapts to your modifications and should you be planning to go maximum power with it, the JB4 can facilitate up to a 100whp/120wtq gain on a car with full bolt on modifications supporting the tune and at $529, it’s not going to break the bank either – however it’s worth noting that the JB4 is not CARB legal and can’t be sold in California, and may not be street legal for use in your area, check local laws and regulations to be sure.
Heat has always been an issue for turbocharged cars, and as it gets hotter, you’re going to start losing power. As we discussed in All About Intercoolers, the intercooler helps enhance power by streamlining the flow of air but more importantly, reducing the temperature of incoming charged air – denser air has more oxygen content, meaning the incoming air can make more power upon combustion because there’s more oxygen to burn. The OEM intercoolers of F30 N55 BMW 335i models are just barely adequate, and as you do more than one full-throttle pull heat quickly begins to build up, and power begins to drop off.
A high performance intercooler prevents this heat soak from occurring for a much longer period of time allowing your car to be more efficient and more consistent all the time. Wagner Tuning’s Performance Intercooler for F30 335i is a great choice for the budget enthusiast and is still incredibly effective.
The Wagner Tuning F30 BMW 335i Competition Intercooler features a tube fin core offers even greater cooling efficiency for maximum power.
Shown side by side with the puny stock FMIC, the difference is quite apparent.
Wagner Tuning Intercoolers have the benefit of being one of the few manufacturers that can truly promise OEM-like fitment and its stepped core design dramatically increases the volume of the core.
A warranty-friendly option for those concerned about such things is the Dinan High Performance Intercooler for BMW F3X N55 engines.
Check out how the FMIC looks installed. The prominent D logo lets everyone know whose intercooler you’re rocking, and the Intercooler offers a huge return on investment in terms of power, being one of the most critical thing to making the ponies you want out of your F-Chassis BMW N55 engine.
Designed to fit as a direct replacement for the factory unit with minimal modification, the Dinan Intercooler is a perfect compliment to almost any build and offers the performance gain you want with the peace of mind of knowing you won’t have warranty issues.
Here’s how the Dinan Intercooler fits without the bumper fascia installed – as you can see it’s a very clean fit.
Another air charge cooling option is the Evolution Racewerks Intercooler for BMW F30 335i, F32 435i & F22 M235i with N55 engines.
Check out this side by side comparison of the Evolution Racewerks F-Chassis N55 Intercooler compared to stock. Not only is the core significantly larger with much greater surface area (meaning better thermal transfer) and a thicker core, but the endtanks are also aluminum and welded on rather than flimsy, failure prone plastic as on the OEM unit.
Check out how it fits without the bumper installed.
This view from below gives you an idea of the depth of the FMIC as well. Unlike Dinan, this FMIC is not necessarily warranty friendly, but offers major performance improvement at a great price.
One last option we’d like to mention is this bargain option from VRSF. The VRSF Intercooler for F-Chassis N55 engines also fits 335i, 435i and M235i but at a lower price point, it looks like a less expensive item relative to the other options available, but if brand name and aesthetics aren’t super important to you, this FMIC does offer a decent improvement in performance for not a lot of money.
Moving on from the intercooler, now we’ll start getting into F30 335i exhaust – and the first part of the exhaust system that you should be concerned with when it comes to making power – your downpipe. Contrary to popular misconception, in almost every case a performance downpipe alone will yield much greater gains than a cat-back exhaust alone, and given that a downpipe is typically a whole lot less than a full cat back exhaust system, they’re a great bang for the buck – the tradeoff to that is that they’re not exactly street legal for the vast majority of the USA, so you’ll need to check local laws and regulations to see if you can even have one – but if so, there’s some definite power to be had.
You have a choice to make when it comes time to buy your performance downpipe: Catted or Catless?
Typically, a Catted downpipe is less likely to set a CEL (though this may still occur), is quieter than catless and does not leave you with the smell of unburnt fuel coming out of your tailpipes – not to mention a catless downpipe is totally illegal in any of the 50 states for street use. That said, a catted downpipe is going to be significantly more expensive – this isn’t because of marketing or anything, but because of the expensive rare earth metals found in a catalytic converter, and the catalyst is a slight restriction in flow, so naturally a higher flow catalyst more power. Weigh your options and consider how you’ll use it before you buy so you know what you’re getting, rather than discovering you don’t like something about it after installing it. For the vast majority of people shopping for a downpipe, a catted downpipe is going to be the best for their needs.
Wagner Tuning offers a direct-fit downpipe that replaces the restrictive OEM downpipe with their flow-optimized design which features a 200CPSI sports catalytic converter. These downpipes mates up to the OEM exhaust system as well and as with any Wagner Tuning product, the fitment is perfect. There are two part numbers available, one for early production F30 and one for later model.
aFe Power also offers a catted N55 downpipe for F-Chassis 335i, 435i and M235i. The aFe Power Twisted Steel Catted Downpipe for F30 335i offers a power gain of 10whp and 16wtq, before tuning. The catted version outflows the OEM downpipe by 150%, while the catless version outflows it by 190%. It’s interesting to see a direct catted-to-catless comparison and it’s certainly something to consider.
To get the most out of your downpipe and to avoid causing a check engine light, you’ll want to use it in conjunction with a tune.
Now that we’ve discussed all the parts that support it, let’s get to the cherry on top of your performance parts sundae – your exhaust system. Unlike most other modifications, an exhaust system is a very subjective thing. Yes, we can measure them in hard terms of horsepower gains on the dyno and how many decibels it is, but there’s no piece of equipment that gauges how much YOU like it. It doesn’t matter if I like your exhaust or if that guy on the forum likes your exhaust, it only matters if YOU like your exhaust. So, what we’re getting at here is that exhausts are in the ear of the beholder, much like appreciating art. An exhaust system can help you make more power or you might just want a different sound.
Sporting dual oversized carbon fiber trimmed exhaust tips, the Remus Exhaust for F30 335i & F32 435i is a great looking and fantastic sounding option, freeing up horsepower and giving the turbo six the kind of sound you’d expect of a German performance car without overdoing it on the volume.
Available in axle-back or cat-back, the Remus Axle Back exhaust for F30 335i and 435i – this system is dyno proven to improve horsepower and torque while maintaining the “German” character of the car while enhancing the exhaust sound of the N55.
Like all Remus exhaust systems, this one too features OEM-level fitment and a great drone-free exhaust note and the freedom to choose from a wide variety of exhaust tip configurations.
If you want a bit more power out of your exhaust and an extremely distinct, refined exhaust note, look no further than the AWE Tuning Touring Edition Exhaust for BMW F30 335i and F32 435i.
Offering a very noticeable power gain of 15hp / 32tq, this exhaust system performs as good as it looks.
If you’re in the mood for something more aggressive, the Eisenman Exhaust for F30 335i is an excellent choice for those who prefer to be bold. Tailored specifically to the 335i, this system offers a truly unique sound at a price that might keep it exclusive to some at $2099 for the cat-back.
For those that prefer a mild but throaty exhaust tone, there’s the BMW Performance Axle-Back Exhaust for F30 335i. Offering a product that enhances your BMW’s power and sound while taking nothing away from the car, this system is a great choice for virtually any build and a great way to enhance sound without overdoing it.
Any of these exhaust systems is a fantastic choice for someone, be sure to listen to each exhaust system to determine what you like best.
BEYOND BOLT ONS
So let’s say you’ve got it all on your F30 335i – your downpipe, front mount intercooler, stage III tune, cat-back exhaust… all that. What’s left if you’re still not satisfied?
Step your N55 up to the next level with a Hybrid Turbo upgrade from Vargas Turbo for F30 335i – changing the turbo eliminates all the problems of the OEM unit and allows for massive horsepower gains, good for well over 500+ horsepower.
When you’re pushing the envelope, upgrading the turbo itself is the next logical step.
Whether you want to just get another 20hp out of your 335i or you want to turn it into a fire-breathing beast, you can count on expert advice from the Mod Experts at ModBargains. Call 714-582-3330 to speak to one of our enthusiastic experts today and find out how your N55 can put more power to the ground.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time
Story & All Original Photos by Nicholas Gregson
Select Photos Courtesy of Manufacturers