As fuel-injection systems become more complex, owners are searching for the best BMW chip tuning options to maximize the performance of their vehicle. More power used to mean loads of work and a trunkful of parts. Replacing intakes, adjusting new carburetors that never quite worked as well as the parts they replaced, and hours of turning wrenches to make everything fit correctly. Today, thanks to modern engine computers (and turbochargers), making more power is as simple as plugging in a module and checking an app on your phone. It's called chip tuning, and when it comes to BMW chip tuning, this list has some of the best BMW performance chips available.

1. AEM 30-7109 Programmable Engine Management System

The Infinity ECU BMW performance chip from longtime automotive engine management software company AEM lets you chip tune your BMW to a level that you won't find in lesser systems. Ready to go for E46 M3 models with an additional harness, this goes beyond your normal BMW tuner by coming ready to go with an airflow model system that can calculate your engine's air and fuel needs in real time instead of entering tedious lookup and trim tables. From that base setting, you're set to tune your performance chip to whatever you need including flex fuel capability, multiple boost modes for different levels of street or track performance, data logging, and countless other high-end features. Even drive by wire is no problem for this ECU that AEM calls the ultimate solution for pro racers and weekend track cars alike. It also comes with a one-year warranty to help ease your mind about long life in motorsports situations.

Features: Allows almost unlimited tuning options, comes with easy set-up wizard



The AFE Power Scorcher Blue BMW tuning chip is one of the quickest ways to add performance to your 2016-2018 F87 BMW M2 and its N55 engine, and it can even adjust power wirelessly from your smartphone thanks to a Bluetooth connection. On the fly power adjustments using multiple preset modes let you pick from stock, Sport, Sport+, and Race, with AFE saying the module delivers up to 32 hp and 44 lb.-ft of torque thanks to increased boost as well as changes to the throttle mapping. If you think you've moved beyond the stock chip tuner's limits, you can use the app to add your own custom tunes and if you want more immediate changes without using your phone behind the wheel, an in-car remote lets you cycle between modes. To install, just plug it into your factory harness and you're ready to go once the engine is started. Using the app, you can see engine telemetry data to make sure everything is working as it should.

Features: Up to 32 hp, four modes selectable on the move, Bluetooth


3. Burger Motorsports JB4 for N54

The Burger Motorsports JB4 is a BMW performance chip that plugs in between your ECU and the engine wiring harness. Burger says that it can add up to 160 hp at the wheels to the 3.0L twin-turbo straight-six BMW used for a decade, and if you're planning a modified car it can handle up to an extra 350 hp to the road. On top of the performance maps, it has modes that will let you set a lower-power valet mode, offers support for E85 ethanol gasoline, and can give you in-dash gauges to show things like boost as well as other engine info like a shift light. Even adjustable torque for launches and a two-step rev limiter. Of course, you can choose a bypass mode that makes everything stock, all from the driver's seat whenever you need it. An optional version lets you connect using your iPhone or Android device and get real-time tune data and make changes from your smartphone.

Features: 160 hp at the wheels, multiple modes, wireless support


4. Pedal Commander for G30 BMW 5 Series

The Pedal Commander isn't quite your normal BMW chip tuning solution, instead, it offers something for drivers who are worried about long-term durability and possible loss of warranty but aren't quite happy with how their car came from the factory. More and more people are finding that modern drive-by-wire throttles don't respond in a way they'd like, doing things like being slow to react and holding the throttle open longer than they want, mostly for emissions reasons. The Pedal Commander goes inline between the accelerator pedal position sensor and the ECU and lets you make changes to your throttle response. Modes available include an Eco mode that you probably won't use anyway, and City, Sport, and Sport+, each one offering a slightly more aggressive response starting from City, which the manufacturer says offers a 1:1 pedal ratio like an older cable-throttle car. It is controlled by Bluetooth and doesn't use your OBDII port, leaving it free for other performance or diagnostic aids.

Features: Shouldn't affect warranty, offers a better feel without sacrificing durability


5. ESS Tuning MS43 Steptronic Software

Tired of a sluggish automatic gearbox that just isn't scratching the performance itch? Speed up your existing transmission with this BMW tuning chip for BMW E46 3 Series models with a five-speed automatic including 330i models. It's designed to increase shift firmness when you're accelerating hard, a move that gives you better performance, as well as a better feel thanks to the crisper gear changes. And when you decide it's time to use manual mode, this software lets you shift without the normal interference like automatic upshifts when you get higher up in the RPM range. That means automatic shifts at 6,600 rpm in D and shifts only when you say when the car is in manual mode. The software is also optimized for modified engines, with ESS saying that it is recommended for supercharged applications, not just stock. It's designed for 1998-2005 E46 models, but other BMW offerings are in the catalogue.

Features: Improves shift speed, allows for proper manual mode shifting


6. VR Tuned ECU Flash Tune BMW 325d E90

Performance options aren't limited to just gas engines, diesel cars can benefit too, like this BMW e90 325d chip tuning solution from VR Tuned. Turn your stock 201 hp and 330 lb.-ft up as high as 296 hp and a whopping 443 lb.-ft with the help of this BMW performance chip option. That's M3 levels of torque and loads of power, but there are more driving experience improvements on order. VR Tuned claims quicker throttle response as well as faster turbocharger spooling speeds and more power at every point before redlining, letting your engine pull in places it might not have before. This solution, like many modern offerings, requires you to send in your ECU for reprogramming, but that means you don't need to worry about anything other than a trip to your post office to drop it off and pick it up.

Features: Performance gains for BMW diesel engines, significant hp and torque increase


7. Dinantronics Sport Performance Tuner for N20, N26, N55

Dinantronics was one of the first companies to start tuning BMW cars, and they've been in the business for decades. That continues today with offerings like this Dinantronics Sport Performance Tuner that works on nearly every BMW car and crossover built from 2011 through 2019 using either an N20 or N26 turbo-four or the N55 inline-six, though they have more offerings that fit other years, models and motors. Maximum gains on four-cylinder engines are 30 hp and 50 lb.-ft of torque with 30 hp and 40 lb.-ft of torque possible for the six-cylinder engines. It's a smart boost controller with live data and Bluetooth tuning that plugs into one sensor under the hood for quick and discrete installation. Using the app, drivers can pick from valet modes with reduced boost all the way to the full-power race mode or anywhere in between, and if this solution isn't enough, Dinantronics offers more complete solutions and longer available warranties.

Features: Multiple boost modes, up to 30 hp gain


8. MegaSquirt PnP ECU Engine Management System

Tuning chip options for older vehicles like an E30 BMW 3 Series can be hard to find since the model has been out of production for more than 30 years. Instead of trying to work out older outdated chip tuning on an ECU old enough to have student loans, replace it entirely with a MegaSquirt PnP engine management system. This is a complete plug and play installation using your existing BMW wiring harnesses and is ready to go as soon as you turn the key. But then you can take advantage of the extensive reprogramming ability of the new computer to change your ignition and fuel tables. Multiple acceleration enrichment strategies, rev limiters, even launch control and no-lift shift are part of the software package that this replacement ECU offers. In addition to 325i models, the E30 performance chip will work on E34 5 Series cars including the M5. Find tunes for your car, take it to the dyno for wideband O2 tuning, or tweak every part of how your engine runs to compensate for aftermarket improvements.

Features: Plug and Play ECU replacement for older models, allows complete programming


What is Chip Tuning?
A modern engine is controlled by a computer and math. It reads from a table that says if the throttle is open this much, and rpm is that much, then you should inject this much fuel at this time. It's more complicated than that, but that's the basics. Because it's all software, you can adjust the air-fuel mixes, boost limits, and hundreds of other combinations that can let your car make much more power than it did when it left the factory. Basic chip tuning means installing new software, called a tune, through a plug-in module, a piggyback computer that fits between factory ECU and the car, or by sending in the computer to have the new software added using a special interface. The name comes from older engine control units where you had to physically remove a computer chip from a circuit board and replace it with a new, modified one.

Why Should I use BMW Chip Tuning?
Simply put, it's the quickest way to add power and performance to your BMW, plus give you options to improve your entire driving experience. Improve throttle response, add gauges, shift lights, and valet mode controls to your car that can even help protect it. Plug-in performance that can be made even better later on if you decide to upgrade other parts of your engine, like cams, turbochargers, or intakes, to make sure that they are delivering all of the performance you've paid for.

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