Real Life Test of a Tuned 230 HP BMW 320d in a Drag Race

Tuning is today a multi-million dollar business that is thriving more and more thanks to the turbocharging trend that is taking over the car making business. Doesn’t make sense? Let me explain.
BMW 3 series tuned drag race 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from Youtube
Naturally aspirated engines are harder to be tuned because you simply can’t change much in the way they work. Sure, you can increase the air flow to and out of the engine and change its output by a small amount. However, that won’t get you any serious gains unless you are actually using a huge powerplant, somewhere above the 3-liter margin.

With turbocharged units, things are a bit different. That’s because thanks to some careful ECU changes you can actually increase boost pressure therefore also increasing the power output between certain limits. It’s all sounding really good, right? Well, the truth of the matter is, if you’re going to exploit your tuned engine to the limit all the time, chances are you won’t be exploiting it for long. If you know what I mean.

Since all manufacturers are now using turbocharged plants to make their cars more fuel efficient and less eco-endangering, tuners will have more and more engines to work with.

Even so, there’s always been a reluctance showed towards such tuning systems because they seem just too good to be true. After all, all someone does is install a small chip or flash your ECU and you leave with a couple horses extra.

Real world tests are the way to go

Therefore, the only way to actually see if the tune worked is to test your car in the real world. Forget about the videos and specs the tuner claims your car will have. Forget about your imaginary scale inside your brain that should tell you whether your car is faster or not. That’s susceptible to the Placebo Effect. The only way to compare the performance is either to dyno test the car or compare it to others.

That’s what’s going on in the video below. Even though you can’t see it at first, there are three cars on a highway prepared to drag race each other.

The one with the camera is a BMW F30 320d with the M Performance Power kit on having 200 HP at its disposal. The one to the left is a similar F30 but tuned by Custom Firmware to make 230 HP from the same 2-liter inline 4-diesel. Last but not least, we have a BMW X1 xDrive28i taken up to 280 HP.

As you’re about to see, the three pan out exactly as they should, showing that the chip tuning actually works. Check it out!

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