Summary:Bone stock 2020 M8 base 1,500 miles
Stage 1 e30 tune + removal of speed limiters
+129 crank hp + 48 crank tq
No change to daily drivability
Tuner: LCE Performance in Germany
Dyno operator: EMD Auto Anaheim California
Gentlemen, I would like to share my experience of flash tuning my M8.
With the ECU’s (both) being locked, we don’t have a lot of flash tuning options. ECU either needs to come out to get unlocked, or you need to go to a very reliable shop with professional tuning tools. So in the meantime, a lot of people have been using piggy backs which are great but just not for me.
I use EMD Auto in Anaheim, California for all of the work on my bolt-on 991 Turbo S. EMD does phenomenal work and highly known in the VAG world (VW Audi Porsche). They dyno tuned my car together with Emre from ES Motor and with simple mod combo, I have a very reliable mid 9’s 147+ 1/4 mile / 181+ 1/2 mile trap airstrip and track car.
The M8 posed more of a challenge due to the ECU’s being locked. I have known EMD for over a decade as the owner was previously with GIAC, and has professional tuning tools.
Step 1 was to use EMD’s Autotuner software hooked up directly to both ECU’s in the engine bay to take a picture of both ECUs – to have the ability to flash back to stock.
Step 2 was to upload OBD Unlock so that the flash tunes could be uploaded via OBD port.
Step 3 was to send ECU pictures to LCE Performance in Germany. Why LCE? I wanted calibration from a long time automotive software engineers. LCE is an up-and-coming shop but have been in the automotive business for decades. They are a full-service shop in Germany that does some mind boggling builds including all mechanical, electrical and software. They have a beautiful M8 comp shop car as well a bunch of other incredible cars.
Step4: few days after sending the stock ECU pictures to LCE, they sent two tunes back to EMD. Both tunes stage 1 as my M8 is otherwise bone stock. First tune is 91 octane and second tune is e30. I only plan to use the e30 tune as I am lucky enough to have a Chervron station with e85 two miles from my home.
Step 5 was to hit the dyno. I picked a great day – it was 86 degrees F in the middle of January and the dyno room was even hotter – but it was a blessing since I’d rather dyno in high temp, high DA conditions. EMD uses a mustang dyno and is calibrated to read both crank and wheel hp.
EMD strapped the car down and did a couple dyno pulls with the car 100% stock. Coincidentally, the car made exactly 600 crank hp on the dyno. Whether the car makes more or less it doesn’t matter – it was the best baseline we could hope for. We were taking logs using bFlash and most interesting was that the car needed to produce 1.35 bar stock which is very high (highest LCE has ever seen stock). We think because it was so hot with IAT’s starting each dyno pull over 50 celsius. Nothing we could do about this with BMW’s weird air to (coolant) water setup.
Next step was load up the 91 tune and dyno again. I’m likely never using this tune but it was fun to see nevertheless. It made around 50 more crank hp on the base map. We could have changed some parameters to make more power but I didn’t want to waste any time since I don’t plan to use it. If I want, I can always go back to EMD and custom calibrate it later.
So then we used the BMW connected app to see exactly how much fuel was in the car, and added 4 gallons of e85 and computed e32 based on the assumption of 10% E in California 91 octane and 80% E in the E85 pump. EMD wanted to install an ethanol reader and I will do that later once we purchase another stock fuel line.
Then EMD loaded the e30 tune and did the dyno pull and the results were incredible. 729 crank hp. Now here’s where it gets interesting. Logs were sent to LCE and they asked how much more power I wanted and I said none. In fact, the custom calibrations thereafter were to reduce boost, particularly in the lower rpms.
I ended up reducing boost under 4000 rpm from 1.35 bar stock to 1.15 bar tuned. Max boost between 4000 rpm and 7000 rpm was 1.5 bar.
This is not going to be a race car in fact all I do with it is use it for surfing and my wife drives it sometimes when I need her X5. Yes probably the fastest surf car on planet earth but needs to be reliable with no chance of transmission problems or faults or error codes or anything like that. Goal is 100% reliability and drivability with a little more punch. Well, goal achieved.
I haven’t tested it 1/4 mile but driving home from EMD it behaves exactly like stock. When I go WOT it kicks down exactly like stock just way more power. I did a couple 0-60mph pulls stock yesterday which was 3.0 (2.8 with 1 foot rollout) and tuned 2.9 (2.7 with rollout) just brake boosting. I haven’t ever used launch control and don’t plan on it until I change tires since I have crappy PZeros. I was happy it didn’t spin much on the launch just chirped a few times all the way to like 80mph. Over 80mph is where it gets interesting. I can tell the car is fighting for grip and its heft gets in the way under 80mph but over 80 I have full traction and the weight is less apparent and rockets away, much different than when stock. I’m guessing mid130’s 1/4 mile which is my goal Stage 1. Nothing higher for now.
Anyway I’m extraordinarily pleased with the ease of the process and the results. LCE and EMD are amazing to work with – it couldn’t have been simpler given the context of the locked ECU.