By January 18, 20070 Comments Read More →

1997 BMW M3 – How Do I Upgrade the Engine?

Reader Question Austin, first off, thanks for taking the time to read this e-mail. I am pulling my hair out trying to get answers on how to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

I own a 1997 BMW M3. This is my baby and has been kept in good condition for several years. I recently got the opportunity to work in Germany with the Air Force and figured that my location would allow me to perform some much-needed upgrades at significantly lower costs than I could ever wish for in the states. So my primary desire is to upgrade my engine.

The US spec 3.2L M3 engine has about 240HP while the Euro spec engine has 321HP. From what I have read, this is, for the most part, due to less restriction on the airflow. For instance, the US spec engine has a single throttle body while the Euro spec engine has individual throttle bodies for each cylinder. Larger exhaust pipes and a better intake system add to the extra punch that the Euro spec engine enjoys.

My problem is knowing what the “exact” differences are and knowing what needs to be changed out in order to make the upgrade possible. By converting to a Euro spec engine, I am certain the ECU in the car must be reprogrammed or replaced just to make the car run correctly but other than that it is all guesswork.

My question to you is if you know of anyone who has ever attempted such an upgrade and if you have any resources that might help me?

Thank you for your time.

Very Respectfully,


Hey John,

How you doing over there…enjoying the beautiful German countryside I hope! To be honest, I have no personal knowledge of doing what it is you want to do.

I rarely work on BMW in my shop and just do not know much about the upgrade you wish to do…or do I know of anyone or a website that I can refer you to.

You might want to post this question to my free online forum board though, there are many people from all over the world who visit the board and someone somewhere might have experience with this.

Here is the link
Car Forum

Austin Davis

Posted in: Reader Questions

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