Tuning for BMW 330e iPerformance

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After a very successful project we developed for National Geographic’s show Supercar Megabuild where we set the tune used to make a sensible Porsche Panamera Hybrid a proper supercar, we’ve been getting more and more requests for tuning hybrids, and our latest creation is this BMW 330e iPerformance.

Tuning hybrids requires a somewhat different approach than those used on cars with only internal combustion powering systems. Nevertheless, beating the challenge of complementing the original software architecture and making it operate perfectly with the electric motor has been an enriching experience, and we’ve established ourselves as experts.

The fact that this is BMW’s fourth plug-in car was significant for us.First, itt meant that it comes from a decent line of development and tests. Now, we do not doubt that BMW has a remarkable development team and that they thoroughly test their cars, but simply put, there is no way that any tests could replace years of on-road experience gathered from thousands of customers in different locations.

Well, the 330e iPerformance came after all that was done with the likes of the i3, i8, and X5 xDrive40e.

The car we started with had a 2.0 l internal combustion petrol engine and an electric motor. The petrol unit produced 180 hp and 291 Nm of torque, while the electric motor added another 87 hp and 250 Nm of instantly available torque at any revs. This is an inherent feature of electric motors and makes a world of difference in the driving feel.

The electric motor is cleverly placed into the housing of the Steptronic Sport gearbox, and the combined system power and torque figures stand at 252 hp and 420 Nm of torque. It may not seem like much, but it is  very good driver – and a sensible one simultaneously.

For example, the car reaches 100 in 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 225 km/h. Its electric-only range is not huge – floating between 22.5 km and 40 km at speeds up to 120 km/h depending on the testing cycle – but this also means that the battery is smaller, lighter, and there to help effortlessly, rather than give more autonomy but also hamper driving dynamics with the massive weight of larger battery packs.

Yes, even in a sensible hybrid, BMW did not forget driving dynamics and performance. The official average fuel efficiency is about 2 l per 100 km, which is impressive for a sedan with about 250 hp, which costs less than a groundbreaking fortune.

The electric tech came directly from highly praised i3 and i8, while the engine is a TwinPower turbo machine that managed to snatch the International Engine of the Year Award twice. So, this powertrain is a mixture of two thoroughly tried and tested systems that work together like a charm.

bmw 330e


Tuning BMW 330e iPerformance

We offer additional tuning stages for the BMW 330e, but this customer felt that our Stage 1 tuning resulted in more than satisfying gains.So heree is what we did.

For this project, we startedwith a change in turbo pressur, which sentg more air to the combustion chambers. After this, we readjusted fuel delivery to complement the additional atmosphere and maximize the stoichiometric ratio.

This has to be done with care and alongside extensive testing, as having an efficient air-fuel ratio throughout the rev range is one of the most important aspects of any internal combustion engine’s operation.

This brought significant improvement in the power department, but we’ll get to the numbers soon. Before that, we found room for another improvement which did not significantly increase power per se but made a massive difference in the driving feel.

Namely, we advanced ignition timing. It helps the additional air and fuel combust better and improves throttle response. This was one of the first things that the customer noticed. The car reacts to the throttle push instantaneously.

However, advancing the ignition too far is very dangerous for the engine. That operation requires expertise,musto be done carefull,, and musto be tested during the process. This is why our experience, equipment, and dedication are paramount.

As an example of what this part of the tuning process includes, let us tell you what we did during the ignition timing adjustment.

The timing is not the same throughout the rev range. As you probably know, every engine exerts maximum power and torque levels at a limited rev range. This rev range is always towards the middle of the rpm array: the wider the torque curve, the more available the torque. Modern cars have a wider torque curve, but we widened it even further, making the BMW 330e driving experience noticeably better.

How did we do this?

In low revs, we advanced ignition timing to improve throttle response and increase torque. Of course, we needed extensive testing to ensure we advanced it as much as possible for maximum results but not go too far as that would cause engine damage.

As the revs increase and the pressures inside the cylinder rise, we start retarding ignition to prevent going too far and damaging anything. As we get past this point and the torque starts dropping again, we advance the timing again to give the car more push in that section.

This way, we managed to improve drivability inan extensivee rev range and preserve safety at times when cylinder pressures reach maximum levels.

Also, we make sure to set the timing so that we make the best use of the energy generated inside the engine.For example, whenn a spark ignites the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders, it spreads the flame and gradually increases cylinder pressure. For maximum results, we needed to set up the ignition timing to build up the tension and reach its maximum value exactly when the connecting rod is at the angle that allows it to make the best use of the energy.

This segment alone should show you the importance of testing and data logginy in terms of safet ando making the most of the available performance figures.


So, what are the figures?

bmw 330e tuning


The ZIP-tuned BMW 330e iPerformance now has 307 hp and a a massive 477 Nm of torque. This is with no hardware changes, just our meticulously precise software adjustment. We can develop tunings for at least two more stages for the 330e, the second one including intake and exhaust parts improvements and the third one using more capable turbochargers, intercoolers, injectors, and other accompanying parts.

Aside from the top power and torque figures, we are incredibly proud of the smooth delivery across the rev range and significantly improved drivability in everyday conditions.

If you have a BMW 330e and you wish to make it noticeably better but also completely safe and as reliable as ever, feel free to contact us and let us open a whole new chapter for you and your car.

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