Welcome to the F90 M5. Launched for the 2018 model year, the F90 was a massive improvement over the previous F10 generation. Even in it’s stock form, this car is mighty impressive, boasting 600hp and 553lb-ft of torque. With an 8 speed automatic and standard AWD, the F90 rockets to 60mph in just 3.2 seconds.
If you’re the proud owner of one of these high-performance luxury sedans, chances are you are always looking for ways to make it even better. Whether you’re looking to boost its performance, improve its handling, or just make it look even more aggressive and stylish, there are plenty of modifications available to help you achieve your goals.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular and effective modifications that you can make to your M5 (F90), as well as some tips and advice to help you get the most out of your car. So, whether you’re a seasoned car enthusiast or just getting started with modifying your M5 (F90), this blog is the perfect resource for you.
In this article we’ll go over options for:
Tuning and Performance
Suspension and Handling
With a V8 under the hood, the exhaust note of the M5 is definitley one of the best sounding of the M-cars. Open it up with an aftermarket exhuast system and you will be smiliing ear to ear everytime you step on it in your M5.
There are 3 popular options when it comes to aftermarket exhaust configurations:
- Aftermarket Downpipes w/ Factory Cat-Back
- Aftermarket Cat-Back w/ Factory Downpipes
- Full Aftermarket Turbo Back Exhaust System
Downpipes w/ Factory Cat-Back
The easiest and most cost-effective way to pick up power AND sound would be to run the factory cat-back with a set of aftermarket downpipes.
Worried about emissions and/or a check engine light? We reccomend the Active Autowerke GESI Catted Downpipes.
These downpipes are equipped with 4.5″ GESI High-Flow Cats, which means NO CEL and no problem with emissions. Not only that, but expect significant power gain as well as a reduction in turbo lag.
Not worried about emissions and looking for some “Race Use Only” catless downpipes? VRSF offers a downpipe set to completely replace the restrictive factory cats.
The factory downpipes have 2 sets of cats, primaries and secondaries. VRSF gives you the option to delete just the primaries, just the secondaries, or both.
Definitley a massive improvement over stock, also makes for an increase of almost 80whp when tuned.
Cat-Back w/ Factory Downpipes
Looking for just a sound increase yet not too worried about power? An aftermarket cat-back is what you need. These systems will wake up that V8 sound without having to worry about tuning, emissions, CEL etc. While downpipes can make for a tricky install, a cat-back system is quick bolt-on and can be reversed just as easily.
The FI Exhaust 2018-2022 BMW M5/M5 Competition (F90) Valvetronic Exhaust System is our favorite stainless steel system for the M5. Not only does it sound great, it allows some customization as well, with options for downpipes and different color exhaust tips.
Stainless steel not cutting it for you? Akrapovic has you covered with their full Titanium system. Not only do Akraprovic systems have an amazing sound, you can count on OEM-Level fitment making installation an absolute breeze. Take a listen:
Full Turbo Back Exhaust System
Let’s say you went with one of the two options above and you still haven’t found the sound you are looking for. Combine and the two for a full turbo-back system and your F90 will sound like no other.
FI Exhuast makes this easy for you as you are able to option their downpipes with their cat-back exhaust.
Amazing right? If it were us we’d do the full system hands-down.
Okay so we have the exhaust note figured out, now let’s work on that induction noise. An aftermarket intake not only looks great when you pop the hood, but can increase throttle response, add horsepower, and best of all will unlock some great turbo sounds when you step on it.
Looking for a more cost-effective route to unlock some turbo noises? CTS Turbo always provides. We consistentally run CTS Turbo on our personal cars as well as many of our customers.
Want something a little fancier to show off at your local cars and coffee? Check out the Eventuri 2018-2022 BMW M5 (F90) Carbon Fiber Intake System – V2.
Not only do these look and sound amazing, the closed airbox design has dyno-proven performance gains, a must have when looking to get all of the power you can out of the M5’s Twin Turbo V8.
Tuning and Performance
Adding and exhaust an intake system to your F90 sure will add some horsepower, but you still leaving quite a bit on the table until you tune your car’s ECU. With some newer cars having locked ECUs, tuning can be tricky, depending on when your car was produced. Luckily we have reccomendations for both locked and un-locked cars, allowing you to pickup that extra horsepower regardless.
Pre-June 2020 Production Cars – ECU Flash
If your F90 was produced before June 2020, BootMod3 makes tuning your car easier than ever.
Once you purchase your Bootmod3 License (see above), all you have to do is plug your iPhone, Android, or laptop into the OBD2 port of your M5 and tune away! The app not only provides a few off-the-shelf (OTS) standard tunes, it also allows for the capability to load custom tunes from the tuner of your choice. This is hands down the easiest way to tune your ECU and pick up power.
You also have the option to visit a local tuning shop, strapping the car to the dyno, and write a custom tune for your M5. This option is available for any car with an unlocked ECU and allows the tuner to read real time data from your vehicle to perfect your M5’s tune.
Post-June 2020 Production Cars – Piggyback Tune
Unfortunatley if your car was made after June 2020, the ECU on your M5 (or any other BMW) will be locked from the factory. (ECU unlock options are available). You still have some options to tune your car, just outside of the traditional ECU flash we discussed above. The work around? A piggyback tuner.
The JB4 Tuner comes with hardware that is required to be installed to run the tuning software. The tuner attaches to your TMAP sensors and your OBD2 port, allowing you to make changes to boost control, throttle mapping, and much more. Option the additional data cable or wireless connection and you can monitor over 40 different gauges and engine parameters, allowing for data-logging as well. Stock vehicles can see gains of up to 80whp and 100whtq with this unit installed.
The stock turbos on these cars allow you to get into the 650-700whp range quite reliably with only a few bolt on modifications. If that’s not enough, do not worry, replacing the factory turbos with an upgraded set is a fairly simple process and unlocks a whole new range of power.
Pure Turbos makes an upgrade for the M5 that turns the power all the way to 11. With supporting mods you can see power levels of 800whp+, shooting these cars deep into the 9’s. At these power levels it’s important to consider upgrading your engines internals and transmission for long-lasting reliability. A built motor and upgraded fuel system can also take you into the 1000whp+ range.
While it’s tempting to just throw as many power adders as you can at your motor, it’s important we upgrading the cooling components as well as other aspects of the motor to handle the increased horsepower. This will prevent some major headache down the road as the stock intercooler and chargepipes may fail or experience issues with higher boost levels.
Upgraded intercoolers will not only reduce heat-soak, but also allow the option for Meth Injection, which will further reduce temperatures and make more power.
Suspension and Handling
Being a 4-Door sedan, the M5 doesn’t neccesarily have the most aggressive stance out of the factory. This can be easily solved by swapping out the springs of your M5 or replacing the full suspension with a coilover system.
The simplest solution is lowering springs. This will lower your M5 about an inch in the front and a half inch in the rear.
Looking to go lower? You can actually use the M550i Springs on the M5 to achieve a much lower drop, at 1.2 inches both front and rear.
Looking for a more adjustable solution? KW is the way to go. Their Height Adjustable Spring kit allows you to retain the factory shocks and suspension settings but still make adjustments to the height of the vehicle. Want to go HAM? Get their full V4 Coilover Suspension setup. This replaces the entire suspension and is extremely tuneable for daily driving, track day duty, and anywhere in between. Check them out below.
We now have built the perfect F90 M5, but we are missing one thing, Carbon Fiber. If you are going for the sleeper look than you can skip this section, but at German Muscle we LOVE carbon. Take a look below at some of our favorite pieces from RW Carbon.
We sure love the F90 platform and all of the available modifications for it. We hope this guide has proven to be helpful in your journey of modifying your own F90. If you have an questions feel free to reach out to us at germanmuscle.co or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also give us a call at 480-569-3402 to talk to a performance specialist.
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