Upgraded performance intakes are a great way to free up engine sound and power on turbo cars. The N55 is no exception. Performance intakes are one of several popular bolt-ons that can boost the N55 to the next level. In this guide, we will discuss the performance benefits of upgraded intakes and list a few great options on the market.
BMW N55 Upgraded Intake Performance
The E series and F series intakes require different parts since the intake tract is different. Despite the differences, an upgraded intake will provide similar benefits on any N55. As such, we're writing this as one post. N55 upgraded intakes may add power in two ways. One, upgraded intakes may be coined "cold air intakes" due to their ability to pull in cooler air. This is mostly a myth on turbo engines since the air is flowing through extremely hot turbochargers and is eventually cooled by the FMIC. Getting air a few degrees cooler isn't going to have a big impact on the FMIC's cooling ability.
The second way intakes add power are when they are a more efficient, less restrictive design. If the OEM intake is able to keep up with air-flow then upgraded intakes have minimal performance benefits.
N55 Intake Upgrade Benefits
While the factory N55 intake is effective at stock boost levels, it becomes restrictive at higher than stock boost. As such, an N55 performance intake is an excellent mod to get more power out of tuned engines. In general, the higher boost you're running the more benefits you'll gain with an upgraded intake. A few benefits to N55 upgraded intakes include:
- Similar torque gains
- Intoxicating sound
- Easier Maintenance, cleaner engine bay
Bone stock N55's should expect minimal gains from an intake alone. However, an N55 with a tune will see gains in the ballpark of 5-10whp. Torque gains will be in a similar ballpark to the power improvements. Additionally, those are only the peak power numbers. An upgraded intake will generally extend the power band and provide extra power throughout much of the mid-range. Another thing we love about upgraded intakes is the cleaner design. Removing the factory air-box frees up some space and may make future maintenance easier.
N55 Upgraded Intake Sounds
For those not impressed with the potential 0-10whp gains - we recommend an upgraded intake for the sound alone. The stock system muffles a lot of noise. Removing the restrictive air-box allows for a lot more induction and turbo noises. It's quite audible on the lower-end and mid-range while in moderate to heavy boost. We think it's an awesome, unique sound and most videos don't do it justice. This is simply our opinion. However, we believe many will fall in love with the sounds of an upgraded intake, too.
Best N55 Upgraded Intakes
Below we'll dive into some of the popular, quality options on the market. Though, it's certainly not an exhaustive list. We recommend sticking to the open intake design for the sounds and minimal restriction.
1. BMS N55 Performance Intake
BMS, the creators of the popular JB4, make an excellent performance intake for the E and F series N55 engines. These intakes retain the heat shielding air-box bottom and the cold air ducting. They replace the restrictive portion of the system with a reusable performance filter and high flow ducting. It's a quality intake kit that look cleans and comes at a great price point. We find BMS' horsepower gains and dynos to be pretty accurate. Expect gains in the ballpark of their 10whp claim.
BMS N55 Intake Price: $199 (E Chassis), $229 (F Chassis)
Buy Here: E Chassis BMS N55 Performance Intake
2. Injen N55 Performance Intake
Injen is another great option for BMW N55 upgraded intakes. This is a very similar system to BMS listed above but comes with slightly different looks. They're also a bit pricier so we recommend sticking with the BMS option unless you're in love with the Injen looks. Otherwise, expect similar performance gains of ~10whp as with the BMS system above.
Injen N55 Intake Price: $378 (E Chassis), $302.40 (F Chassis)
Buy Here: E Chassis Injen N55 Performance Intake
3. Dinan N55 Cold Air Intake
Unfortunately, for those who love the design, Dinan only makes an intake for the F chassis N55 engines. This is a closed air-box similar to the stock system, but it is optimized for additional flow. This is an excellent option for F chassis owners who want the closed intake design rather than the previously mentioned open intakes. This system will still add a bit of power and more sound, but to a lesser extent than the open intakes. It also comes with beautiful carbon fiber ducting. However, as with almost anything carbon fiber, it's more expensive than the previous options.
Dinan N55 Intake Price: $449.95
Buy Here: Dinan N55 Cold Air Intake
BMW N55 Upgraded Intake Summary
Upgraded intakes are an excellent, cost-effective way to free up some extra power and sound from the N55. Tune-only N55's may expect power gains in the 5-10whp ballpark with similar torque gains. Additionally, opting for an open intake that removes the air-box design frees up a lot of induction and turbo noise. It's a sound we love and recommend intakes for that alone, if not for the power gains.
BMS and Injen offer excellent open-design intakes for the E and F chassis N55 engine. Due to the balance of cost, performance, and quality we recommend opting for the BMS N55 intake. Those looking for a closed system may opt for Dinan with their beautiful carbon fiber design. Unfortunately, it's only an option for F chassis owners. Nonetheless, it's hard to go wrong with an upgraded N55 intake.