BMW S63 FAQ – S63 Maintenance, Problems, Tuning & More

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We will break the S63 FAQ guide into the following subjects:

BMW S63 General Info FAQs

S63 Standard Maintenance FAQs

BMW S63 Reliability & Common Problems

BMW S63 Tuning & Mods FAQs

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BMW S63 General Info FAQs

What is the BMW S63?

The BMW S63 engine is a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine that shares its platform with the BMW 4.4L twin-turbo N63. Both the S63 and N63 were revolutionary engines when they were released due to some fresh inclusions of new BMW engine technology. The BMW N63 that preceded the S63 engine was the first V8 engine to ever use a “hot-vee” configuration, meaning that the turbochargers rest centrally between the two banks of the V8 engine. Additionally, the S63 was the first engine to make use of BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve timing system. The Valvetronic system utilizes an additional set of intermediate followers that move on a central point by using an eccentric shaft. 

Since 2011, the BMW S63 has been used in 15 different BMW models, with an additional P63 variant used in the BMW M8 GTE Endurance WEC car. In the 12 years since the S63’s release, there have been 4 variants, with the most recent three being technically updated versions of the original S63 design. It is also important to note that the BMW S63 is the successor to the naturally aspirated S65 V8 found in the BMW E92 M3.

What BMWs use the S63 Engine?

Due to the fact that the BMW S63 is the performance variant of the BMW N63, the S63 is exclusively used in BMW M models. Unlike most BMW performance engines that see use in either sedans or SUVs exclusively, the BMW 4.4L V8 is found in both larger performance sedans and high-performance SUVs. 

S63B44O0

  • 2010–2013 E70 X5 M
  • 2010–2013 E71 X6 M
  • 2011–2014 Wiesman GT MF5

S63B44T1

  • 2011–2017 F10 M5
  • 2012–2018 F12/13 M6
  • 2013–2018 F06 M6 Gran Coupe

S63B44T2

  • 2015–2019 F85 X5 M
  • 2015–2019 F86 X6 M

S63B44T3

  • 2018–present F90 M5
  • 2018–present F90 M5 Competition
  • 2019–present F91/92/93 M8
  • 2019–present F91/92/93 M8 Competition
  • 2020–present F95 X5 M
  • 2020–present F95 X5 M Competition
  • 2020–present F96 X6 M
  • 2020–present F96 X6 M Competition

How Much Horsepower (HP) Does the S63 Have?

The amount of horsepower that the BMW S63 is able to produce depends entirely on the variant of S63 in question as well as the model that it is used in. The initial S63B44O0 variant of the S63, in production from 2010-2013, produced 547 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque. The first technical update variant of the S63, the S63B44T0 saw a horsepower increase to 553 horsepower while retaining the same 502 lb-ft torque figure due to the increased 10.1:1 compression ratio, introduction of Valvetronic, and slightly higher boost pressure. 

Moving on to the second technical update variant of the S63 engine, the S63B44T2 saw an additional power jump to 567 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. While not much changed other than a small revision in the power band, the S63B44T2 is extremely similar to the first S63 TU engine. Finally, we have the most recent S63B44T4 revision of the S63. There are two subvariants to this most recent iteration, with the standard version producing a whopping 591 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. In competition spec, the S63B44T4 produces 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque thanks to a more aggressive tune. 

Of course, all variants of the S63 respond well to tuning and bolt-on mods. We'll touch on this topic in the tuning & mods section.

Does the S63 Have Forged Internals?

Yes, the S63 crank and connecting rods are forged as with other performance turbocharged 6-cylinder engines like the B58. Cranks are forged steel. Later S63 TU engines, like the one found in the F90 M5, have a revised connecting rod design with a different design overall and 8 additional drain holes to improve lubrication. This was necessary due to reports that the S63 was experiencing serious rod-bearing failures, which were likely overblown in the first place. S63 pistons are cast aluminum but remain fairly strong.

How Many Miles Will the S63 Last?

Longevity is a tough topic to discuss, and that includes the S63. Quite a bit of the longevity discussion relies on maintenance and the version of S63 that your car employs. For example, S63TU engines have improved reliability over the initial S63B44O0 due to design changes and improvements. Overall, engine internals on most BMW S63 engines should hold up beyond 200,000 miles. Most high-mileage S63-BMW owners with engine between 60,000 and 115,000 miles have stated that they have rarely experienced any major issues and that routine maintenance should be enough to keep and S63 going for the foreseeable future. With that being said, basic repairs and maintenance may start to add up quickly at 150,000+ miles.

What is the S63 Compression Ratio?

This question, once again, depends on the S63 variant that you are talking about. The earliest S63B44O0 version of the S63 had a comparably low 9.3:1 compression ratio, which, in theory, is better for high boost loads. With the first S63 technical update came an increase to the S63 compression ratio, which sits at 10.1:1. While that compression ratio is noticeably higher, modern BMW engine technology has allowed the S63TU to handle boost incredibly well regardless. 

What is the S63 Bore x Stroke?

89.0mm bore x 88.3mm stroke (3.50" x 3.48"). As such, the BMW S63 is an undersquare or short-stroke engine. With that comes unique engine properties. A shorter stroke helps the S63 make a lot of its power in the high rev range. This is beneficial from a performance standpoint, where you’ll spend most of your time in the 5,000-7,000 RPM range. Due to the fact that the S63 is a short-stroke engine, it can also rev higher than a comparable long-stroke engine. 

How Fast is the BMW S63?

Most S63-powered models, including the M6, M5, X5M, X6M, M8 and other similar models are electronically limited to 155 mph. However, with models that have the M Driver’s package (usually an additional $2,500) speeds of 190 mph can be hit. Removal of speed limiters may allow speeds of 190 mph on certain models. A tune and bolt-ons will likely push S63-powered BMWs into the 200 mph ballpark.

How Many Turbos Does the S63 Have?

Unlike other BMW performance engines, like the S58, that utilize twin-single scroll turbochargers, or engines like the B58 that utilize a single twin-scroll turbocharger, the S63 combines the best of both worlds. As such, the BMW S63 uses two twin-scroll turbochargers which not only help with turbo lag, but also dramatically increase boost pressure as well. 

As we stated previously, the N63 was the first engine in the world to utilize a hot vee turbocharger and manifold configuration resting between the two banks of the V8 engine. The same applies to the S63, albeit with modifications to the exhaust manifold, making it a pulse-tuned exhaust manifold that helps improve volumetric efficiency. 

S63 Standard Maintenance FAQs

*This article is in reference to the S63 engine itself. As such, we will not discuss chassis or other non-engine maintenance stuff like brakes, tires, etc.

What Are the Common S63 Standard Maintenance Items?

A few common standard maintenance items for the BMW S63 include:

These are the primary standard maintenance items on the S63 engine. Obviously, with such a short list, there isn’t a ton of maintenance that needs to be done on the engine side of things. Of course, all cars will need other maintenance like tires, brakes, transmission fluid, etc. However, when it comes to the S63 engine itself there really isn't much to worry about. In this section, we'll break down the above maintenance.

How Much Oil Does the S63 Hold? What is the S63 Oil Capacity?

S63 oil capacity is 8.40 liters (8.9 US quarts).

What Oil Weights Are Approved on the S63?

BMW recommends running LL-14 or LL-17 oils on the BMW S63 engine. The standard oil weight is 0W-30. Newer LL-14+ oils are designed with fuel economy and emissions in mind. LL-01 oils follow older standards, but it's still some of the best oil in our opinion. Ultimately, anything LL01 and above will work well on the S63 engine.

As far as weights, 0W-20, 0W-30, 5W-20, and 5W-30 all work well on the S63. Some S63 and B58 owners even go for thicker 0W-40 and 5W-40 oils. With that being said, BMW Twin-Power Turbo 0W-30 oil is BMW’s official recommendation. 

What is the Best Oil for the BMW S63?

We've always run Liqui Moly oils on our BMWs with great success. They're quality oils for a reasonable price. However, there are tons of excellent oils for the S63 and people could debate all day which is truly the best. Stick with known, quality oils. You can never go wrong with using Genuine BMW Twin-Power Turbo fully synthetic oil either. 

S63s with tunes and bolt-on mods may consider running more expensive, high-end racing oils. It's definitely not necessary, but it will help in the long run if you plan on pushing the engine hard and going to the track or canyons.

How Often to Change S63 Oil? S63 Oil Change Interval (OCI)

We recommend changing the S63 oil every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Or once a year - whichever comes first. Specific oil change intervals for the S63 depend on personal driving habits. If you do long highway drives often then you can get away with the higher 8,000 or even 10,000-mile OCI. However, BMW M cars should have their oil changed more frequently than standard BMW models, so sticking to the 5,000-8,000 mile limit is your best bet for the best longevity. It might be a good idea to change your oil before the 5,000-mile mark if you intend on bringing your S63 

What is the Best Coolant/Water Mix on the S63?

We recommend a 50/50 water and coolant mix for the BMW S63. Water actually offers better cooling benefits than actual coolant. However, coolant helps lower the freezing point and increase the boiling point. It also helps prevent corrosion.

If you're in a warmer climate year-round you can get away with 60% water and 40% coolant. Some even run 70-80% for canyon or track driving as the water will help with cooling. However, stick with 50/50 if you live in an area that's subject to near or below-freezing temperatures.

Is S63 Coolant Really Lifetime?

No - we don't agree with the lifetime coolant designation. Most specialty BMW shops claim that due to the high-performance nature of the BMW S63 engine, the coolant should be changed every 30,000 miles or every three years, whichever comes first. While it is recommended to have a certified BMW repair location replace your coolant, it can be done DIY. If you are interested in that procedure, take a look at this forum post

How Often Should I Change S63 Spark Plugs?

Twin-Power Turbo engines love to burn through spark plugs. Ultimately, it isn’t as much of an issue when talking about a stock BMW S63, however, spark plug life can decline rapidly if you decide to tune your 4.4L twin-turbo S63. In comparison to some other BMW performance engines with less power and fewer turbos, the S63 has a shorter replacement interval for both stock and modded trim. We recommend the following S63 spark plug replacement intervals:

  • Stock: 40,000 - 50,000 miles
  • Modded: 15,000 to 20,000 miles

Some of this also depends on your driving habits. Those who often use the S63's power and boost will land on the shorter end. A tune-only can bring spark plug life down to about 30,000 miles. Add more bolt-ons and mix in some aggressive driving and S63 spark plugs may require changing every 15,000 miles.

What S63 Spark Plugs Are Best?

Our S63 spark plug recommendation is a set of Bosch ZR-5-TPP-33 / BMW SKU: 12 12 0 037 581 on S63 engines prior to the S63B44T4 engine variant. That encompasses 2010-2013 X5Ms and 2010-2014 X6Ms. For newer S63 engines, we recommend a set of Bosch ZR-5-TPP-330 (8165) / BMW SKU: 12 12 0 039 634 plugs. Those are best for the 2013-2016 M5, 2012-2018 M6, 2015-2018 X5M, and 2015-2019 X6M. However, if you intend on tuning your BMW S63 engine, we recommend dropping down to a step colder NGK spark plug option. Depending on how much power you intend on making, it might be necessary to go two-step colder NGK plugs. 

How Often Should I Change S63 Ignition Coils?

Like the spark plugs, Ignition coils also wear pretty quickly on turbo engines like the S63. We recommend the following S63 ignition coil replacement intervals:

As a rule of thumb, ignition coils usually require replacement with every 2nd spark plug replacement. They last about twice as long. As with spark plugs, the exact life of ignition coils depends on mods and driving habits. There are different ignition coils recommended for both pre and post-S63B44T2 engines as well. We recommend Bosch coils for pre-S63TU engines, and Delphi coils for post-S63TU engines. 

What is S63 Walnut Blasting?

An important consideration to remember is that the BMW S63 is a direct-injection engine. Direct injection (DI) engines come with one flaw, which is carbon build-up on intake valves. Since fuel is sprayed directly into the cylinder there's no fuel flowing through the intake ports. This allows natural oil blow-by to cake itself on the S63 intake ports and valves.

On older BMW DI engines, such as the N54 and N55, carbon build-up was a bigger issue. However, the S63 has a more advanced and developed crankcase vent system to help reduce blow-by and build-up of carbon deposits.

Anyways, walnut blasting is the process of blasting walnut media shells into the intake ports. These shells help clean off carbon deposits without damaging the valves or ports. It requires a shop vac and walnut media shells.

Do You Need to Walnut Blast the S63?

It's likely not absolutely needed, but walnut blasting the S63 is good maintenance. Older turbocharged, direct injection BMW engines, like the N54, see carbon build-up as often as every 40,000 to 60,000 miles. Other slightly newer turbo BMW DI engines, like the BMW N55, are an improvement and generally don't see significant build-up until 80,000 miles. Again, the S63 engine should be an even further improvement.

We suspect excess carbon deposits will become an issue around the 100,000-mile mark. Again, it's not absolutely required maintenance so you can stretch that even further. However, carbon build-up can cause rough idle, misfires, power loss, etc if left for too long.

How Expensive is S63 Maintenance?

BMW engine maintenance, especially an M specialty engine, is generally more expensive than your average car. The same can be said about turbo engines in general. As we have already covered, turbo BMW engines like the S63 burn through spark plugs and ignition coils fairly fast. Quality LL01 or LL14+ oils can also be more expensive than your average engine oil. Point is - standard maintenance can get pretty pricey. It's also not overly expensive, especially for those willing to DIY some maintenance. Expect the following S63 maintenance costs:

  • Oil & Filter: $100-120 every 5,000 to 8,000 miles
  • Coolant: $30-200 every 30,000 miles or 3 years
  • Spark plugs: $95 every 15,000 to 50,000 miles
  • Ignition coils: $249 every 30,000 to 70,000 miles
  • Walnut blasting: $400-600 every 100,000+ miles

Costs can add up a little more if you're having all BMW S63 maintenance done at the dealer or a repair shop. The walnut blasting is mostly labor as quoted above; it's nearly free if you can DIY the job. While the BMW S63 V8 certainly costs more to maintain than an average engine, that is what you should expect from a performance engine. 

BMW S63 Reliability & Common Problems

Is the S63 Reliable?

Yes, we believe the BMW S63 is a pretty reliable engine. At this point in its lifecycle, the BMW S63 has been through four revisions and has seen major internal changes to improve reliability and drivability. While the S63B44O0 is the least reliable of the S63 family, catastrophic problems are still unlikely. With the introduction of engines like the BMW B48 and B58 engines, BMW reliability seems to be trending in the right direction. At least when you compare the S63 and B58 reliability to that of the earlier N54, N55, N63, S65, etc.

The number of BMWs that utilize the S63 goes to show that BMW has a lot of confidence in the engine. If reliability was a major concern, they wouldn’t be likely to continue to use the 4.4L twin-turbo V8 in some of their highest-tier new models like the M5 and X5M. 

What Are the Most Common S63 Engine Problems?

While the BMW S63 is widely considered to be a reliable engine, it still isn’t immune to many of the common issues that BMW engines tend to face as they age. Since we’ve already written an article about the Most Common BMW S63 Engine Problems, we’ll keep it short here. 

As with many other BMW engines that use VANOS variable valve timing, S63 VANOS solenoids have been known to fail. It is important to remember that the BMW S63 uses both VANOS and Valvetronic, with the former controlling valve duration and the latter controlling valve lift. When a VANOS solenoid fails, you’ll experience a rough idle, power loss, engine stuttering, and engine fault codes.

While S63 rod-bearing issues are likely blown far out of proportion in the BMW community, there is some validity to those claims. Previous similar engines, like the BMW S65 and BMW S85, have been known to have rod-bearing failure issues as well. This issue is typically caused by poor oiling which is more prone to occur on non-TU S63s.

Another common issue is the S63 burning oil excessively. This issue can be attributed to the S63’s hot vee configuration, as the turbos are located in one of the hottest parts of the engine. As a result of the heat, excessive oil consumption can occur. 

We’ll leave it there for this article, but if you are interested in diving deeper, check out our BMW S63 Common Problems Guide.

Why is My S63 Idling Rough?

Rough idle can be a frequent "issue" on many engines. Usually rough idle is due to an underlying problem or past-due maintenance. If you're noticing rough idle from the S63 engine consider some of the maintenance items that we listed above, including:

  • Spark plugs/ignition coils
  • VANOS solenoids
  • Carbon build-up
  • Leaking fuel injectors

Spark plugs and ignition coils are the most common cause of rough idle on the S63. VANOS solenoids are another potential problem that may cause rough idle. At higher mileage, excess carbon build-up might lead to a rough idle. Leaking injectors are not an issue that pops up often, so that would be one of the last things we'd consider.

BMW S63 Tuning & Mods FAQs

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What is the Best BMW S63 Tune?

While there isn’t necessarily a catch-all tune for everyone, there are a couple of standout BMW S63 tune solutions. Due to the fact that there are so many tune options on the market, the best one is usually the one that matches your personal preferences and goals. The most important aspect is sticking with a quality, trusted tune. We believe a couple of the best S63 tunes to start with include:

These two tunes are the most common off-the-shelf (OTS) options for the S63 engine. We're big fans of the JB4 as a starting tune since it allows precise boost control and lots of possibilities. Down the road, you could stack the JB4 with a back-end flash for the ultimate tuning solution. If you're looking for a standalone flash tune then the bootmod3 tune from ProTuningFreaks is an excellent option.

How Much Horsepower Can a Stock Turbo S63 Make?

This is a tricky question, as the BMW S63 can outperform many of its auxiliary components, primarily the stock DTC clutch packs. There have been examples of BMW S63TUs running over 1,000 horsepower on stock internals. A more realistic goal would be around 700 horsepower with a tune and some basic bolt-ons. While 700 horsepower is entirely attainable on a stock S63 engine, the factory DCT clutch packs are only rated for around 650 horsepower.

If you are looking to make more than 100 horsepower over the S63’s stock output, you’ll have to upgrade to better clutch packs, with Dodson packs being the most common. With that being said, they cost a pretty penny at around $4,000 for a set. When entering into the 700-800 horsepower threshold, it is also a good idea to start thinking about fueling mods as well. A BMW S63 meth injection kit is a good idea to limit detonation and lower the engine’s internal temperatures. 

How Much Torque Can a Stock Turbo S63 Make?

~650-700wtq on a stock BMW S63. Again, the same concepts apply here as in the HP discussion above. Generally speaking, you’ll need the same modifications to run torque levels that high as well.

What Does S63 FBO Mean?

FBO S63 stands for full bolt-on. Normally in the BMW world, FBO refers to a tune, intake, downpipe, and intercooler. All of the above-mentioned modifications will likely get your BMW S63 engine close to the maximum horsepower that is achievable without introducing modified clutch packs and meth injection.

What is the Max Boost on the S63 Stock Turbo?

Due to the fact that the BMW S63 utilizes dual twin-scroll turbos, boost can generally be tuned up higher than most other single twin-scroll turbo BMW engines. If we are looking strictly at what the S63 stock turbos can handle, around 30 psi is the realistic max. With that being said, you aren’t likely to see any meaningful gains above 27 psi on stock S63 turbos. A generalized safe turbo pressure limit is around 24-26 psi. If you are interested in learning more about the subject, take a look at our BMW S63 Max Turbo Limit Guide

What is the Best S63 Catless Downpipe?

We're big fans of VRSF products, and believe they offer the best catless downpipe for the BMW S63. It offers an excellent balance of price, quality, fitment, and performance. The VRSF S63 downpipes are 3” in diameter and lack a cat, meaning that they aren’t meant for on-road use. With that being said, they provide a massive power and torque gain of up to 50 horsepower and 60wtq in combination with a tune.

S63 VRSF Catless Downpipe

How Much Horsepower Does an S63 Catless Downpipe Add?

A catless downpipe on the S63 will offer about 50-55whp gains. The more aggressive the tune and boost the bigger gains you'll see. Check out our S63 downpipe upgrade guide for more.

What Are the Limits on S63 Stock Internals?

As we mentioned previously, many S63 enthusiasts claim that 650-700 horsepower is still in the operational window for an S63 engine with stock internals. Anything beyond that and you are at risk of bending a rod or having slipping clutch packs. With that being said, if you had an unlimited budget to spend on upgrading the S63’s internal components, like forged S63 pistons and upgraded clutch packs, the sky is truly the limit.

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