M3 S65 Supercharger Upgrade Guide

BMW S65 V8 engines are in the 2008-2013 E90/E92 M3. This incredible 4.0L engine is able to rev well beyond 8,000 RPM's and delivers 414 horsepower. Solid numbers for a NA V8 engine of the era. However, some may consider it a little lackluster by modern standards. Not a problem, though. Those looking to push the S65 M3 to the next level should consider a supercharger. The right setup can push the E9x M3 to 600-700+whp. In this guide, we discuss BMW S65 E90/E92 M3 supercharger kits, supporting mods, cost, risks, and more.

S65 M3 VF Engineering SuperchargerPin

E90/E92 M3 S65 Background Info

Before moving onto actual S65 supercharger upgrade kits it's important to discuss some background info. How much power can the S65 V8 engine actually handle? What are the risks of supercharging the E90/E92 M3? What supporting mods are necessary? We'll dive into all of these topics before moving onto some of the best S65 M3 supercharger kits.

How Much Power Can The S65 Handle?

The S65 4.0 V8 engine can handle about 550-650whp. 550-600whp is generally a good limit on 93 octane pump gas with proper supporting mods like headers. E85 on the other hand can increase those limits to about 600-650whp, if not more. This is a pretty short answer to what could be a long discussion.

A couple major points, though. There is never a perfect answer to engine limits. It can vary a lot based on engine health, conditions, tuning, torque, and many other factors. All else equal, the further you push things the more risk you accept. Things can still go wrong on S65 M3's making 500-550whp. On the other hand, some supercharged M3's may hold up for ages at 650+whp.

E9x M3 Rod Bearings & Superchargers

OK we won't beat this to death since rod bearings are a huge topic on the E90 & E92 M3 engine. If you're looking at M3 supercharger kits you're probably well aware of the rod bearing issues. We highly recommend ensuring rod bearings are healthy before supercharging. If you're not DIY'ing this it can be a fairly hefty bill to replace the rod bearings. It's worth it, though.

M3 S65 Supercharger Supporting Mods

A lot of our FI upgrade guides are a little different for supporting mods. However, the S65 of course is not supercharged from the factory. This means most kits are complete with intercoolers, piping, injectors, off-the-shelf tunes, etc. It's essentially everything you need to run the base S65 supercharger with the kit. We'll do our best to clarify if any kits we discuss do NOT include all of the base mods.

Anyways, most kits include what you need for the full SC conversion. There are tons of extra mods you may consider depending on power goals, though. A few things to consider prior to supercharging an E90/E92 M3 include:

  • Headers/exhaust
  • Race gas or E85
  • Wheels & tires
  • Suspension
  • Cooling mods (trans, oil, etc)
  • Clutch / DCT clutch upgrades

This still isn't an exhaustive list, but just a few extra key areas to consider. Headers and exhaust mods can help reduce back-pressures and temperatures. E85 is excellent fueling and the S65 M3 will make the power that much easier with better engine health and safety. There are other basic bolt-on mods you might consider, too.

Otherwise, wheels, tires, suspension, and similar mods can help put the power down. If you're pushing the limits you might consider some cooling mods for S65 supercharger kits. Lastly, the stock DCT is a strong transmission but if you're pushing the limits it may need an upgrade or two.

BMW S65 Fueling For FI

Fueling is an important topic that we think it's necessary to expand on a little further. We mentioned previously that E85 can drastically increase the safe limits of the S65 V8 engine. Those familiar with the BMW turbo scene have likely seen all the results. They speak for themselves. Engines like the N54 struggle to hit 550+whp on pump fuels. The same setup with E85 can suddenly make 650-700whp. Race gas also works well, but E85 is ideal for high power builds.

It requires a LOT more fuel flow, however. E85 burns at a stoich of roughly 9.8:1. This means you need 9.8 parts fuel per 1 part air (versus 14.7:1 for standard gasoline pump fuels). All of that extra fuel helps cool combustion temperatures, reduce the risk of detonation, etc. E85 also has an octane rating around 108.

Awesome fuels that will help take any E90 & E92 supercharged M3 to the next level. Fueling mods for E85 conversions can be pricey and you'll require custom tuning for even more cost. If you want the ultimate S65 V8 supercharger then E85 is the way to go without question.

E90/E92 M3 Tuning

Again, most kits are going to include base tuning maps for the supercharger. However, custom tuning can go a long way for those looking to push further. This is especially true if you're adding extra upgrades or running race gas or E85 fuels.

Depending on the setup, a custom tune can help squeeze out an additional 20-30+whp. It's not always the case but we do like the idea of custom tuning for supercharged E9x M3's. We'll leave it there for now as custom tuning isn't required. It's simply something to consider.

Best BMW E90/E92 M3 Supercharger Kits

With some of the basics out of the way it's time to jump into actual S65 M3 supercharger kits. We will discuss a few of what we believe to be the best kits on the market. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all possible options. However, the below E90 & E92 superchargers are among the most common and proven options around.

1) E9x S65 M3 ESS Supercharger Kits

Price: $7,295 - $8,995

Of course, this supercharger guide wouldn't be complete without mention of ESS Tuning. They've sold somewhere north of 2,000 supercharger kits for the S65 M3. It's without question the most popular option around, and ESS has proven great results. Their supercharger offerings have changed a little within the last couple years, though. You can choose between the following:

  • VT2-625 Supercharger - $7,295 (up to 211hp gain)
  • G1 Supercharger System - $7,495 (up to 150-180whp)
  • G1+ SC Kits - $8,995 (180-220+whp gain)

It's a little confusing since the ESS VT2-625 is an older offering and they quote power gains at the crank. The newest E90/E92 M3 ESS supercharger systems are quoted in wheel horsepower gains. All of these kits should exceed 525-550+whp on the right setup. However, the G1+ ESS supercharger should deliver the best performance.

ESS M3 Supercharged G1 and G1+ Kits

Above is a quick video of the G1 system making an impressive 577whp on 93 octane pump gas. It's actually a 91 octane mixture will a small amount of E85 to bring the octane up. Solid results and there's surely more potential with better fueling, more upgrades, custom tuning, etc.

If you're looking for ESS' newest supercharger then the G1 and G1+ are the current options. They're the same base supercharger design. However, the G1+ kit switches to a 7-rib system with higher flow injectors. The most aggressive G1+ M3 kits are designed for use with methanol injection. The manifold has ports to run methanol, so that's where a lot of the extra power gains come.

The ESS G1+ S65 M3 supercharger is a great option if you're not opposed to running methanol injection. It offers similar benefits to E85, but not quite to the full extent. Those looking to run E85 would likely be best suited to the G1 kit with the 7-rib upgrade and sourcing their own injectors and fueling upgrades.

2) BMW S65 Gintani Supercharger Upgrades

Price: $7,000 - 15,000+ ?

We'll be a bit quicker discussing Gintani supercharger kits for the S65 M3. It appears they've actually discontinued their SC systems, which seems odd. Gintani holds many many records on the E90/E92 M3. All of their kits use the Vortech V3 Si Trim supercharger. They made 750+whp all the way back around 2013. Gintani even offered some twin turbo kits for the M3, and had good success with those kits.

Top that off with the fact they had all of the mods and options for E85 fueling upgrades. Their stage X kit made a 10.3 @ 136mph 1/4 mile pass on stock internals. Anyways, if you're looking for a highly capable E90/E92 S65 M3 supercharger then Gintani is a great choice. We simply can't find any new kits available, and it seems they're no longer in production. If you come across a used kit then it may be a solid option.

3) S65 M3 VF Engineering SC Kits

Price: $6,995 - $8,995

Last but certainly not least is the VF Engineering M3 supercharger kits. This is probably our favorite overall option. VF may not be as common overall as the ESS S65 SC kits. However, these are becoming more and more popular for good reason. As with the Gintani options, VF Engineering uses the Vortech V3-Si trim. It's clearly a highly proven trim given the results Gintani saw. Anyways, VF offers the following supercharged E90/E92 M3 options:

  • VF595
  • VF620
  • VF650

These numbers are quoted in crank horsepower. However, with good fueling like race gas or E85 the M3 can certainly eclipse these numbers even to the wheels. With standard air to water charge cooling and race versions available this kit is off to a great start. Add in Bosch EV14 injectors and solid tuning from VF Engineering and we really like these kits.

E90/E92 VF Supercharger Results

The above video shows the S65 M3 hitting 558whp and 370wtq on 91 octane pump gas. This is on the VF620 kit, so those are already solid numbers on a modest 6-6.5psi supercharger. Their VF650 kit requires 93 octane or better and an exhaust system. Boost goes up to about 7.5-8psi, so expect very good numbers on the VF650 M3 S65 supercharger.

Anyways, VF has been around for a while and makes some awesome kits for the E90 & E92 M3. Sometimes VF and others fly under the radar since ESS kits are so popular. However, these VF Engineering S65 SC kits are the real deal and at $6,995 starting it's a good price.

E90 & E92 S65 M3 Supercharger Summary

S65 powered M3's never earn tons of respect for straight-line performance. They're awesome all-around performance cars, but the 4.0L V8 does lack in torque. That doesn't mean it's not a highly capable engine, though. S65 supercharger kits can easily push the M3 to 500-700+whp.

Of course, there are risks in pushing more power on a stock engine. We think the S65 is well suited to about 550-600whp on 93 octane with proper supporting mods. If you're willing to spend the money on fueling mods for E85 then 600-650whp isn't unrealistic. However, the risk is still there and the further you push the greater risk you take.

ESS is by far the most popular E90/E92 M3 supercharged choice. They've sold tons of kits with proven results. However, several other great options exist. Gintani set a bunch of records with their Vortech V3-Si trim. It appears these kits are now discontinued, but VF Engineering offers this same trim. We really like their VF595, VF620, and VF650 kits for the price. They've been around for a while and make some great stuff.

What's your experience with supercharged BMW S65 M3's? Are you considering one?

Leave a comment and let us know!

Or check out out S65 bolt-on mods guide if you're looking for something more modest than a SC kit

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