Tested: S52 vs. M50 Manifold and the TMS Stage 2 & 3 Packages for the BMW E36 M3

After installation we hit the dyno for the second time of the day and put down 211whp @ 6,375rpm. You can see that while we only lost 3 lb-ft of peak torque, there is a big loss between 3,125-4,200rpm (12 lb-ft on avg. and up to 16 lb-ft at 3,800rpm). However, as we expected, the intake manifold freed up the motor above 5,800rpm resulting in a 7lb-ft avg. gain in torque and a 9whp peak to peak gain at redline.

With the M50 manifold, you are trading mid-range torque for high RPM horsepower. While probably faster on track, it’s probably not worth the compromises for a daily driver.

Without a tune, simply swapping the M50 manifold onto your S52 confirms the claims of large torque losses right in the typical daily-driving rpm range for street driving duties. The manifold does gain about 10whp at redline which would be beneficial when on track where you’re rarely below 4,000rpm but there is a trade-off between street driving low rpm losses for on-track higher RPM power gains.

TMS Stage 2

With the labor intensive manifold already out of the way, all that remained was the relatively easy install of the Turner Motorsport Stage 2 System which includes a 3.5” HFM, 24lb injectors (~252cc/min –up from the stock 21.5lb, or 226cc/min injectors), an AFE cold air intake, and a tuned Shark Injector to maximize the performance of this setup and raise the rev limit to 7,000rpm.

You can see there’s a significant difference between the stock (left) and 3.5” Porsche HFM (Right).

I really like the properly designed AFE intake which features a heat shield that seals to the hood preventing the hot engine bay heat and radiator wash from hurting horsepower.


  1. I’m trying to find any before/after tests of the 1995 S50 3.0L engine when installing the TMS stage 3 kit. I’m trying to decide if it is worth it. Would you expect similar results?

  2. I have upgraded my own 1999 M3 using a cold air intake, a Porsche 903 MAF, 24# injectors, removal of the ESC hardware, an RK tunes re-flash, and a Billy Boat cat-back system. I had the car dyno-ed and achieved average of 234 wheel horsepower (approx. 279 flywheel). I can feel a mild loss of mid-range torque with this setup. I AM INTERESTED in any follow up mods you guys may have done; I am thinking about a Shrick cam upgrade, and I want to do more with the exhaust side, such as shorty headers and larger exhaust piping. I am not smart enough to handle the exhaust system changes – I need someone with engineering expertise in exhaust systems to help me. If you guys have done any follow up articles on your experiences, I would appreciate a link or some contact with me as a follow up to this e-mail. Look forward to a response. Thanks, William Lee. 702-539-1421. Fort Worth, Tx

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