Is It Overkill To Continue Tuning A Factory-Tuned Monster From AMG Or M?

Mercedes-AMG

We debate whether or not tuning is overkill on some cars.

Tuning makes sense when you drive a car like a Subaru WRX or Ford Focus ST. Tuning, especially with a turbocharged car, allows the owner to get more power just by essentially plugging in a computer. Although how good are the people who make these tunes? Now I get that blowing up an Mitsubishi Evo or Subaru STI is no big deal, but with an exotic car, is it really worth it? Many people buy cars like the BMW M3 or Porsche 911 Turbo but still want their cars to go faster. But at what level does tuning start to become overkill?

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Tuning a really fast car like an M3 or AMG Mercedes really doesn't seem necessary. The Mercedes S65 AMG already comes with 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Do you really need some tuning company to bring it over 1,000 horsepower? Some people might say "sure why not if you can afford it?" Well, here is one argument against tuning. Mercedes-Benz is a vast company. The German automaker puts billions of dollars into research and development to build cars powerful, efficient, and reliable. By taking your car to a tuning company, you are basically saying that you know better than a giant company like Mercedes-Benz. Sure you may be able to get more than 621 hp from your S65, but did you ever stop to think why companies don't just give you more?

Of course one of the reasons is money. Car companies can make more money by selling more powerful cars for more money. Take BMW for example, a tuned 335i can easily reach M3 levels of horsepower through tuning, but the M3 costs significantly more to purchase. Although, I have another theory as to why manufacturers don't give you more power from the factory. When a company builds a car through an in-house tuner like M or AMG, they choose the level of horsepower carefully like any other car. If Mercedes or BMW deems that the car should have 400 horsepower, you can bet that the decision was made for a good reason. Sure you can tune the turbo to make 500, but at the expense of reliability.

Perhaps when the company tested the car with that level of power, the engine was too stressed. The internet is littered with videos of tuned motors blowing up. When you already have the pedigree of a company like BMW or Mercedes AMG, why should you risk giving the car an unhealthy amount of horsepower?

Ever since the inception of the automobile people have been in a relentless pursuit of more power. Automakers have capitalized on this by offering tuned versions of normal cars. But car companies are in business to make money, not the most insane car possible. That’s where tuning companies come in, taking awesome cars like the Mercedes-AMG GT S and adding a bit of polish to help them truly shine. With the AMG GT S you could argue a company like Posaidon helped the car hit its true potential. On its own the grand tourer makes 503 horsepower from its stock 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. Thanks to a new turbo system and some ECU edits (among many other things) Posaidon’s tune job pushes 700 horsepower.

Could the engineers at AMG have gotten the same? Absolutely, but such a decision probably didn’t make financial sense. It took a tuning company to turn the AMG GT S into a true supercar. Other times automakers limit a car’s capability because of its stablemates. The BM2 M2 is a good example. The M2 and M4 are very different cars, but the reality is that the 2 Series sits below the 4 Series. The M2 can’t have a more powerful engine than the M4. But its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six is good for much more than 370 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque. We know that because Alpha-N Performance is planning an M4-crushing tune job for it, with power jumping to 480 hp.

Yes, power isn’t everything. Automakers know what they’re doing when it comes to limiting an engine’s output as even minute shifts change how a car drives. But we’re not debating whether car companies know what they are doing. We’re debating whether it’s okay to tune a factory-tuned car. In the name of unlocking a car’s full potential, I say go for it. Unless you have something against a Hennessey Challenger Hellcat with 1,032 horsepower...

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