Autoblog garage: transmission tuning for the BMW 325

transmission tuning

As a kind of advertisement for the cliffhanger: transmission tuning for the BMW 325 endurance tester.

It is of course two huge blemishes: a diesel and an automatic transmission. In the 80s and 90s you would be the butt of many jokes. How slow do you want to be? The times of the Citroen Xantia 1.9D automatic transmission and Passat 1.8D automatic transmission are already far behind us. Those cars were noisy, very slow and not even that crazy economical. Things got better with the years. Both the diesel engines and the transmissions.


Personally, the ZF 6HP was one of the first buckets that I found better than a manual gearbox. Together with the first generation DSG from Volkswagen and Audi. Upshifting went so fast, you can’t argue that much if you start stirring yourself. The ZF 6HP transmission has really been delivered in a huge number of cars and is therefore also my BMW 325d.

So what do I think of the box? Eh, well. Well, I guess. I can remember this box in other cars and it was much faster. The switching, the response to manual switching resistance. Everything seems to take so long. Perhaps that is also the law of progressive insight. Today, transmissions are so much better and faster that my review is outdated.


Until I was in a Jaguar XF with an enormous (5.0 liter!) Eight-cylinder. He has exactly same transmission as my 325d. And yes, yes: there the gearbox shifted just as smoothly, but significantly faster. So it is possible! Not like the modern machines, but really so smooth that switching yourself no longer makes sense.

As with many other car parts, there are different hardware and software. The hardware is the same, but the software is not. Don’t get me wrong, the gearbox shifts very well in itself. Especially now that the container has been cleaned and provided with new oil, it is softer and smoother than ever. Because it’s so smooth, you forgive it for its lack of speed. In addition, the engine is especially at the bottom very much at the lesson and that box is very beautiful. If you drive a little anticipatory, you can consume whole patches of asphalt while turning no more than 1,500 rpm. Oh, and you’re not a mobile chicane then.

Supple and silky soft

The six-cylinder sounds like a kind of silky smooth Leopard tank in ‘stealth mode’. It’s a mechanical multi-cylinder sound. The great thing is that it’s a straight-six, so all vibrations cancel each other out. There are no vibrations to perceive.

Especially when the block is warm. Couple that with the smooth and silky smooth automatic transmission and you have one of the nicest combinations you can get in a car. (in my opinion). Yes, a six-in-line petrol runs even better, but the 325i has hardly any torque and drags much less hard.

transmission tuning

Alpina mapping

Back to the Touchtronic gearbox. So that bin ruins it just a little bit. Now there are several options for it. The first is the Alpina software. You can go to various tuners and ask if they can adjust the baking software for you. The Alpina mapping is a very popular adaptation. The gearbox was also used in the Alpina D3 and B3 and the programming was adjusted there. The engine was allowed to rev up a bit, downshifted faster and the reactions were sharper. About 25%. That is an enormous gain and a relatively simple intervention.

Since it already has an Alpina bumper on it, an Alpina automatic tuning can’t hurt, right? While looking for a good standardized tuner that could do this, I came across something else: the xHP Flashtool. Normally I am not that into the electronic adjustments afterwards. In any case, ‘Alpina’ sounds better to me than ‘xHP Flashtool’. Still, I went to have a look.

transmission tuning

xHP Flashtool

xHP Flashtool is a product of RBT Tuning from Germany. These are true electronics specialists who are involved with all kinds of things. The xHP Flashtool is somewhat of their masterpiece. It is in fact a modified program that gives you full control over the bin. By that we don’t just mean shifting, but really EVERYTHING.

Without your knowing it, BMW programs all kinds of boring software programs to make your car not feel too good and you are going to invest in a more expensive model (with different software but identical hardware). That is their right, but it does mean that you are dealing with a product that is deliberately not as good as it could have been. @Jaapiyo would find this state of affairs very ‘crack’.


Experiences xHP Flashtool

I just started looking for all the experiences of users of the xHP Flashtool. And damn, everyone was very positive. Now I have seen a few cars with modified baking software. Usually it is subtle differences that are ultimately quite pleasant. Given the relatively competitive price, I decided to take the gamble. Everyone is enthusiastic about it and I am happy to test it out for our readers!

Install yourself?

There are two options for installing the transmission tuning. You make an appointment with a tuner in your area who will deliver the product. However, you can also do it yourself. I have chosen to do the latter. You can adjust the baking software using your own smartphone.

Previously xHP was only possible with Android devices with cable, but nowadays it is also possible with smartphones from the American electronics brand ‘Apple’. You do this wirelessly. It actually works very simple. You buy the ‘Map Pack’, the software license and an ODB WiFi Dongle. I will mention the costs at the bottom.

Three ‘Stages’

As for the software, there are four packages: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3 and an all-in-one package. I chose all is in one. Stage 1 is mainly focused on economical driving, Stage 3 is sporty driving and Stage 2 is in between.

Installing was really easy. You have to go through all the steps. Just open a window, fasten the seat belt and turn off all other electronics. Then you put it on contact and load the xHP package on it. It takes fifteen minutes to install. Make sure you have a very good battery or the car on a trickle charger.

The latter is advised, but I lived ‘on the edge’ that Saturday and did without, which went fine. Before that, the car had covered enough kilometers so that the battery was completely full.

Install map packs

After installing the xHP software, you can install the map packs. Of course I immediately went for Stage 3. Then the difference is the largest and the most profit is made. Incidentally, you can adjust more with the all-in-one package. Display of the gear (it does not have standard!), In which gear you want to start, how the kickdown reacts, add sixth gear to Sport mode, torque limiters, Throttle Blip M Mode: you can adjust everything.

transmission tuning

After installing the transmission tuning or baking software of 15 minutes, it is another few minutes for your Map Pack. You can change as often as you wish. So you can always go back to Stage II or Stage I, but also to standard. You can also choose the standard software again, but with a few options (such as the gear indicator). It is a very ingenious system.

How does xHP flashtool run?

And now the question: how does it drive? Do you notice the difference? Um, yes. Huge. Shifting is not only much, much faster, the gearbox is simply better at the lesson. Initially, the transmission was really a lazy dog. Only the essentials were done as long as you gave enough gas.

You can now operate the machine much better with the accelerator. Also in stage III I found that this gearbox shifts up quickly enough. It is best to try this out for yourself. Some may find it a bit nervous.

Sports mode

But there is one more change after the transmission tuning: the Sport mode. In it transforms the car. Yes, you can tune the engine, but you may have more effect with transmission tuning, especially with the 0-100 km / h sprint. The car is much smoother from its place and shifts noticeably faster, so that you are back exactly in the right rev range. The car is also noticeably better on the gas. The responses to the pedal are much more direct.

What many people can often expect with chip tuning of the engine, this XHP mapping actually does. What I think is very clever is that you never have the idea that the technology cannot take it or that things are just going well. According to RBT millions of kilometers have already been driven with the transmission tuning without problems.

WC duck

Now that is a case of toilet duck, but also the many, many YouTube videos and forum posts indicated that this baking software is actually a no-brainer if you have a machine. In some videos the comparison is made with the 8HP container. In terms of shifting, but that box is standard much better (although there is now also a tool for this).

Also nice: if you accidentally bought an xDrive, RBT now has a software pack to delete it, so you can drive around with only rear-wheel drive. Unfortunately, that software tuning does not change the weight of BMW’s heavier AWD models.

Cost xHP Flashtool transmission tuning

Product: Price incl VAT:
XHP Map packs (1, 2 & 3) € 69.99
xHP Flash License € 149.99
Thor ODB-II Wi-Fi dongle € 64.99
Total: € 284.97

Now that the box has been flushed, the oil has been changed and the transmission tuning has been installed, it is now finally time to apply the chip tuning of the engine. Not only the box was very lazy, the engine is. You can probably get a few extra horses out of that.

Last time, the readers could make a prediction about the number of horsepower and Nm’s that the car will deliver after the chip tuning cure. If your prediction is not there yet, let us know: in the comments.


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