CTS Turbo BMW N55 Turbo Inlet Pipe Review: Is It Worth It?

CTS Turbo BMW N55 Turbo Inlet Pipe Review: Is It Worth It?

The BMW N55 engine is known for its balance of performance and efficiency.

However, like any engine, it has room for improvement.

In this article, I will be reviewing the CTS Turbo BMW N55 Turbo Inlet Pipe, which offers a promising upgrade over the standard OEM part, with better airflow, increased power, and reduced turbo lag.

But is this upgrade as straightforward and beneficial as it sounds?

I’ve personally installed and tested the CTS Turbo inlet pipe on a BMW M135i to provide you with an honest perspective.

Let’s start!

Overview: CTS Turbo N55 turbo inlet pipe

If you’re a BMW M135i owner or have a BMW with the N55 engine, you’re likely always on the lookout for performance improvements.

One such upgrade is the CTS Turbo N55 Turbo Inlet Pipe:

CTS Turbo inlet pipe

Right out of the box, it looks and feels very high quality.

The inlet pipe is made from heavy-duty silicone, which is incredibly durable and also a little flexible.

The box also includes a billet aluminum turbo inlet flange and PCV fitting, all designed for maximum durability:

CTS Turbo inlet pipe aluminum fittings

The CTS Turbo inlet pipe is a direct replacement for the OEM plastic inlet pipe (part number 13717602651):

BMW N55 original OEM turbo inlet pipe

Unlike the original pipe, which is made from (brittle) plastic, the CTS Turbo inlet pipe has a larger 3.35″ diameter silicone hose, paired with high-quality billet aluminum components.

The increase to a 3.35″ diameter translates into a tangible improvement in airflow to the engine.

Better airflow means that your engine can breathe easier, resulting in improved power output and reduced turbo lag – two aspects that every performance enthusiast values!

Once installed, the CTS Turbo inlet pipe may not be prominently visible in the engine bay, but it’s a great component to upgrade, especially when combined with other upgrades like the CTS Turbo Intake Kit.

CTS Turbo inlet pipe installed top view

Installing the CTS Turbo inlet pipe

Installing the CTS Turbo inlet pipe in my BMW M135i was a relatively simple process, but it did require some patience.

While the idea of swapping out a turbo inlet pipe seems straightforward, the reality can be different, especially because of the tight spaces in the engine bay. (One of the few disadvantages of a larger engine in a smaller car, haha!)

The process starts with the removal of the air intake pipe, followed by loosing the crankcase vent tube.

Next might be the most challenging part, which is loosening and removing the nut that attaches the inlet pipe to the turbo, located at the bottom of the engine. This step requires some maneuvering with your tools in the confined space:

BMW N55 turbo inlet pipe nut

I removed this nut from the underside of the car. CTS Turbo says that it’s possible to do it from the top as well, but I would recommend doing it from the underside if you can.

With the nut removed, the old inlet pipe comes out:

BMW N55 turbo inlet pipe removal

Before installing the new CTS Turbo pipe, you’ll need to assemble the aluminum fittings and clamps, which is straightforward and takes just a few minutes. Ensure all fittings and clamps are secure to prevent any air leaks.

CTS Turbo inlet pipe aluminum billet fittings

Next, carefully position the CTS Turbo inlet pipe into place. Due to the tight engine bay, this requires some effort, including pulling and pushing to align it correctly.

Luckily, the CTS Turbo inlet pipe is flexible, which made it much easier to get it into position:

Installing the CTS Turbo inlet pipe

Once in position, secure the inlet pipe to the turbo using the OEM nut.

For me, the installation took around 1.5 hours, but I think the time investment is worth it for the benefits you’ll gain!

CTS Turbo inlet pipe installed closeup

Tip: CTS Turbo has published detailed installation guides for all of its products here.

6 Benefits of a CTS Turbo inlet pipe

Upgrading your BMW with a CTS Turbo inlet pipe brings several benefits.

Here is an overview of them:

  1. Improved durability and reliability. The CTS Turbo inlet pipe’s construction using heavy-duty silicone and aluminum fittings is a significant upgrade over the OEM plastic pipe. Even though the air intake system isn’t operating under significant pressure, the CTS Turbo inlet reduces the risk of breakages and ensures long-term reliability. In fact, a plastic clip of my original plastic inlet pipe broke during the removal process, which shows just how fragile it is.
  2. Increased airflow. Another benefit of the CTS Turbo inlet pipe is its ability to increase airflow to the turbocharger. The larger 3.35″ diameter pipe provides a less restrictive path for air to flow, compared to the narrower OEM pipe. This allows your BMW to breathe more freely and respond more eagerly to throttle inputs.
  3. Improved power delivery. With increased airflow comes better power delivery. The engine can take in more air for combustion, translating to an improvement in power output.
  4. Reduced turbo lag. Turbo lag, the delay between you pressing the accelerator and the turbocharger delivering increased power, can be frustrating. The CTS Turbo inlet pipe helps mitigate this delay by ensuring quicker spool times.
  5. 12-month warranty. All CTS Turbo products come with a 12-month warranty against manufacturing defects.
  6. Clear installation instructions. I really appreciated CTS Turbo’s detailed installation instructions, which not all tuning part manufacturers provide.

Well then, are there any negatives?

Not much!

Here are the two main things, according to my experience:

  1. The installation is not as straightforward as it seems. As I mentioned before, you’ll have to work in tight spaces, so removing the old inlet pipe and installing the new one does require some patience!
  2. No significant improvement in the engine bay appearance. The inlet pipe doesn’t really enhance the engine bay’s appearance because it’s a bit hidden away.

Of course, these negatives will be the same for any other turbo inlet pipe on the market. It’s just the nature of the part!

FAQs about turbo inlet pipes

Here are some more FAQs answered about turbo inlet pipes:

Does a turbo inlet pipe add horsepower?

Yes, a turbo inlet pipe can contribute to a slight but usually not noticeable increase in horsepower. It improves the airflow to the turbo, helping your engine breathe better and more efficiently. While the horsepower gain might not be massive, it’s often part of a series of upgrades that collectively add horsepower.

Do you need a tune for a turbo inlet pipe?

Generally, you don’t need a tune just for installing a turbo inlet pipe. This upgrade is mainly about improving airflow rather than changing the engine’s air/fuel ratio or other parameters that would require a tune.

However, to maximize performance gains, especially if you have other modifications, a tune might be beneficial.

Will a turbo inlet pipe make the turbo louder?

A turbo inlet pipe can slightly amplify the sound of air being sucked into the turbo. However, this change is usually subtle.

If you want more turbo whistle sound, I can highly recommend the CTS Turbo Air Intake Kit that I’ve reviewed here.

Are turbo inlet pipes worth it?

Considering the relatively low price, a turbo inlet pipe is a worthwhile investment if you’re looking to improve your vehicle’s performance and engine efficiency. It’s especially valuable if you plan on making additional upgrades.


If you’re thinking about giving your BMW N55 a little boost, the CTS Turbo N55 Turbo Inlet Pipe might just be the upgrade you’re looking for.

Even though fitting it into your car might take a bit of effort because of the tight space in the engine bay, the perks you get afterward are totally worth it!

Once the new inlet pipe is installed, your engine gets to breathe more freely. This means it responds quicker when you hit the gas, feels more powerful, and doesn’t lag as much – it just feels zippier and more fun to drive.

You might not notice the inlet pipe much when you pop the hood, but it’s doing its job, making your car more of a joy to drive.

So, if you’re wondering whether this upgrade is worth it, the answer is a resounding yes!

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