BMW M Engines

BMW M, which the ‘M’ is for motorsport or 'M-Technik' which was initially created to facilitate BMW’s worldwide racing program. The entire range of ‘M’ cars include modified engines and ECU's, gearboxes and transmissions, sport suspensions, aerodynamics, and exterior modifications to set them apart from counterparts coming out of the standard production Bavarian BMW factories. All ‘M’ models are assembled and tested and fine-tuned at BMW's private facility at the Nurburgring motor racing circuit in Germany.

The first official M-badged car for sale to the public was the M1, revealed at the Paris Motor Show back in 1978. The M1, however, was more of a racecar in domestic street-trim. After the success of the BMW 3.0 CSL M powered racing product, venues and the growing market for these high performance sports cars grew dramatically so BMW ‘M’ started introducing these cars for sale to the general public. The direction of the ‘M’ cars changed with the 1979 release of the BMW M535i, which was a high performance street legal sedan and one of BMW's most prolific cars ever made.

BMW M has offered modified versions of nearly every BMW series manufactured to date, except for the 7 Series luxury sedan and the X1 and X3 compact SUV's. BMW never wanted its flagship saloon to be powered by a high revving engine, and as the recent top-performing versions the BMW 760Li have V12 engines which while powerful, are considered too heafty and labeled as gas guzzlers.

So far the unofficial BMW M7 is the Alpina B7, which is produced on BMW's assembly line though its engine and finishing touches are done by auto tuner Alpina. BMW M soon shifted to turbocharged engines and rumors have spread that there is a BMW M7 in the pipeline built in house by the BMW factory which is expected to have performance that may exceed that of the BMW 760Li and Alpina B7 motors. The X5 and X6 SAV and SUV’s received ‘M’ derivatives for the 2010 model year. These are the first ‘M’ powered vehicles with xDrive four-wheel drive coupled with automatic transmissions.

The most powerful engines BMW power has ever built without supercharging or turbocharging are the S85 V10 in the E60 M5 and E63 M6 and the related S65 V8 in the E90 M3. BMW ‘M’ engines were traditionally low displacement naturally aspirated high revving engines.

However, the late 2000s international regulations trends on reducing carbon emissions and fuel consumption. The X5 M and X6 M featured in the F10 M5, BMW used the twin-turbocharged S63 engine, which not only produces more horsepower and torque but proved to be more efficient than the S85 V10 motors.

As of the 2011 model year, the BMW M3 E90 is the only traditional ‘M’ car left. The rest of the ‘M’ lineup features turbo engines. The M3 F30 is expected to feature a twin turbo and a straight-6 engine to set the field in reducing carbon emissions in high performance engine technology.


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