BMW V8 Engine Part 1

At the end of World War I in 1918, BMW ceased manufacturing aircraft engines by the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty. The company moved into motorcycle production in 1923, followed by automobile manufacturing from 1928–1929. In 1930 BMW again began producing aircraft engines for the Luftwaffe.

Today is estimated that 56% of BMW's road vehicles manufactured are powered by petrol engines and the remaining 44% are powered by diesel engines of which 27% are 4-cylinders and about 9% are fitted with V8 powered engines.

The first V8 engine produced by BMW was the OHV (overhead valve), V8 engine, which was manufactured from 1954 to 1965 and which was also the only pushrod-driven motor ever produced by BMW. The engine was available in 2.6 litre and 3.2 litre capacity and was an aluiminium alloy 90° V8 motor.

The original version of the V8 motor had a 74 mm bore and a 75 mm crankshaft stroke of which it produced a displacement of 2580 cc and an engine capable of only 100 Hp or 75 kW. In 1955 the bore size was increased to 82 mm, resulting in a 3168 cc displacement. The engine initially produced 120 Hp or 89 kW, but was later available with 160 Hp or 120 kW. It was first rated at 120 Hp or 89 kW which was later upgraded and was then capable of producing 160 hp or 120 kW for the classic BMW 3200S.

The BMW 503 was produced from 1956 to 1959 and was fitted with the 3.2 litre engine. The engine was capable of producing 140 horsepower or 100 kW. It was coupled to a 4-speed manual gearbox. The  heavier grand tourer achieved 0-100 km/h in about 12 seconds whith a top speed of over 190 km/h which was relatively fast for its size and weight.

The BMW 507 roadster which was produced from 1956 to 1959 was presented with the 3.2 litre engine which in its standard state produced slightly more horsepower at 150 HP or 110 kW and with a heavily tuned engine was able to push out over 160 horsepower or 120 kW. The 3.2 litre engine powered the 3200 CS range of cars.

This was the end of an era for BMW with the final production run of this OHV engine. No V8 engine would power a BMW car until 1989-1999 which saw the introduction of the BMW E31 840i of which only 18 were produced and initially fitted with the first all-aluminiun 3.0 litre M60B30 V8 engine before moving on to the 4.0 litre M60B40 and M60B44 engines. A total of 31,062 cars were built which included the introduction of the V12 engines.

The year 1992 saw the arrival of the much anticipated BMW E34 540i V8 cylinder executive sports saloon. The M60 engine was an all-aluminium 4.0 litre M60B40 V8 cylinder block and DOHC 32-valve cylinder heads, with a nylon intake manifold and magnesium valve covers. It was capable of producing 210 kW or 282 Hp and 400 N.m of torque and a top speed of 240 km/h. The 3.0 litre engine was similar in design characteristics to the 4.0 litre, but no engine parts were significantly interchangable. Notably, the 4.0 litre M60 engine was fitted with a forged steel crankshaft.

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