BMW Engines: 10 Best BMW Engines Ever Made

BMW engines

Discover the list of Top 10 Best BMW Engines Ever Made. Explore their unique performance characteristics that set them apart from the rest.

BMW Engines: 10 Best BMW Engines Ever Made

BMW AG (Bavarian Motor Works) is one of the world’s most famous and recognizable German automakers brand. Famous for producing luxury sedans (such as the BMW 5 and 7 series), sports cars (BMW i8) and X Models SUVs which are sold worldwide. At the same time, BMW owns other popular auto brands which include Mini and Rolls-Royce.

But there is one thing that set them apart from the rest of the competition – is BMW Engines. Considered by many experts as the best engines in the world, the BMW engines hold the performance characteristics that are matched only by the very few.

BMW remains the most-honored automaker, with 32 Wards 10 Best Engines trophies since the competition began in 1995. BMW have proven time and time again that their engines are truly unmatchable in terms of performance, reliability, innovation, and durability.

From dominating European Touring Car racing to the outside lane of the Autobahn, we have selected the list of Top 10 Best BMW Engines ever made.

10. BMW S85 Engine (2005 to 2010)

BMW Engines

The BMW S85 is a DOHC V10 piston engine which replaced the S62 and was produced from 2005-2010. Used in the E60 M5 sedan (world’s first production sedan to feature a V10 petrol engine), E61 M5 touring and E63/64 M6 Coupé (picture below) – this engine was the result of research that BMW put after its involvement in Formula 1.

The S85B50 is a high-revving engine having an 8250 rpm, it achieves over 100 bhp and features a very high compression ratio of 12.0:1, exceeding the previous S54’s ratio of 11.5:1.

The BMW S85 is an award-winning engine and have won the following awards at the International Engine of the Year annual competition from 2005 to 2008:

  • 2005 Best Performance Engine, Best Above 4.0 Litre, Best New Engine.
  • 2006 Best Performance Engine, Best Above 4.0 Litre.
  • 2007 Best Performance Engine, Best Above 4.0 Litre.
  • 2008 Best Above 4.0 Litre.

BMW Engines

9. BMW M30 Engine (1968 to 1994)

BMW Engines

The BMW M30 is a straight-6 SOHC piston engine which was produced from 1968 to 1994. Over its 28-year lifespan, the BMW M30 was used in many BMW models, including the iconic E9 CSL sedans (picture below) and BMW E24 coupes in European Touring Car Championship in the 1970s and 1980s.

With fearsome domination among all the racing engines of that time, the BMW M30 remain in the domination of European Touring Car racing for a nearly 30-years, and has been declared as one of the “Top Engines of the 20th Century” by Ward’s Auto.

BMW Engines

8. BMW S65 Engine (2007 to 2013)

BMW Engines

The BMW S65 is a V8 DOHC piston engine which was derived from BMW S85 engine used in the BMW M5/M6 Coupe; the BMW S65 engine was produced from 2007–2013.

This engine was first introduced in the fourth-generation BMW M3 (2007) and produces 414 bhp (309 kW; 420 PS) at 8300 rpm.  The S65 engine was consecutively chosen as International Engine of the Year award for the 3.0 to 4.0 L category from 2008 to 2012.

7. BMW M57 Engine (1998 to Present)

BMW Engines

The BMW M57 is 6 cylinders inline DOHC 24v turbocharged diesel engine that produces the maximum of 272 HP at 4000 RPM.

The predecessor of BMW M51 engine (1991-2000) – the BMW M57 is one of the best diesel engines in the world. Widely used in BMW 3 Series ((E90/E91/E92/E93) as 3.0 L M57/N57 turbo I6 – BMW M57 and its successor N57 engine (2008 – Present) uses the latest technologies in engine design.

For combustion, the M57 engine’s utilize powertrain either from Garrett or BorgWarner with intercoolers that offer an unprecedented combination of advanced technologies for durable, stable and high-performance turbochargers.

6. BMW M10/M12 Turbo Engine (1962 to 1988)

BMW Engines

The BMW M10 is a straight-4 SOHC piston engine produced from 1962 to 1988 with displacements ranging from 1499 cc to 1990 cc. It was first released in the New Class sedans and began to be phased out following the introduction of its successor BMW M40 engine in 1987.

Being a versatile engine, BMW M10 was later adapted to produce 130hp in the fuel-injected BMW 200Ti and then helped pioneer forced induction in European cars under the bonnet of the 170hp 2002 turbo. The M10 was used as the basis for the highly successful M12 turbocharged motorsport engine.

As BMW M12, the engine design since the 1960s became one of the most successful engines in racing and formed the basis for BMW’s M12 Formula 1 engine of the early 1980s that powered the F1 cars of Brabham, Arrows, and Benetton.

BMW Engines

The engine was a commercial success for the Bavarian carmaker, with over 3.5 million produced in almost three decades across many BMW models.

5. BMW M62 (1995 to 2005)

BMW Engines

The BMW M62 (S62B50) is a naturally aspirated V8 DOHC engine which replaced the M60 and was produced from 1995 to 2005. M62 features Alusil cylinder liners (used to make aluminum alloy engine blocks) and a single row timing chain.

M62 Engine has been modified significantly by BMW over its production time, the BMW S62 engine (also known as S62B50) is the high-performance variant of the M62 that is originally derived from it and fitted in BMW Z8 roadster.

BMW M62 is designed to produce maximum power of (370 bhp) @ 6000 rpm, whereas S62 produces 394 bhp @ 6000 rpm.

BMW Engines

4. BMW M88 Engine (1978 to 1989)

BMW Engines

The BMW Engine M88 is a straight-6 DOHC piston engine produced from 1978-1989. It is based on the M49 motorsport engine, which was used in the BMW 3.0 CSI.

BMW engineers used a 4-valve head and a single-row timing chain. Kugelfischer fuel injection was used with individual throttle valves and the distinctive six inlet pipes.

This engine was designed to power the BMW M1 (E26) sports car produced by BMW from 1978 to 1981. It employs a twin-cam M88/1 3.5 L six-cylinder petrol engine with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection.

A version of this motor was later used in the South African version of the BMW 745i, of which 209 examples were built between 1984 and 1986, as well as the E24 BMW M6/M635CSi and E28 BMW M5.

3. BMW S14 Engine (1986 to 1990)

BMW Engines

The BMW S14 is a straight-4 DOHC piston engine which was used in the E30 M3. It is based on the M10 block and the M88 head with two cylinders removed.

Using the M10 bottom end and two-thirds of the M88’s trick cylinder head, BMW created an engine that would dominate Touring Car racing.

The successor to the S14 is the S50 six-cylinder engine (since it was used in the following M3). Two separate throttle bodies are used, each incorporating two throttle butterfly plates.

BMW Engines

2. BMW M54 and S54 Engines (2000 to 2006)

BMW Engines

The M54 topped the Ward’s 10 Best Engines list in 2002 and 2003. The BMW M54 is a naturally aspirated straight-6 petrol engine which was produced from 2000 to 2006.

It was released in the BMW Z3, BMW E46 3 Series, and BMW E39 5 Series, to replace the M52. The upgraded version of the M54 engine is BMW S54 engine used in the BMW E46 M3 CSL, officially designated S54 B32HP.

The S54 high-performance engine has a high flow carbon fiber air intake, modified valve and camshaft timing, and a retuned DME using a MAP sensor instead of the MAF sensor found in a standard M3.

This engine powers the BMW M3  – which is considered to be one of the best cars BMW has ever built, a true lightweight performance BMW.

BMW Engines

1. BMW S70/2 Engine (1993 to 1998)

BMW Engines

The BMW S70/2 Engine is by far the most powerful engine ever produced by BMW. The BMW S70/2 is designed for F1 supercars and enjoyed a successful run in the Grand Prix racing from 1993 to 1998 as part of McLaren F1.

Gordon Murray (Designer of McLaren F1 cars) initially approached Honda for a powerplant with 550 bhp to power its newest McLaren F1.

However, when Honda refused to provide its engine, Murray then approached BMW, which took an interest, and designed and built a 6.1 L (6,064 cc) 60-degree V12 engine called the BMW S70/2.

The McLaren F1  engine compartment contains the mid-mounted BMW S70/2 engine and uses gold foil as a heat shield in the exhaust compartment for heat insulation.

BMW Engines

The McLaren F1 remains one of the fastest production cars ever made; as of July 2013 and was succeeded by only very few cars, including the Koenigsegg Agera R and the Bugatti Veyron to name few.


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