BMW 3 Series Engine

Published by Carl Wilson on

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BMW 3 Series Engines

The BMW 3 Series is a compact executive car manufactured by the German automaker BMW since May 1975. The 3 Series is offered in a variety of body styles (sedan, wagon, coupe and convertible) and engine choices.

The 328i is available in all body styles and features a naturally aspirated 3.0 litre inline 6 (230 horsepower, 200 pound-feet of torque). The 335i is available in all but the wagon body and features a turbocharged 3.0 litre inline 6 engine that’s rated at 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque.

The 335d comes only as a sedan and features a 3.0 litre turbo diesel (265 hp and a substantial 425 lb-ft of torque). A six-speed manual is standard on all but the 335d, which comes with the otherwise optional six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive (dubbed xDrive) is available on gasoline powered sedans, coupes and wagons.

First generation 3 series, 1975 to 1983

Of the E21’s 1st release, three models were available: with 316 / 1.6 litre, 318 / 1.8 litre, and 320 / 2.0 litre versions of the BMW M10 four cylinder engine. To draw clear visual distinction within the new model series, the 320 models came with dual headlights, while the 316 and 318 had single round headlights.

At the 1977 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW unveiled its new variants of the E21, featuring the new six-cylinder M20 engines. The four cylinder 320 model was replaced with the 320/6, featuring a 2.0 litre version of the M20 engine. The 323i model was introduced, featuring 2.3 litres and 143 PS. The braking system was also upgraded, with the 323i featuring disc brakes on all wheels.

For the 1979 / 80 model year, the four cylinder models were upgraded: the 1.8 litre power unit was revised and entered the market as a 90 PS carburettor engine in the 316, while addition of Bosch K Getronics fuel injection to the 1.8 litre engine raised the 318i to 105 PS.

Since there was now also room for a new entry level model, the 315 powered by a 75 PS1.6 litre M10 engine made its appearance in 1981.

2nd generation 3 series, 1982 to 1994

The E30 line up was joined in 1985 by the high-output 325i and 325is. Though the engine displacement was reduced to 2.5 L, output was up to 168 hp but torque dropped to 164 lb•ft (222 N•m) as the company focused on performance rather than economy. The rev limit for the new motor was raised from 5000 rpm to 6500 rpm.

In 1986 a left hand drive only all wheel drive version, the 325ix, joined the lineup with a touring version being introduced in late 1987. The four-cylinder 318 was dropped in 1985, but was brought back with a new, 1.8 L DOHC motor for 1991.

In the end of 1987, BMW introduced the touring version of the E30. It was very popular during its production up to 1994. It was available with a 1.6, 1.8, 2.0 or 2.5 litre engine and also 2.4 litre turbo diesel.

The most powerful American BMW E30 in 1989 came in the form of the M3. It used a 192 hp S14 straight 4 with a 4 valve head adapted from the M88 6 and Bosch fuel injection.

3rd generation 3 series, 1991 to 2000

The E36 BMW 3 Series, 2.5 L used in the 325 models was replaced in 1996 with the 2.8 L, creating the 328i line.

4th generation 3 series, 1999 to 2005

In the year 2000, the E46 line up received an engine boost when the new M54 engines appeared for Model Year 2001 cars; with the new 3.0 L 330 replacing the 328, BMW renamed the 2.5 L car the 325.

5th generation 3 series, 2006 to the present Currently, 4 engine options are offered, two being part of the new ‘N’ series of BMW inline engines featuring a host of new technologies. Technological innovations such as lightweight magnesium / aluminium construction, electric water pump, Valve tronic (variable valve lift), and Double VANOS variable valve timing contribute to produce a lighter and more powerful motor than its predecessor, but yield a 15% increase in fuel economy. The E90 also marks BMW’s return to turbo charging with the introduction of the BMW 335. The N54 engine produces 302 hp and 295 lb•ft torque.

Awards and Recognitions BMW emerged as the brand winner at the International Engine of the Year Awards for 2007 with its award in the 2.5 to 3.0 litre segment won by the 3.0 litre twin turbo engine, which is found in the BMW 335i.

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Carl Wilson

You won't believe it, I'm native Scotsman. Enthusiast. Car lovers. Almost finished rebuilding my Reliant Saber 🔥


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