BMW 5 Series Engine

Published by Carl Wilson on

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BMW 5 Series Engines

The BMW 5 Series is a mid-size / executive car manufactured by BMW since 1972. The 5 Series began the BMW tradition of being named with a three-digit number. The first digit (5 in this case) represents the model, and the following two digits (usually) represent the size of the engine in decilitres, which is the main distinguishing difference. Additional letters or words may be added to the end of the three-digit number to define the fuel type (petrol or diesel), engine or transmission details, and the body style. The ‘i’ originally stood for fuel ‘injection’.

E12 (1972 to 1981)

The original four-cylinder, four-door saloon was codenamed E12. A year after its arrival, six-cylinder 525 and 528i models joined the line-up. With attractive styling and decent performance, it was an immediate success and even spawned the hot M535i, which used the same 218bhp engine as the 635CSi coupe.

A minor facelift in 1981 gave rise to the E28, but the 1972 design lasted virtually unchanged until 1987. There is a wider choice of engines than with the E12, though, and thrill-seekers should look for the post-1986 286bhp M5, capable of 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds.

E34 (1988 to 1996)

The next generation maintained the 5-Series’ reputation for exceptional refinement and sporty rear-wheel-drive handling. Its broader engine line-up goes from a basic 1.8 to a terrific 3.8-litre straight-six in the M5. There’s even a strong diesel engine, too, while bodystyles include a practical Touring estate. The E34’s 60-0 mph (97 to 0 km/h) stopping distance of 130 feet (40 m) was the best of any production sedan in 1990.

E39 (1995 to 2003)

This car has been widely praised in all aspects; many say it is the best BMW in the world. Consumer Reports gave the 2001 530i its highest car rating ever. The diesel engines available in the European models provide great torque and smoothness with better economy. The M5 has been called “the ultimate in discreet speed” with 369 lbf·ft (500 N·m) of torque and a 0–60 mph time of 4.8 s. The only downside was its smallish cabin and tiny trunk space of 11.1 ft³ (314 L).

E60/E61 (2003 to 2010)

Before the mid-life restyling, the models available were the 520i, 520d, 525i, 525d, 530i, 530d, 535d, 545i, and the M5. The model range received uprated engines as part of the restyling.

The 523i replaced the 520i as the base model and featured the previous 525i engine, detuned to 177 bhp (132 kW; 179 PS).

The 520i was re-introduced to the Asian markets as an entry level model, featuring the 2L N46B20 engine and producing 156 bhp (116 kW; 158 PS). It is notable as the first E60 5 series variant to be sold with an in-line 4 engine.
The 525i received a new 218 bhp (163 kW; 221 PS) engine (up from 192 bhp).

The 530i six-cylinder engine output was increased to 272 hp (up from 231 bhp).

The 528i replaced the 525i with 230 hp (172 kW) (up from 218 hp (163 kW).
The 535i replaced the 530i with 300 hp (224 kW) (up from 258 hp (192 kW).
The 530d was upgraded to 231 bhp (172 kW; 234 PS) (up from 218 bhp (163 kW; 221 PS).
The 535d was upgraded to 286 bhp (213 kW; 290 PS) (up from 272 bhp (203 kW; 276 PS).
The 540i was introduced with a V8 engine producing 302 bhp (225 kW; 306 PS).
The 550i replaced the 545i in the fall of 2005 with 362 bhp (270 kW; 367 PS).
The 520d, 525d and the M5 remained the same.
The BMW M5 is the high performance version of the range, and is one of the highest performance sedans on the market. Like all BMW ‘M’ cars, it balances superb handling with power, which is delivered by a naturally aspirated 5.0 L (40-valve) V10 producing 373 kW (507 PS (373 kW; 500 hp)).

The car has a 0-100 km/h time of 4.1 seconds, 0-200 km/h time of 15 seconds, and an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). Though given the correct tire ratings and the removal of the governor the M5 is capable of 205 mph (329 km/h).

F10/F11 (2011 onwards) The F10 has, for the European market at least, a choice of 7 engines: a 4.4 litre N63 topping the range in the 550i, followed by a trio of straight 6 petrols. Despite many rumours to the contrary, BMW’s second best selling model after the 3 series does not use any 4 cylinder petrol engines this time round. Instead, BMW has retained, for the time being at least, a trio of straight 6 engines, completing the petrol engine range.

Straight six engines offer superior refinement over their 4 cylinder counterparts, as well as being the trademark BMW engine which has featured in so many of the company’s most loved cars: the E28 and E34 M5, E36 and E46 M3, not to mention the iconic BMW E26 M1. The 535i has the 306 bhp/295 lb ft(400 N m) BMW N55 engine which made its debut in the F07 5er GT, and will shortly find its way into the facelifted BMW E92 and E93.

The magnesium block naturally aspirated direct injection straight 6 continues in Europe at least; this engine is the BMW N53; 3.0 litres, 258 bhp for the 528i, and 2.5 litres and 204 bhp for the 523i, same outputs as the BMW E89 Z4 sDrive23i. It is not known what engine BMW will use here for markets outside of Europe due to fuel quality problems, most likely the BMW N52 will continue here.

The 4 petrol engines are complemented by a trio of diesel engines. Again, despite rumours to the contrary, BMW has decided to only offer 1 4 cylinder engine here: the 520d. This means that the 525d continues to offer the superior mechanical refinement of a straight six as opposed to the rumoured 523d with 4 cylinders. The 525d is joined by a 530d; both models use the same BMW N57 3.0 litre engine, the 525d has 204 bhp and 450 N m, the 530d with 245 bhp and 540 N m of torque. Expect hybrid models later, as well as more powerful straight 6 diesel to replace the award winning 535d.

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Carl Wilson

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

1 Comment

BMW 6 Series Engine · 8 January 2021 at 3:58 am

[…] 6 Series refers to two generations of automobile from BMW, both being based on their contemporary 5 Series sedans. The first was the E24, launched in 1976 to replace the 3.0CS & 3.0CSi (E9). The BMW 6 […]

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