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      08-15-2012, 11:07 AM   #1
NYC6
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Informative article why BMW went turbo

Found this article by Wards explaining why BMW went away from N/A towards turbo power. Haven't seen it before and hoping its not a repost. It is filled with interesting information that I thought most would enjoy reading.

Seems to point in the direction that Bavarian Motor Works is bidding goodbye to the N/A I6 for good. We knew that already but this seems to confirm. A 2006 article and the writing was already on the wall. BMW couldn't keep pace with others makers more powerful 6 cyl engines. Competition improves the breed.
http://wardsauto.com/news-amp-analys...arged-dohc-i-6
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      08-15-2012, 11:20 AM   #2
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Interesting read, thanks for posting. I'm torn on BMWs move away from NA 6s, they made some of the best on the planet, and nothing beats the throttle response from NA. But....N54 is a true masterpiece, I would argue it's one of the best 6 cylinder engines ever produced. It pulls with such urgency, I'm still pretty blown away by how strong and immediate the power delivery is considering its modest displacement. Combined with pretty good fuel economy and significant reliable tuning potential, I don't see why they'd turn from FI at this point, it does seem to be the "way forwards" so to speak.
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      08-15-2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC6 View Post
BMW couldn't keep pace with others makers more powerful 6 cyl engines.
But isn't this why we love BMW? With the NA straight-six, they were never the strongest, they were never the fastest yet they've always topped the competition. It seems BMW acknowledged their flaw (if you can even call it that) and found other ways to best their competitors and I guess to me, that speaks volumes of their engineering prowess.

But as for the switch to FI, doesn't look like BMW has missed a step with the success of the N54.
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      08-15-2012, 12:26 PM   #4
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BMW wasnt really on my buyers list till the N54 came out. I always did admire the I6 engines of the past, specifically the M3 ones. Im sure there are many who share my opinion. The E46 S54 engine is a masterpiece of N/A power and an icon in the engine makers game. An all out engine made for killer top end and made for the track. Putting it into street cars made many a driver very happy. Its a far cry from the N52 one though. Apples/oranges trying to compare the two.
N52 isnt a top end machine and doesnt come near the output of the M3 plant. Thats the one they're refering to getting beat by others V6's. The S54 engines downfall was economy. Its expensive to make and the mileage hurts BMW's new 'efficient dynamics' program as well as CAFE regs.
I also think BMW realized its mistake by going with the V8 in the latest M3. Good power but poor mileage hurts it. A 4.0L V8 thats gets hit with a gas guzzler tax also doesnt fit 'efficient dynamics'. F/I I6 will be in the M3. The I6 will live on but with turbo power. More hp/tq, less weight, better fuel economy. Win,win, win!
I will still stop what Im doing to hear a S54 spin up to full power though. Those are the iconic N/A I6's and the ones that will be rememberd. IMO.
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      08-15-2012, 01:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC6 View Post
I will still stop what Im doing to hear a S54 spin up to full power though. Those are the iconic N/A I6's and the ones that will be rememberd. IMO.
Couldn't agree more my brothers has had his 2004 m3 since summer time 2006..car has 115,000 or so on it now and it still screams at WOT....nothing like hearing a s54 screaming at 8000rpms ..said once it dies hell get a newer m3 sorry
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      08-15-2012, 06:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie1 View Post
Couldn't agree more my brothers has had his 2004 m3 since summer time 2006..car has 115,000 or so on it now and it still screams at WOT....nothing like hearing a s54 screaming at 8000rpms ..said once it dies hell get a newer m3 sorry
8,000rpm in a 6 cyl is a high reving screamer indeed.
The S54 was the pinnacle of the N/A I6 design. It had no peers. If I were to get a N/A I6 powered car this would be the only one I would own.
Heres a older review of the E46 that I like.
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      08-17-2012, 08:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 135Pats View Post
Interesting read, thanks for posting. I'm torn on BMWs move away from NA 6s, they made some of the best on the planet, and nothing beats the throttle response from NA. But....N54 is a true masterpiece, I would argue it's one of the best 6 cylinder engines ever produced. It pulls with such urgency, I'm still pretty blown away by how strong and immediate the power delivery is considering its modest displacement. Combined with pretty good fuel economy and significant reliable tuning potential, I don't see why they'd turn from FI at this point, it does seem to be the "way forwards" so to speak.
Great engine sure, but not all N54's have great throttle response, especially after BMW neuters it with software updates.
My 09 135i does NOT have immediate power delivery at all.
Yes, it's great when the ECU finally responds to my throttle input.
But overall throttle response isn't great in many N54's.
Plenty of threads and posts about it too.

I have a 335i Msport on order. It has the N55. It's amazing how much better the throttle response is in that car.
My N54 used to be close to this before BMW updated the software.
And then, to get it back they offer the PPK.
Yeah, right. So, to get back the throttle response you took away I now have to pay you to put it back?
I'm glad I've been leasing for the past decade. Makes it easier to take some of the BS BMW pulls.
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      08-17-2012, 09:17 PM   #8
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My '10 has had brilliant throttle response from the day I picked it up. Had a couple dlashes in the 2 years since and didnt miss a lick. Added the PPK and its even better now!
I think those 'detuning' flashes they did were not all that common, were they? And didnt they correct all that mess and bring all the cars back to normal after getting caught doing it?
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      08-17-2012, 11:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC6 View Post
My '10 has had brilliant throttle response from the day I picked it up. Had a couple dlashes in the 2 years since and didnt miss a lick. Added the PPK and its even better now!
I think those 'detuning' flashes they did were not all that common, were they? And didnt they correct all that mess and bring all the cars back to normal after getting caught doing it?
No mine was definitely detuned, the throttle response hasn't been nearly as sharp as the first day I had it and the car isn't as loud and have nearly as many strange/interesting sounds. (Flash tune solves 99% of this)
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      08-18-2012, 01:25 PM   #10
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What year is your car? Did you bring it to BMW for work and noticed power loss immedietly after picking it up? If you did, did you say anything to them? I thought I read somewhere that BMW was caught lowering boost of the cars to prevent issues down the road and were forced to make the corrections. Did you ever look into the carbonized intake syndrome? What would a flash do to get rid of strange/interesting sounds?
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      08-18-2012, 01:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC6
What year is your car? Did you bring it to BMW for work and noticed power loss immedietly after picking it up? If you did, did you say anything to them? I thought I read somewhere that BMW was caught lowering boost of the cars to prevent issues down the road and were forced to make the corrections. Did you ever look into the carbonized intake syndrome? What would a flash do to get rid of strange/interesting sounds?
it wasn't power loss more like "turbo lag". Loss of throttle response is what I noticed. My handheld unit still tells me at wot I hit peak of a bit over 8 lbs of boost. I have a flash tune so its not really a concern for me anymore. I have noticed the latest map they flashed it with was better than it was in January.
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Last edited by Venom; 08-19-2012 at 11:12 AM.
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