BMW History and Engine Technology

fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
edited May 2014 in BMW
I stopped by TechFest today to drop my car off for the static display, and I met a young woman there who told me she owns an M3 very similar to mine. We talked about our cars for a bit, then she left.

15 minutes later, after my car was set up in the vendor hall and I was wiping it down, she pulled her E30 Spec racecar into the hall and parked it next to my car for the display.

So, tell me more about what a driving enthusiast/BMW owner looks like.
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Comments

  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    She may be enthusiastic, but the four-banger and simplistic rear suspension in E30, even if race spec'ed, is not going to keep up with the current IS350, G or even TL in a real race. There is hardly anything luxurious about E30 M3 by today's standard; not much even when it was made. To its credit, E30 M3 won many road races in its time, but times have moved on. Its 195hp, 6.9 second 0-60 and jumpy rear suspension are just no longer competitive even for regular cars that one can buy off the lot nowadays in this segment. BTW, one of its top competitors in road races around the world was Integra; says something about FWD and not passionate about driving . . . Not! The joke around the time was that E30 M3 won more races than Integra when both were shod with groovless tires; Integra won more races than E30 M3 when both had grooved tires (they had to wear those when road was wet, either drizzling or after rain).
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    "the four-banger and simplistic rear suspension in E30, even if race spec'ed, is not going to keep up with the current IS350, G or even TL in a real race."

    And who ever said it would? We are talking about a 20 year-old car, after all.

    "There is hardly anything luxurious about E30 M3 by today's standard."

    And that's the way I like it. My M3 weighs almost 1000 lbs. less than a 335i. Who needs air bags, traction control, and driver memory settings anyways? A 240HP 4-banger and limited slip diff is all I need.

    Seriously, my point was never to imply that a 20 year-old BMW homologation street car has anything in common with these ELLPS's. My point was that enthusiasts are attracted to BMW's because of the company's continuing emphasis on performance and sport - even if the current crop has grown bigger, heavier, and softer.
  • quasiactuaryquasiactuary Member Posts: 50
    "And that's the way I like it. My M3 weighs almost 1000 lbs. less than a 335i. Who needs air bags, traction control, and driver memory settings anyways? A 240HP 4-banger and limited slip diff is all I need. "

    Who needs air bags? People who want to increase their chances of surviving a wreck do. (and it doesn't matter how good of a driver you are, idiot drivers can run into anyone)
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,249
    Who needs air bags? People who want to increase their chances of surviving a wreck do. (and it doesn't matter how good of a driver you are, idiot drivers can run into anyone)

    I'd gladly let someone uncheck the airbags box if it meant a weight reduction. Yank a great deal of the sound insulation too. While we're at it, remove the sunroof, auto AC, rear AC vents, tools in the trunk, etc. Still don't get why the 3 series coupe gets light plastic fenders but the e90 is stuck with 1950s-tech metal fenders.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    "Who needs air bags? People who want to increase their chances of surviving a wreck do."

    Seriously, can we drop the E30 from this discussion? I mentioned it only in the context of seeing a driving enthusiast who didn't "look like" a driving enthusiast - let alone a racer. I don't know why 'brightness04' decided to raise the issue of the performance and luxury of a 20+ year old design, but it's pretty much irrelevant to the ELLPS topic.

    My E30 is a significantly modified sports car that is basically a roll cage and hood pins away from being a race car. It's light, powerful, fast, stiff, buzzy, and the interior plastics are cheaper than a Hyundai Excels. It has nothing in common with the cars of this discussion - except the emblem on the hood.

    OK, back on course... :blush:
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    Glad you agree that old generation 3's, even if M and race spec, are really no compeition to today's competitive entries from the other manufacturers, even if on race tracks. BTW, if you like the E30 so much on its down to earth ride quality, I guess you must liked the IS300 better than the E46 :-)
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAMember Posts: 13,139
    I recently test drove a 2003 325 BMW. I was again, as before when I've driven older/smaller 3 series BMW's, left wondering why they put such gutless engines in them for so long. It seems they didn't correct the situation until 2006, and even then only really with the 330 model. I've never had a very positive impression of BMW until I kept reading the forums here on Edmunds, mainly because all the old one's (and even a early/mid 90's model) and now even a 2000+ model, that I got to test drive were all probably the 2.5V6 or weaker models. (And the early 90's model one I drove had an auto....as did the recent test drive in the 2003.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    I agree. Until 2006, I was not interested except for the M3. That is guts!

    Now we are talking some serious power in these ELLPS.

    Regards,
    OW
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,249
    Disagree. The 2003+ performance package equipped 330is would easily stand toe to toe with a a 2006 330i/2007 328i. with 0-60 in the sub 6 second range (most reports showed 5.8-5.9 seconds) and far tighter suspension, they were anything but slouches even compared to 2007 ELLPS.
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    The 2.5 liter DOHC was a fine engine back when it was introduced in 1988, for cars weighing 2800lbs or so, especially in a market place where family sedans like Camry and Accord took 10 seconds to do 0-60. The 8 second or so numbers from the E36 325i was adequate. The 25i have been non-competitve performance-wise since the day the 200hp 3.0L Accord was introduced about a decade ago. That's why I have been saying BMW's historically (in the last decade or so until the very recent years) were significantly underpowered for the amount of money they charge. The introduction of the 3.0L, especially the 255hp Si engine and then the turbo, plus the heavy discounting through leasing have transformed the bang-for-the-buck balance vis competitors quite a lot.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    "Glad you agree that old generation 3's, even if M and race spec, are really no competition to today's competitive entries from the other manufacturers, even if on race tracks."

    Well, I'll agree and disagree.

    One look at NASA and Club racing will show that old E30's and 911's finish on the podium as often as their newer, more sophisticated cousins.

    I will say that cars today are the result of a natural (unfortunate) steady "improvement" of the breed. They have aged with us - like us, they're softer, heavier, and more mature than a few years ago, yet they still cling to a part of the "inner party animal" they used to be.

    Personally, I'll pass on the fillet mignon and cabernet, thank you. I want Doritos and a rum & coke.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    Oh yeah, the main advantage of a multi-link rear suspension vs. a semi-trailing arm suspension comes in the form of compactness, weight savings, adjustability, and ride comfort.

    From a performance point of view, a properly set up e30 rear suspension will perform basically the same as an E90 rear suspension - that is, it will adjust camber with changes in suspension load to optimize tire contact with the pavement.

    BTW, I didn't know BMW made a V6. On what cars does this engine appear?
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    He-he, I was waiting for someone to jump on that. Please note: BMW has not ever built a single production V6 engine. Not that I have any say so, however, IMHO, BMW would be extremely foolish if they ever offer a V6 at any time anywhere in the future.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    Personally, I'll pass on the fillet mignon and cabernet, thank you.

    I want my Cabernet and FM and eat it too. When lighter weight metals and better synthetics are integrated into the formula to get the weight under 1.5 tons in this category, I will get my wish.

    For now, I will need to work out harder to keep up with the extra calories!

    Regards,
    OW
  • pearlpearl Member Posts: 336
    Me too, I was surprised that there were many responses before the correction. Never been a BMW V6, and probably never will be. Also, they are pretty much at the max on the size of their sixes at 3.0L. Power increases from here on out will be through tuning or turbos.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    IIRC, BMW built some wonderful 3.4 and 3.5 liter I6s back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Yes, no?

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,249
    Didn't bother mentioning his V6 faux pas. Wasn't worth it; like the people who ignorantly write beemer/beamer, it's just not worth correcting them.

    The M3 had a 3.2 inline 6 and that engine is still considered a beast. the M3 CSL made 350 hp with a 3.2
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAMember Posts: 13,139
    ;) Meant to say I6... not V6.

    I knew that. I can see the 2.5 being OK for a 2800 lb car, but on a 3,000lb + car it just doesn't say zoom zoom or anything to me. Honda has been making 200+ horses from their V6's for a long LONG time now.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    One look at NASA and Club racing will show that old E30's and 911's finish on the podium as often as their newer, more sophisticated cousins.

    Club racings are divided into categories. Cars only race against other cars with comparable performance. If mixed categories are in the same race, higher performance cars have to carry a handicap. In theory club racing is about competition among drivers, not cars.
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    BTW, I didn't know BMW made a V6. On what cars does this engine appear?

    That's the point I was making. BMW never switched from I-6 to V6 like almost every other major manufacturer has done for packaging reason. Using an iron block I-6 that weighs more than an aluminum V8 only makes sense in terms of R&D cost savings (it takes a lot of money to design and build a new engine from grounds up; it took MB more than half a decade to make the switch from I-6 to V6). That in my humble opinion is short-sighted.
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    Yes they did make 3.2 and 3.4 liter engines, marked as 5/733i and 5/735i, (wonderful or not). Those were "big-six" engines for the 5 and 7 series. I actually had a 535i once. All of today's BMW I-6 engines however are derived from the "baby-six" block from that time. The bore-to-stroke ratios were very different between the two lines. The baby-six allows higher revving, therefore more hp per liter. The big-six 3.4 only developed 185hp or so (later incresing to a little over 200hp). More importantly, the 5 series, even back in the 80's was a car approaching 190", therefore much more length to accommodate a straight-6 engine with bigger bore. The 3 series is a foot shorter even today!
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    An iron block I6? Ummm, can't remember the last time that BMW made an iron block I6.

    As for why BMWs continued use of the naturally perfectly balanced I6 as opposed to selling out and moving to the more ubiqutous V6; one word, smoothness. In their favor, V6 engines offer packaging advantages, however, even with split crank throws and balance shafts up the ying-yang, they simply ain't as smooth.

    In my humble opinion it is very precient that BMW is still using the I6.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "All of today's BMW I-6 engines however are derived from the "baby-six" block from that time."

    Nope. The only I6 that BMW is still building that has any lineage to the older baby I6s is the aluminum blocked, steel sleeved N54 in the 335i and the 535i. The magnesium/aluminum/silicone composite blocked N52 that is also currently being built for the 328i and the 528i is that "All-New" design you spoke of earlier.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    "Club racings are divided into categories. Cars only race against other cars with comparable performance."

    Exactly right. According to the SCCA, cars with comparable performance in the "B Stock" category include the 4-cylinder E30 M3 (trailing arm suspension and all), and the following more sophisticated/modern sports cars: 6-cylinder E36 M3, 6-cylinder E46 330i w/ZHP, Honda S2000, G35 Coupe, Porsche 911, 944 (16v and turbo), and Boxster - to name a few.

    (BTW, I can confirm from personal experience that my E30 M3 is just as quick around a race track as a Honda S2000 and E36 M3.)

    C Stock consists of the E30 trailing arm equipped Z3 1.9L going up against the IRS equipped 1.8L Miata.

    Interesting note - the E30 318is (with M42) is classified higher than the E36 318is with the same engine (G Stock and H Stock respectively).

    Obviously, BMW did something right with the E30 suspension to make it so competitive against cars with "more sophisticated" suspensions.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Member Posts: 1,982
    Another word: response.

    IMO, Toyota made a mistake in not developing an update to their I6. Even with its weight and power issues, the Supra's old iron block 3.0L is a more satisfying plant to operate than the 3.5L V6. Yet one more reason not to purchase the G2 IS...
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    An iron block I6? Ummm, can't remember the last time that BMW made an iron block I6.

    Do you remember the current M3? E46 M3 3.2L has an iron block for compactness. In other words, an aluminum I-6 would be too long to fit in the car.

    As to smoothness, you'd be hard pressed to find fault in the Acura 3.5 or the Toyota 3.5 in terms of their smoothness.
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    IMHO, the bigger reason is that E30 weigh less. E36 318is is obviously a heavy pig compared to E30 without power increase. E36 M3 for the US market is a bastardized car using a bored out regular engine developing only 240hp, not the 320hp real M3 engine. When output are comparable, the lighter cars have significant advantage.

    The thing is, most performance oriented ELLPS, or even V6 family sedans, have more than 240hp nowadays.
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    In my humble opinion it is very precient that BMW is still using the I6.


    I agree...simple is better. If you look to F1 racing, 4 tubes are the baseline.

    I wonder why that has not filtered into the mainstream? I just can not imagine any reason 300 HP can not be achieved with 4 cylinders.

    Regards,
    OW
  • bruceomegabruceomega Member Posts: 250
    shipo,

    Is the aluminum block with steel sleeves stronger than the magnesium/aluminum/silicone composite block? Was wondering if that is why BMW uses it for the turbo engine.

    Is the aluminum block with steel sleeves also heavier? The 535i weighs a bit more, and is more nose heavy than the 528i.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    "When output are comparable, the lighter cars have significant advantage."

    As you have already mentioned, there are minimum weight requirements for each class. Cars that are below minimum must add ballast.
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    Like you said, both E30 and E36 M3's are B stock. I'm not aware of any stock category cars need to add ballast for races in the same category. BTW, for races that involve different stock categories, the most frequent form of penalty points at this competition level involve time penalty not adding ballast. Stock cars don't have a good place to affix ballast. If not fixed down, ballast can be dangerous in fast turns.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    "both E30 and E36 M3's are B stock"

    As are the Honda S2000 and a few Porsche 911's and 944's. The S2000 weighs the same as an E30 M3 and stock, has 40 more horsepower.

    I know the stock and modified classes all have different rules, but believe me, it's more than just light weight that allows the older-tech cars to be competitive in their respective classes.

    "If not fixed down, ballast can be dangerous in fast turns."

    My wife said to tell you that's not funny...
  • pearlpearl Member Posts: 336
    Shipo, you are correct of course that BMW has built I6 engines of greater than 3.0L. That said, I believe that with the demise of the 3.2L "M" engine (replaced by a V8), BMW will not have any sixes larger than 3.0L(correct???). I have read that BMW engineers do not like to make sixes with cylinder volume greater than .5L, so the current 3.0L engine variations may be it. If that were not the case, it would seem that simply punching out the 3.0L engines to 3.5L (or whatever) would have been much cheaper and simpler than designing a twin turbo engine with all the potential negatives (heat, etc) that come with turbocharging.
    Obviously, I don't know for sure, but short of a sea change in the BMW engine department, I bet we don't see any sixes bigger than 3L from here on out.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "I agree...simple is better. If you look to F1 racing, 4 tubes are the baseline.

    I wonder why that has not filtered into the mainstream? I just can not imagine any reason 300 HP can not be achieved with 4 cylinders."


    Four banger engines. Bleck! :P

    Like V6 engines, with enough wizz-bang wingie-wingie balance shafts spinning twice the engine speed, you can counteract some of the natural imbalances of a four-cylinder engine, however, there is one force that cannot be counteracted. And what would that be? Torque reversals. A four-stroke engine requires a five cylinders (also naturally imbalanced, just less so than when compared to an I4 or a V6) before torque reversals (almost) become a thing of the past. Consider the following points:

    1) Every combustion stroke provides meaningful acceleration of the crankshaft for approximately 140 degrees of rotation (approximately between 20 degrees ATDC and 20 degrees BBDC)
    2) On a four cylinder engine, when any given cylinder goes "BANG" (more like wooosh actually), that piston will push the crank for about 140 degrees, followed by... what? Answer: 40 degrees of the crank pushing the engine through its rotational phases. Then another "BANG".
    3) For every 360 degree rotation of the crank on a four-cylinder engine, the pistons are only turning the crank for 280 degrees. Hmmmm.
    4) On a five-cylinder engine, a combustion stroke begins every 144 degrees of rotation, and as such, given the waxing of power on the newest cylinder to have its plug fire and the waning of power on the cylinder before it, torque reversals are almost eliminated.
    5) On a six cylinder engine, a combustion stroke begins every 120 degrees of rotation, and easily overlaps the cylinder before it, thus completely eliminating torque reversal.

    Can a four-pot engine generate over 300 HP? Yup, piece of cake. Heck, the old 1980s vintage 2.2 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine from Chrysler was stressed to over 400 HP. I guess it's not too surprising that as a result of the robustness of that mill, there's been any number of aftermarket goodies released to the market to allow that engine to achieve the 300+ HP threshold with relative ease.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "Do you remember the current M3?"

    M3 3.2 liter engines. Okay, fair enough. That said, I was intending to refer to only the mass-produced 3 and 5 Series engines, not the more hand built factory specials.

    "As to smoothness, you'd be hard pressed to find fault in the Acura 3.5 or the Toyota 3.5 in terms of their smoothness."

    No doubt that they are smooth enough to live with on a day to day basis, however, if I recall correctly, the balance shafts that they use to tame those beasties only cancel out the average vibrations brought about by the natural imbalances of the V6, and said canceling only completely occurs at one optimal RPM. As the engine RPM moves away from that point, the balance shafts do a poorer and poorer job of, ummmm, errr, balancing.

    For my money, gimme an engine that is always in balance; regardless of load and regardless of RPM. That leaves me with an I6, an H6, a V8 (not technically true as all V8s are a little bit out of balance), or a V12.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "Is the aluminum block with steel sleeves stronger than the magnesium/aluminum/silicone composite block? Was wondering if that is why BMW uses it for the turbo engine."

    While I would be inclined to think that the composite block would indeed be stronger than the steel sleeved aluminum block, BMW seems to think otherwise. I gotta defer to them.

    "Is the aluminum block with steel sleeves also heavier? The 535i weighs a bit more, and is more nose heavy than the 528i."

    The block in the twin turbo mill is almost certainly heavier than the composite block in the 528i, however, not all of the weight gain between the two cars is due to the engine block. Consider the extra plumbing and intercoolers and turbos and coolant capacity for starters. Then consider the fact that BMW has a history of doing things like fitting larger and heavier brakes to up-engined models, and you can easily account for the weight gain without even digging any deeper.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    The 3.2 M3 engine is the only high output engine (i.e. not a long stroke engine designed for torque) with more than 3 liter that ever got put into the 3 series, which happens to be BMW's core business. It has to resort to iron block for packaging reasons, as an aluminum block would have been too long to fit into the car, and still leave enough passenger/trunk volume plus crumple zones. That's the point that I have been making.

    The big advance in isolating/reducig engine vibration felt in the cabin was actually fluid enigne mount. Nowadays, some more advanced engine mounts are piezo-electric, counteracting engine vibration with signal from piston position sensors that have been put there to allow engine computers work anywhere. Regardless the virtues of V6 vs. I6 in the vibration department, Lexus achieved completely vibration-free cabin and steering long before BMW did; BMW is only catching up in that regard with the latest E90. V6's have a huge advantage over I-6 in packaging. That's why virtually every major carmaker has made the switch, with BMW as the lone exception. Aside from BMW, nowadays I-6 only finds new application in FWD transaxles (where the engine can be mounted horizontally) and trucks (where torque, hence engie stroke not bore, is the primary concern, and there's oodls of vehicle length to play with); otherwise, longitudinal I-6 runs into severe length/bore size limitation.

    It's not like V6 came before I-6. All 6-cyl engines were I-6 until some smart-alec came up with the V idea to shorten the engine block length.
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    Forged steel sleeves are probably stronger than the cylinder surface inside composite blocks, aluminum blocks or even cast iron blocks. Turbo engines tend to run hotter and more prone to detonation, so forged steel sleeve is a common tuner house trick. At the back their heads, the decision makers at BMW probably also wanted to avoid any chance of repeating the Alusil fiasco of the mid-90's.
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    "For my money, gimme an engine that is always in balance; regardless of load and regardless of RPM. That leaves me with an I6, an H6, a V8 (not technically true as all V8s are a little bit out of balance), or a V12."

    Well, shipo, I must say I'm impressed with your knowledge regarding engine technology and "balance". I'm completely ignorant, justing letting my test drives determine whether I like one car/engine over another. So how would a 911's "Boxer" 6 cylinder or BMW's V10 fit on your list?

    And, given that my former Honda S2000 and current TL had "out of balance" engines, what should I have noticed in my test drives? Vibration at certain rpms?
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    Shipo, Thanks for that. Here is some back-up to your thesis.

    Inline 6-cylinder engines

    A straight-6 engine is simply two 3-cylinder engines mated symmetrically together, thus piston 1 is always in the same position as piston 6, piston 2 the same as piston 5 .... in other words, the engine is balanced end-to-end and requires no balancer shaft, unlike 3-cylinder engines.

    What about vertical / transverse forces? like 3-cylinder engines, the vertical and transverse forces generated by individual cylinders, no matter first order or second order, are completely balanced by one another. The resultant vibration is nearly zero, thus inline-6 is virtually a perfect configuration.

    Inline-6 is not the only configuration can deliver near perfect refinement, but it is the most compact one among them. All boxer engines are perfectly balanced, but they are two wide and require duplicate of blocks, heads and valve gears. V12 engines also achieve perfect balance, but obviously out of the reach of most mass production cars. Automotive engineers knew that long ago, that’s why you can see most of the best classic engines were inline-6, such as Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, Bentley Speed Six, Mercedes SSK, many Bugattis, Jaguar XK-series and BMW’s various models.

    Regards,
    OW
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Here are some links you will enjoy if you haven't seen them previously - or even if you have! ;)

    BMW History

    BMW 3-Series - Generations

    BMW 5-Series - Generations

    Enjoy!
  • designmandesignman Member Posts: 2,129
    It seems the conversation is geared to all engines. Even though BMW is in the spotlight, comparisons are being made and they are interesting. I would change the title of the thread to something like Engine Design and Technology. Historical aspects are intrinsic but the main focus is the current era so I would leave history out of the title. If this is BMW-only, you could be handing out a lot of tickets for digression.

    ;-)
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Member Posts: 5,751
    I agree, and maybe move this thread into news and views.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    I am suggesting that we add history into the mix and focus primarily on BMW. I'm not worried about other engines creeping in.

    KD, the discussion is linked to other BMW boards and it's fine right here. :)
  • bruceomegabruceomega Member Posts: 250
    shipo,

    Thanks for the information. I forgot about things like additonal plumbing and cooling, and you are correct, the 535 cars have bigger brakes than the 528s. In fact, the brake diameter on the 535s is the same as on the 550.

    Bruce
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Sorry gang, Mrs. Shipo is working in Hong Kong this week and so in addition to picking up her half of the duties with the kids, I've had some pretty significant deliverables due this week. As such, I haven't had any time for recreational clicking. ;-)

    brightness04

    "The 3.2 M3 engine is the only high output engine (i.e. not a long stroke engine designed for torque) with more than 3 liter that ever got put into the 3 series, which happens to be BMW's core business. It has to resort to iron block for packaging reasons, as an aluminum block would have been too long to fit into the car, and still leave enough passenger/trunk volume plus crumple zones. That's the point that I have been making."

    I think that's a matter of conjecture. With the expanding girth of late model BMWs; it seems to me that there should easily be enough room for a non-iron block 3.5 liter, maybe even a 4.0 liter I6. That said, anything above 3.0 liters is encroaching on the V8 realm, and as V8s are nearly as well balanced as I6s, there may well not ever be a need for BMW to build a new I6 above the 3.0 liter threshold.

    As for the piezoelectric vibration band-aids and all of the other isolation steps that other makers have brought to bear on the problem, no thanks. I like feeling what's going on. I'm firmly in BlueGuyDotCom's camp here; the E90 is a step backwards in terms of isolation and damping. As such, your comment that said, "Regardless the virtues of V6 vs. I6 in the vibration department, Lexus achieved completely vibration-free cabin and steering long before BMW did; BMW is only catching up in that regard with the latest E90." is actually quite backwards in my opinion. From my perspective, the E90 has actually lost ground to Lexus in this regard, not caught up.

    "Forged steel sleeves are probably stronger than the cylinder surface inside composite blocks, aluminum blocks or even cast iron blocks. Turbo engines tend to run hotter and more prone to detonation, so forged steel sleeve is a common tuner house trick. At the back their heads, the decision makers at BMW probably also wanted to avoid any chance of repeating the Alusil fiasco of the mid-90's."

    Hmmm, I would have said, "Forged steel sleeves are probably more durable than the cylinder surface inside the composite blocks. I'm splitting that hair because as I understand it, the cylinder wall surfaces are harder than steel, just not as thick.

    As for the "Galnikal fiasco" or "Nikasil fiasco", that really isn't relevant here. Why? BMW extensively tested those engines in Europe and had extremely good success with them. They had also used Nikasil liners on their motorcycles sold here in the States for some time before the M60 V8 was introduced over here. So why did Nikasil fail over here and only in cars? Apparently the higher heat of the motorcycle engine (that didn't require specific smog numbers) counteracted the effects of the higher sulfur North American fuels, and it was that extra sulfur that ate away at the Nikasil cylinder walls.

    habitat1

    "So how would a 911's "Boxer" 6 cylinder or BMW's V10 fit on your list?"

    Regarding your Boxer six, boxer engines are generally referred to as "H" engines (Horizontally opposed), and as such, it was listed in my post as an H6. Boxer engines starting from H4s are perfectly balanced; however, unless the H4 is a two stroke, the whole torque reversal thing rears its ugly head again.

    Regarding the V10, nope, not on my list. V10s are shakers. Period, full stop, the end. As such, no thanks. :-P

    "And, given that my former Honda S2000 and current TL had "out of balance" engines, what should I have noticed in my test drives? Vibration at certain rpms? "

    Don't know. I've never been in an S2000 and my limited seat time in a TL is, well, just too limited. That said, Honda has been pretty good at band-aiding engine vibrations so you may not have felt anything.

    circlew

    Yeah, I'm a fan of Boxer engines. The plane that I'm looking for has a H6, and even though many folks have replaced that engine with larger and more powerful H4s, no thanks. The H6 is just soooo much smoother to fly behind.

    bruceomega

    Yeah, BMW pulled the same thing with the E39. When they went from the 540i & 528i lineup to the 540i, 530i & 525i lineup in 2001, the 525i got the brakes from the 528i while the 530i got the brakes from the 540i.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    ...for an out-of-balance I4 and primitive suspension?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE-V3TaNGss
  • circlewcirclew Member Posts: 8,666
    That is some of the best driving I've ever seen!!

    4 sleeves, really? That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! The sound was awesome as well. Taking turns like that are only in MY dreams! Balance and intuition at it's best. Patrick was vacuuming up the Manx! How the heck can you ever pass a guy like that??

    Let me see...there is 10/10ths and then I would rate this as 100/10.

    Outstanding!

    Regards,
    OW
  • brightness04brightness04 Member Posts: 3,148
    Girth is not the samething as length. Length is what's on short supply in a 3 series using I-6. They have already gone to run-flats to save length (reduce trunk length without reducing trunk volume). Boring out the cylinders would certainly have been much less costly than changing aluminum block to steel block or turbocharging . . . if they could have done that.

    Well, many diehards thought E46 was a step back from E36, which was a step back from E30. None of their opinion matters unless they are punking down the money to buy new cars in large numbers.

    BMW has to sell cars in a given market place, and make sure their products do not become massive warranty liabilities. US carmarket being the largest in the world, blaming fuel quality here is not going to prevent heads rolling for failing to account for that. If the US gas stations pumped peanut oil, BMW would be well advised to make their engines run well on peanut oil :-)
  • weaz08weaz08 Member Posts: 5
    has anyone had a problem with their bmw not wanting to go in reverse? my car does go in when you first start the car but after will not engage in reverse.

    i have been told it could be a control module...does anyone know what could it be?
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