BMW 4.4L V8 twin-turbo vs Mercedes-Benz 5.5L V8 twin-turbo

Interesting | July 30th, 2010 by 38
Mercedes Benz V8 TWIN TURBO1w BMW 4.4L V8 twin turbo vs Mercedes Benz 5.5L V8 twin turbo

After a multitude of car comparisons between the top premium brands, here comes today another head-to-head race between BMW and Mercedes, but this time, at …

After a multitude of car comparisons between the top premium brands, here comes today another head-to-head race between BMW and Mercedes, but this time, at the engine unit level. BMW’s highly acclaimed 4.4 liter V8 twin-turbo that powers the X5 M and X6 M SAVs, goes into the battle field against a worthy opponent, 5.5 liter V8 twin-turbo from Mercedes-Benz.

The comparison was put together by TopSpeed who also tells us more about the two performance engines. Starting with a famous quote by Carroll Shelby, horsepower sells cars
, torque wins races,
the article continues with a brief description of the two engines.

While BMW’s 4.4 liter power unit is fairly known to the BMW community, owners and future buyers, the unit coming from Mercedes has yet to make an official appearance.

bmw s 4 4l v8 twin tw 655x220 BMW 4.4L V8 twin turbo vs Mercedes Benz 5.5L V8 twin turbo

Remember the words of performance guru Mr. Carroll Shelby: Horsepower sells cars, torque wins races. Mercedes Benz surely remembers and they have taken the queue to come out on top with the launch of their revolutionary 5.5L V8 twin turbo engine. Slated to make appearances in the CL, CLS, S, and E class, this new unit had the numbers of horses increased to 537.

Mercedes Benz V8 TWIN TURBO1w BMW 4.4L V8 twin turbo vs Mercedes Benz 5.5L V8 twin turbo

But the real value of this engine comes from the increased output in torque levels which has gone up from 630 Nm as seen in the previous 6.3 V8, to 900 Nm.


Very high numbers when compared against BMW’s upcoming M5 and its modified 4.4 liter V8 engine, and certainly, they would make for an interesting race between the two.

Fuel consumption numbers? To be determined….

[Source: TopSpeed ]
  • HaroldAndKumar

    In fuel consumption and CO2 emissions BMW wins!

    • FreudeKing

      Why are you comparing a 5.5l with a 4.4l engine anyway? It’s like comparing the 330d with the 320d. Obviously the 330d will be more powerful and less fuel efficient. If BMW is out to make the most powerful cars for their M cars, then they soiuld use a 6l V12 or something.

      • Jimmy Dean

        When you can’t afford a Merc you settle for a BMW. Merc the best or nothing.

  • Auday

    “Mr. Carroll Shelby: Horsepower sells cars, torque wins races.”

    This is a myth or more of an old wife’s tale. The only benefit of the Torque number that comes in the engine Spec is to give an indication of how smooth the engine is (i.e. how much torque it produces at low RPM) and this criteria is important in street driving only.

    In racing as long as you have enough range of torque on the high RPM (i.e. enough power band) and enough number of gears to keep the engine always in the Power Band then that’s all you need. That’s why racing engines are always high revving and peaky and require the drivers to be always on the right gear.

    The BMW M division S engines especially the S14 are great examples of that.

    • kcsnyud

      The M engines will always win. Period. Mercedes, go back to the drawing board.

    • Shincai

      You’re right.
      F1 engines are the same perfect example.

      • Doug

        Well… F1 engines favor hp because that’s what’s needed for the application. The materials and design enable a much lighter car. Because downforce maintains necessary traction and that comes at a price of air resistance, it makes sense to have an engine that favors power rather than torque – especially considering other constraints like fuel economy. It’s just the optimal strategy (and tradition).

        Now what if you were racing dump trucks?

        • Auday

          Doug, as I mentioned in my second post below there is no such thing as HP vs Torque, they are two related things. Simpley HP = RPM X Torque X SOME_CONTSANT. And the only number you care about at any given point (or given RPM) is the HP output of the engine.

          The two things that people usually compare are a Peaky Engine vs Torquey Engine, and the difference here is that Peaky engine generates lots of torque on the higher range of RPM and very little on the lower range (like the S14,S54, S85, and most racing engine whether they are F1 or not) vs a Torquey engine that maintaines higher torque all over the RPM Range and usually has more torque on the lower range (like this Mercs Engine).
          The torquey engine is easier to drive,… on any RPM just push the throttle and the power is there, you don’t need to shift to be always in the power band. In Racing (any racing) drivers don’t get out of the power band anyway, so that extra torque on low rpm means nothing to them.
          Further more, if you have an efficient CVT, then you need a very peaky engine because the CVT will keep the RPM locked to the power peak and therefore all that torque you have all across the range is meaningless.

          • Doug

            It sounds like SOME_CONSTANT can determine whether it’s torquey or peaky within the intended rpm range. I’m not an engineer and would be curious to know what engine design parameters determine this constant (eg, stroke length?).

            Your formula suggests to me that if they could make diesels perform at high rpm (7-8k?) they’d have the same power as their gas brethren at that range. And that they ought to perform very similarly up to the diesel redline (5k or so?). Disregarding burn and energy characteristics between them of course.

          • Auday

            SOME_CONTSANT is constant in any engine anytime, it’s simple a compensates for the non uniform units. If all units are in metric and the rotation is in Radian/sec rsther than RPM than you dont need that constant.
            Many factors affect the Torquey-vs-Peaky thing, but the most important one is the Intake geometry, thats why BMW systems likes VANOS or VTECH are used for higher Revving engines to try to get both high RPM Range and Low-end torque at the same time.
            Deisel doesnt behave well on High-RPM because of the way it’s ignition (or the lack of it) works. Turbo Deisel is a bit better here but still can’t go that high.

          • Auday

            I meant BMW system like VANOS and HONDA’s VTECH

    • Laszlo

      But these engines are for the STREET. None of them is a racing engine. Nor do they designed to work on the racetrack. Both of them are for STREET cars to go fast.

      Torque is what moves the wheel, the HP is a byproduct. So the Street cars will benefit greatly from the higher torque numbers at lower rpm. This is why the diesels are great to drive on the street.

      In this case however the higher numbers are most likely the result of the larger MB engine however. The 4.4l V8 twin turbo is a GREAT engine. We have tested it in the X6M and WOW. Huge torque and Huge power. The other thing that will level out the play the 8 speed auto and 7 speed DCT transmission. With that many gears the revs can be always in the sweet spot and BMW’s are always lighter then MB’s so that further equals out the race.
      I suspect a very same 0-60 numbers and slightly better 0-100 for the MB. So much torque but without AWD it will be hard to put it to the asphalt.
      Since the BMW will be lighter and tuned for cornering it will again be more of a drivers car, but the margin has shrunk. The new E-class with the AMG package is a serious M5 contender. This engine and the small mods that will accompany that will make that E55TT to be a great opponent for the new M5.
      Instead of fighting over who will be the best, sit back and relax. Enjoy the show while we can. 2 great car company , 2 great car and a possibility to choose and buy either one. Great adventure !
      If I sense the future correct, in about 20-30 years we will be listening to electric motors whining in our cars with 100HP and a fastcharger will mean an electric charger for your Prius XXII.
      I hope people will realize that oil is not running short on earth, we have plenty of it and will have plenty more. Can we run out ? possibly in hundreds of years but then there is alcohol and at time we will probably be able to make synthetic fuel from vegetation and who know what else. Biochemistry is getting to speed and if they advance as fast as the computers and electronics then in about 100 years we will have a synthetic 100octane fuel in our hand.

      enjoy the competition and have faith. During recession 2 German company car company is working on cars that have over 530HP and will burn serious amount of fuel. Its gotta be exciting…

      • Auday

        “Torque is what moves the wheel, the HP is a byproduct. So the Street cars will benefit greatly from the higher torque numbers at lower rpm. This is why the diesels are great to drive on the street. ”

        True, Torque is what moves the wheels but that’s torque on the wheel not out of the Crankshaft.

        At a given wheel rotation speed, the torque at the wheel is proportional to the HP the engine is producing at that moment regardless of the Torque and the RPM at the engine.

        Simply you could think of the engine as a row power generator (HP generator) and the gearbox is a device that takes that power and split it into rotation speed and torque based on the car speed. The higher the speed the less Torque generated.

        So again what matters is the power the engine generates at any moment regardless if this power is coming at the engines high RPM and low Torque or vise versa.

      • Doug

        Laslo, where are you getting this that we have hundreds of years of oil left? It honestly sounds like an out-of-context theoretical estimate of total oil in the earth’s crust.


    “they would make for an interesting race between the two”

    Really, we must be talking about drag racing in a straight line then because most of the suspensions I see on Benz’s look like they came right off of a Chevy. Throw some turns in that race and the Benz gets whooped.

    • Shincai

      Sooner or later Benz will have to follow BMW.
      Big V8 engines are history (I’m talking about 6.3 liter and above)
      Today it’s downsizing. Using smaller, turbocharged engines.

      • kcsnyud

        Even with mercedes downsizing its engines, it will still be a liter bigger than that 4.4L. Plus, mercedes is rubbish at turbocharging :).

        Sadly some of their cars look better….

  • Bryce

    …isn’t the weight of the engine also indicative of how it will make the vehicle perform? I’ve seen a 2002 with an M3 engine in it and while it was definitely very fast going in a straight line, the engine was too heavy for the vehicle when going around turns. I know BMW put a lot of emphasis on decreasing the weight of the engine, I wonder if Mercedes has done the same.

  • viper

    a 5.5 is a winner for me…
    when I buy over 4000 cubics , I dont really care about co2 nor consumption.. do you?
    I dont need a race car , high revs this and that I dont need that.
    900Nm…is something to play with joy every day , how much Nm in bmw?

    • FreudeKing

      Here is someone who couldn’t care less about the environment. Bear in mind that depending on what country you are from, you get taxed more for living like a mindless pig!

    • Tony Townsend

      All I care about is BIG numbers and the Merc has ’em! Durka, durka, durka….

      Mercedes hasn’t won a battle against BMW (except straightline) in decades….

  • Jordan

    Ya exactly! you shouldn’t buy a BMW because they’re made for actual driving pleasure and racing. that Merc with 900Nm of torque would be perfect for the driving you do; strictly street driving, mostly along the main street pretending you are rich, but in reality daddy bought you your little dream Merc!

    • Jordan

      this was in reply to “viper”

  • paul

    I dont think this is a case of who´s best but who fits who. AMG always used big engines, brute force and to be honest i think lower torque forces work better in bmw cars, especially M high revving engines because with a lower torque figure you will be able to play with the manual or auto box more. It just a different style of driving. In a merc of start with first gear, put it into 6th or 13th gear (wichever the highest these days LOL) and thats that. With the bimmer playing with those getrag manuals is part of the game.
    Of course bmw boffins these days are changing all the rules – and not for the best if u ask me – so I expect things to change. I just hope customers keep playing a part in bmw direction and force bmw to change things, like the good folks that buy M5 in the Usa and forced them to fit it with a proper manual.

  • anonymous12345



    hahaha peace! was just kinda weird that these things come up all the time whereas obviously bmw will always win in its home turf.. what for..

    • Horatiu B.

      And another “fan”…..

    • Doug

      It’s curious that none of these criticisms are particularly well-written.

  • Roland Renno

    Mercedes-Benz wants to compete BMW in which field? ENGINES? Oh my God! Those Stuttgart guys have definitely lost the plot. Not even the drawing board can help them. This topic is like if a man wants to fight God. Pathetic Mercedes-Benz lol.

    BMW Power

    • Auday

      Mercedes make excellent engines and they won the performance engine of the year this year, a category that BMW used to dominate with its N/A M engines. They always had the best engines in F1 in the last 12 years or so, and BMW couldn’t catch them there.
      Overall BMW is better known for performance engines but Mercedes is there too, so hold your horses :)

      • wazon8

        Don’t you find it strange that M5’s V10 was the best engine even when 6,3 litre engine from AMG was in C63AMG and then this MB’s V8 got the first spot? What did change? Answer is nothing. Moreover, they chose 2.0 litre Turbo from VW over 2.0 litre twinturbo diesel from BMW and next year they gave first spot to BMW, despite the fact that nothing change in both engines. It hard for me to follow their logic here. They starting to lose credibility. If V10 from M5 e60 is still outstanding, they should give this engine the first spot. Period.

    • Babken

      I wouldn’t be so confident if I were you. At least AMG makes much better engines than BMW’s M division. Just look at the International Engine of the Year Award competition. Which engine has won “The best performance engine” and “The best engine above 4 liters” categories. Certainly not BMW, but Mercedes-Benz. And to be precise, AMG’s 6.3. Want it or not Mercedes-Benz make better engines than BMW. And which is more surprising more balanced cars. Just look what the E-Class does with the new 5 Series in the market and in the comparison tests.

  • Laszlo

    guys guys… not again… an engine award matters ? To whom ? To you ? Not to me.
    Just because an engine won an award it doesn’t mean its great for the consumer.
    Longevity, reliability and actual usefulness in a certain application is not part of the award.

    forget awards, drive the cars.

    • wazon8

      It’s not award for reliability, but for improvement of technology. Why shouldn’t we care about this? Because they don’t consider logevity? The question is which engine is better piece of engineering and you talk about reliability. BTW, these two are comparable in the last respect.

      • Doug

        wazon, are you being sarcastic? isn’t reliability an indicator of how well it was engineered?

  • Babken

    Mercedes-Benz can never come close to BMW in terms of engine making. So in this case BMW’s 4.4 will win (as always).

  • Doug

    Anyone notice the 2nd, smaller set of intake pipes running from the turbos to the cylinder banks? Unless they’ve reversed the flow and those are exhaust manifolds.

    It’s also interesting that there’s no apparent ducting for intercoolers. Not A2A, anyway.

  • Samuel

    Nothing posted in the numbers of a car tells its performance other than the track
    The closest thing you can compare with w/o a track is the engine performance graph.
    Peak numbers mean nothiing if the engine is peaky (ex. no torque till 6k rpm even though its rated at 800Nm)
    A flat and balanced (spread out hp and tq) engine that also matches well to the tranny gearing gives ultimate performance.