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Car and Driver: 2011 BMW 335i Sedan – Are two turbos better than one?

3-Series | September 16th, 2010 by 6
n55-turbo-twin-scroll

N54 vs. N55? Or in non-geeky words, twin-turbo vs. twin-scroll engine? Car and Driver gets behind the wheel of a 2011 BMW 335i and shares …

N54 vs. N55? Or in non-geeky words, twin-turbo vs. twin-scroll engine? Car and Driver gets behind the wheel of a 2011 BMW 335i and shares their impression of the new engine compared to the N54.

Before we jump into the article, here is a bit of history on the new engine. N55 is a turbocharged straight-6 automobile engine. It was launched in early 2009 in the new BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo in the BMW 535i GT model. It is BMW’s first production single turbocharged gasoline engine that combines the use of Valvetronic, turbocharger technology and direct injection technology.

The preceding N54 was a twin-turbocharged straight-6 that did not use Valvetronic.

How Does It Drive?

n55-turbo-twin-scroll

Nearly identically to the N54-powered 335i: It’s fast, smooth, and extremely stable. With the announcement of the move to the single-turbo engine, enthusiasts (including us) cried foul. We believed the N54’s output had been underrated and that the N55, although matching it in advertised output, would be weaker in reality.

But all of that can be put to bed. Our 2011 335i was just as quick as the twin-turbo car, reaching 60 mph in the same sprightly 4.8 seconds. The quarter-mile flew by in 13.6 seconds at 106 mph, 0.1 second behind the quickest twin-turbo sedan we tested. After the century mark, however, the new mill picks up steam, reaching 140 mph nearly a full second quicker.”

Full article at Car and Driver

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  • Iks

    Hehe, so next article should be “Is naturally aspirated ///M better then Turbo//M”, next ll be “Is petrol M better then diesel M”?

    To autors of article, have they tried to get answer why for 335is and Z4 35is we still see N54?

  • Laszlo

    the N54 feels stronger in upper rpm range and easier to get more power out. The N55 however is better suited for street driving as it spools up faster and even less turbo lag. Also better fuel economy and emission and the MOST IMPORTANT factor, its CHEAPER TO BUILD.
    Yes, despite all the things the main reason was the cost. oh well, BMW is in a business of selling cars not for charity.
    the N55 is a good engine and people will be most satisfied with its performance.
    Both had turbo lag on the track when instant power was required coming out of turns but that’s turbo engine for you. I prefer naturally aspirated engines for their smooth lag free power delivery, even though it is less.
    I’m a strong believer of the words – its better to drive a slow car fast then a fast car slow.
    Also a smart man once said – “…if you increase HP you make your car faster in a corners, if you reduce their weight you make them faster all around…” or something like that (Lotus)

    With the emissions getting stricter each year there is no other way but to turbo/supercharge the smaller engines to handle the massive weight of the new cars.

    Even the Corvette was tested with a TT V6 engine lately… but I doubt that it will happen. Gas is still cheap in the US so there is no real need for that.
    BMW wants to be a leader in the economy and horsepower so they play a different games.

    • FreudeKing

      Well, another way to cut cost. I just hope they didn’t cut reliability as well. It would all blow up in those managers’ faces when they have a massive recall for engine problems! At the rate BMW is going to cost cutting, it is exactly what will happen.

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