Gone are the days of the screaming, naturally-aspirated BMW I6 engine. That guttural, metallic induction noise we’ve become accustomed to has gone and replaced with the muffled growl of turbocharged engines. That doesn’t mean the Bavarians forgot how to make brilliant engines, though. Far from it, in fact. While we might miss those brilliant engines of the past, BMW still makes some astonishing motors. There are also several new and exciting engines BMW will be coming out with in the future. But let’s check out five of the best engines BMW currently sells in 2017.
5. B48 2.0 Liter Turbocharged Four-Cylinder: What is probably the most ubiquitous engine in BMW’s lineup, the B48 is used in everything from MINIs all the way up to the 740e. Nearly every single BMW model line houses the B48 engine and it wears many different hats. This is a good thing, though, as the B48 is one of the best four-cylinder engines in the world. It’s smooth, punchy and efficient and provides more than enough power in each of its offerings. We recently sampled the new BMW 530i, a quite large car, and the B48 was able to motivate the big 5er quite easily. It’s only downside is that it doesn’t sound all that great. But it’s forgiven for punching way above its weight class.
4. B57 Quad-Turbo 3.0 Liter I6 Diesel: This engine is a wonder. Displacing only 3.0 liters and sporting only six-cylinders, it manages to create 394 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque. Admittedly, it does house four-turbochargers to help get the job done but it’s still impressive. 561 lb-ft of torque from a six-cylinder engine, regardless of the turbocharger count, is impressive. But what’s more impressive than its astonishing power is how smooth and usable it is. The B57 powers the BMW 750d and allows the massive luxury sedan to get from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That’s damn fast for a massive diesel-powered luxury car.
3. BMW i8’s Hybrid Powertrain: Okay, so I’m cheating a bit on this one, as it isn’t just an internal combustion engine, it’s the entire hybrid powertrain. But it’s such a fantastic powertrain setup that I can’t overlook it. Plus, the internal combustion engine in this powertrain is a big part of why it’s so special. The 1.5 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine in the BMW i8 is the same basic engine that you’ll find in a lowly MINI Cooper. However, it’s been tuned and boosted up to 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. It’s then combined with an electric motor, with another electric motor powering the front wheels, to create a total system power output of 357 hp and 420 lb-ft. That’s mega coming from a car with only three cylinders and it allows the i8 to get from 0-60 mph in about 4.0 seconds. Oh, and it can run on pure battery power alone and return a claimed 76 MPGe.
2. BMW M550i 4.4 Liter V8: Despite not being a proper M Division product, the BMW M550i is a serious powerhouse. Its N63TU2 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8 will develop 462 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. That isn’t as much as the previous-generation F10 BMW M5 but it’s enough to make the lighter, all-wheel drive BMW M550i even faster. BMW claims 0-60 mph will come in under 4 seconds. Who needs a proper M car at that point?
1. B58 3.0 Liter Turbocharged I6: This might not be the sexiest engine choice but it is, in this journalist’s humble opinion, the best engine BMW makes overall. Are there BMW engines that make more power? Absolutely, several. Are the BMW engines that are more technically impressive? Definitely. However, no engine in the Bavarians’ stable offers the combination of power, refinement and cost. I don’t know if BMW makes an engine that’s as silky-smooth in its power delivery than the B58 and it might even be the best sounding engine to wear a roundel. Its noise is a refined growl that turns into a metallic scream at higher revs, offering the best BMW noise since those old-school engines we’ve come to love. It’s also incredibly flexible, being used in the 2 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series. You don’t have to spend near six-figures to get this engine and you don’t have to burn through a ton of fuel to go fast in it. It’s just an absolutely brilliant all-around engine that works superbly in all of its applications. It’s class-leading whether it’s in a 2 Series or a 7 Series. That’s why it’s BMW’s best engine.
So there you have it, these are the top five BMW engines going into 2017.