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S54 Engine

S54 Engine

The S54B32 was a high-performance straight-six engine used in BMW M vehicles. The block was made from grey cast iron rather than aluminum to achieve greater rigidity from the same dimensions, partly required due to the extremely tight cylinder spacing. It is a 3.2 L (3246 cc) engine; bore is 87 mm (3.4 in) and stroke is 91 mm (3.6 in). It has reinforced forged steel connecting rods, graphite coated cast aluminum pistons and a forged steel crankshaft.

The S54 is the final, most powerful evolution of the M50 engine line, incorporating individual throttle bodies, drive-by-wire throttle control, and variable valve timing VANOS for both intake and exhaust camshafts.

At launch the non-US versions fitted to the E46 M3 produced 343 hp (256 kW) at 7900 rpm, with 269 ft·lb (365 Nm) of torque at 4900 rpm and a 8000 rpm redline. The US version required some modifications to meet US emissions standards (such as close-coupled catalytic converters closer to the engine exhaust ports) and thus produced slightly less power in each application.

BMW also produced an even more powerful version of the S54B32, for the limited edition E46 M3 CSL. This engine lacked a conventional mass airflow meter, and BMW installed modified intake and exhaust camshafts, as well as a more efficient air intake system. This version yielded 360 hp (270 kW) at 7900 rpm with 273 lb·ft (370 N·m) of torque at 4300 rpm. This version of the S54B32 also held the record for the highest torque-per-litre of any normally-aspirated production engine, at an impressive 110.9 N·m (84.1 ft·lbf) per litre, only recently superceeded by the Ferrari 458 Italia.

The S54 won the International Engine of the Year award overall for 2001, and also claimed the "Best New Engine" that year as well as won the 3-4 L category for six straight years in a row from 2001 through 2006. The S54 was also on the Ward's 10 Best Engines list for 2001 through 2004.

Despite its great success and critical acclaim, the S54 was plagued with rod bearing failures in early production. BMW attempted to blame vehicle owners for the failures early but eventually started replacing rod bearings, oil pumps, and whole engines under warranty. This fault was attributed to a problem with the connecting rod bottom-end bearing shells that were supplied to BMW by a third party that did not meet BMW's specifications. This problem was fully corrected by BMW on engines produced after 06/2003. A recall was issued to retrofit all M3 cars with affected engines to swap to the proper bearing shells.

Car Displacement Power Torque Redline Year
US M3 3.2L (3246 cm³) 248 kW (333 hp) @ 7900 355 Nm @ 4900 8000 2001
Euro M3 3.2L (3246 cm³) 256 kW (343 hp) @ 7900 365 Nm @ 4900 8000 2001
E46 M3 CSL 3.2L (3246 cm³) 265 kW (355 hp) @ 7900 360 Nm @ 4900 8000 2003



  • 2001-2006 E46 M3
· Publicēju marchello December 26 2011
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