BMW AG: 3.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-6

Take one of the world’s greatest engines, add twin turbochargers, enjoy.

Bill Visnic

January 2, 2008

2 Min Read
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Ward’s 10 Best Engines

For the superlative counters out there, sharpen your pencils. We may set a new record here.

BMW AG’s 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6 couldn’t be more delicious if its internals were cast from solid Noka chocolate.

The seminal BMW inline 6-cyl. format is the best of the best on just about any day, but when its engineers strapped on a couple of the quickest-acting turbochargers we’ve ever experienced, the result is pure engineering bliss.

By today’s standards, the absolute figure of 300 hp isn’t necessarily that big a deal. But the 300 lb.-ft. (407 Nm) of torque is what makes the blown BMW six stand head and shoulders above the sea of V-6s that dominate the market – most sporting at least another half-liter of displacement.

And we said it last year when this engine won a 10 Best Engines award in its first year of eligibility: Over the years, many engine developers and turbocharger manufacturers insisted they eradicated turbo “lag.”

BMW, with help from turbo maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., finally delivers. With BMW’s magnificent 3.0L turbocharged straight-6, there absolutely is no waiting.

Don’t take our word for it – scan the spec box. Max torque is available at just 1,400 rpm and hangs in there, almost denying thermodynamic law or any other law you care to name, until 5,000 rpm. That’s called getting the job done.

This all is overlaid, of course, on what arguably is the world’s best engine architecture. BMW has brought it all together in one vicious but ultra-refined punch that combines the peerless inline 6-cyl. smoothness, the superb twin turbochargers, direct injection and dual-cam variable valve timing.

The only thing that might be lacking is the efficiency-stretching Valvetronic variable valve-lift hardware. We’re told Valvetronic isn’t out of the question – nudge, nudge.

The N54’s Homeric torque and white-hot throttle response is all the convincing anyone needs. Stomp it and go, whenever, wherever.

And you don’t necessarily have to feel like an eco-wrecker, either. Several 10 Best Engines judges reported surprise and delight at the roughly 22-mpg (10.7 L/100 km) economy during heaping helpings of heavy-boot driving.

There has been so much goodness coming from BMW’s engine department over the years, it’s difficult to pick an absolute winner. But the 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6 is the ultimate expression of BMW’s famed I-6 architecture.

And just maybe – start composing your letters and e-mails now – the best BMW engine ever.

Ward’s 10 Best Engines is copyright Penton Media Inc. Commercial references to the program and/or awards are prohibited without prior permission of Ward’s Automotive Group.

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2008 10 Best Engines
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