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BMW Engine Codes – Meanings and Location

Understanding the logic of how engines are labeled will make it faster and easier to find what kind of engine is in front of you and which car it belongs to.

The marking of BMW engines consists of a set of numbers and letters that represent information about the technical specification of the engine. At first glance, it may seem that there is no logic in this set, and the numbers are random. However, this is not the case and it is similar to the vehicle marking system – the VIN Number (Vehicle Identification Number) is the way by which manufacturers mark which version the car belongs to.

In the tables below, an example of the engine code is presented in the upper-left corner, and the symbol whose meaning is understood in this table is highlighted in red.

BMW “M”, “N”, “P” and “S” Engine Series

Engine family

M52B25TU Engine family (generation)
This letter indicates which engine family the power unit belongs to.
B BMW modular engine developed after 2013.
M BMW engines developed before 2001.
N BMW engines developed since 2001.
P BMW Motorsport racing engines (non-serial).
S BMW Motorsport racing engines (serial).
W Engines supplied by an external supplier.

Number of cylinders

M52B25TU Number of Cylinders
3 Inline 3-cylinder
4 Inline 4-cylinder
5 Inline 6-cylinder
6 8-cylinder (V-shaped)
7 12-cylinder (V-shaped)
8 10-cylinder (V-shaped)

Engine variation

M52B25TU Engine Variation
This figure indicates a change in the original (basic) design of the engine. The numbers are sequential in the development number, but not necessarily replacing the previous engine. For example, the M52 is a fuel-injected engine and the M51 is a diesel engine, but both are based on the original M50 design. However, the M52 is not an updated version of the M51.
0 Original design.
1 to 9 Sequential changes.

Fuel type

M52B25TU Fuel Type
This letter indicates the type of fuel, as well as the direction of installation of the engine.
A Petrol mounted transversely
B Petrol, installed longitudinally
C Diesel, installed transversely
D Diesel, installed longitudinally
E Electric
G Natural Gas
H Hydrogen

Engine capacity

M52B25TU Engine Capacity
These two numbers indicate the engine capacity in liters.
30 3.0 liters
25 2.5 liters
18 1.8 liters
12 1.2 liters

Technical update

M52B25TU Technical Update
The designation TU means that the engine has a “Technical update”, which means that significant changes have occurred. Not all engines receive the designation “TU”.

Differences in engine designations of the BMW “N” family

Performance Class

N52B30T1 Performance class
On new BMW engines, the “N” 7th position of the engine code contains a letter denoting the performance class.
K Lowest
U Lower
M Middle
O Upper
T Top
S Super

Technical update

N52B30T1 Technical Update
On new BMW engines, the “N” 8th position of the engine code contains a number that indicates the technical version of the engine in sequential order for each update. This new designation encoding replaces the older “TU” style or a technical upgrade of the “M” engine family.
0 New development
1 to 9 Redesign

Let’s consolidate our knowledge

BMW M50B25TU Engine
BMW M50B25TU Engine
BMW N52B30O0 Engine
BMW N52B30O0 Engine
BMW S14B23 Engine
BMW S14B23 Engine
BMW P60B40 Engine
BMW P60B40 Engine

List of BMW Engines

The table below includes the engine code, the number of cylinders, the engine volume, the number of valves, the horsepower range, torque, the BMW model of the motor on which it is installed, the time period of use of a particular engine and many other important information.

Code Capacity Layout Number of Valves Gas Distribution System Power Torque Production Years Example Models Comments
M and N Codes (Serial Cars)
M10 1.6, 1.8, 2.0 I4 8 SOHC 98-104 104-107 1964-1985 2002, E21 320i, E30 318i M31 turbo version = 168hp
M20 2.0-2.7 I6 12 SOHC 121-168 120-180 1983-1992 E21 323i, E30 325e, E30 325i, E34 525i M20B25 = 325i engine
M20B27 = 325e engine
M21 2.4 I6 12 SOHC 84-114 112-162 1983-1985 524td turbo diesel
M30 2.5-3.5 I6 12 SOHC 175-208 159-225 1968-1993 E9 2800, E24 633CSi, E28 535i, E34 535i carburetor up to 1975
M40 1.6, 1.8 I4 8 SOHC 102-113 104-120 1987-1991 E30 318i Euro models
M42 1.8 I4 16 DOHC 138 129 1988-1995 E30 318is, E36 318i, E36 318ti S42B20 used in BTCC racing
M44 1.9 I4 16 DOHC 138 133 1996-1999 E36 318ti, Z3 1.9 US OBD-II models
M50 2.0-2.5 I6 24 DOHC 150-189 140-181 1990-1992 E34 525i, E36 325i non-VANOS valve timing
M50TU 2.0-2.5 I6 24 DOHC 150-189 140-180 1993-1995 E34 525i, E36 325i with VANOS valve timing
M52 2.0-2.8 I6 24 DOHC 150-190 140-210 1996-1999 E36 328i, E39 528i, Z3 2.8 VANOS on intake cam
M52TU 2.0-2.8 I6 24 DOHC 150-190 140-180 1993-1995 E39 528i, E46 323i/328i VANOS on intake and exhaust cams
cable-actuated throttle
M54 2.2-3.0 I6 24 DOHC 168-228 155-221 2001-2006 E39 525i/530i, E46 325i/330i VANOS on intake and exhaust cams
Drive-by-Wire throttle
M56 2.5 I6 24 DOHC 192 181 2001-2005 E46 325i SULEV low emissions engine for CA, MA, NY, VT
M57N2 3.0 I6 197-286 400-580 2000-2014 3 E90, E91, E92 325d, 330d: 5 E60/61 525d, 530d, X5 E70 3.0d, X6 E71 30dX X5 E70 3.0sd i 3.5d, X6 E71 35dX straight-6 diesel engine (так же turbo-disel)
M60 3.0-4.0 V8 32 DOHC 215-282 214-295 1992-1995 E34 530i, E32 740iL Nikasil-lined block
M62 3.5-4.6 V8 32 DOHC 232-342 236-354 1996-2003 -1998 E39 540i, E31 840ci, E53 X5 4.6is non-VANOS valve timing
M62TU 3.5-4.4 V8 32 DOHC 235-282 254-325 1998-2003 1999+ E39 540i, E53 X5 4.4i with VANOS valve timing
M70 5.0 V12 24 SOHC 300 330 1988-1995 E31 850i, E32 750iL BMW's first V12
M73 5.4 V12 24 SOHC 320 360 1996-1998 E31 850ci, E38 750iL OBD-II compliant version of M70
M73TU 5.4 V12 24 SOHC 320 360 1999-2001 E38 750iL also used in Rolls-Royce models
M88/1 3.5 I6 24 DOHC 272 243 1978-1981 E26 M1 used exclusively in the M1 supercar
M88/3 3.5 I6 24 DOHC 282 251 1983-1989 Euro E24 M635CSi related closely to S38 used in US M5/M6
N13/N18 1.6 I4 136-170 220-250 F20 114i, 116i, F30 316i, F20 118i, MINI Cooper S F56
N20 2.0 I4 16 DOHC 181 258 2012- E84 X1 20i, 28i, F25 X3 20i, 28i, F30 320i, 328i, F10 520i, 528i, E89 Z4 20i, 28i, F20 125i single twin-scroll turbo,
241 Valvetronic, direct injection
N26 2.0 I4 16 DOHC 241 258 2012- F30 328i SULEV low emissions engine for US
single twin-scroll turbo,
Valvetronic, direct injection
N51 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 215 184 2007-2011 E90 328i SULEV SULEV low emissions engine
N52 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 215 184 2006 E90 325i also known as 'low output' N52
N52B30M1 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 230 199 2007-2012 E90/E92 328i, Z4 3.0i Medium-output N52
N52B30O1 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 255 221 2006-2012 E90 330i, E60 528i, Z4 3.0si, E63 630i High-output N52
N53 2.5-3.0 I6 24 DOHC 190-270 173-240 2007-2011 Euro E90 325i, 330i, Euro E60 523i, 525i, Euro F10 525i, 530i Euro-spec version for lower market Euro models
N54 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 306-335 295-332 2007-2010 E90/E92 335i, E60 535i, E82 1M twin-turbo, direct injection
N55 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 302 300 2010- E82 135i, E90, E92 335i, F30 335i, E84 X1, F25 X3, E70 X5, E71 X6 xDrive 35i, F10 535i, F07 535i, single twin-scroll turbo, Valvetronic, direct injection
N55HP 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 315 330 2010 F12 640i, F21 M135i, F01 740i single twin-scroll turbo, Valvetronic, direct injection
N62 3.6-4.8 V8 32 DOHC 272-367 262-369 2001-2010 E60 545i/550i, E65 745/750, E70 X5 4.8, E63 645Ci, 650i naturally aspirated, Valvetronic
N63 4.4 V8 32 DOHC 402 440 2008- F10 550i, E71 X6 50i, F02 750Li, F12/13 650i, F07 550i GT twin turbo
S Codes for Motorsport Series
S14 2.0-2.5 I4 16 DOHC 195-235 155-177 1987-1991 E30 M3, E30 320is based on M88/S38 engine design
S38 3.5-3.8 I6 24 DOHC 252-335 243-295 1986-1995 E28 M5, E24 M6, E34 M5 further development of M88 engine
S50 EU 3.0-3.2 I6 24 DOHC 280-321 240-260 1993-1999 Euro E36 M3, Euro MZ3 not based on M50, single and double VANOS
S50 US 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 240 225 1995 US E36 M3, Japan-spec E36 M3 directly based on M50
S52 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 240 240 1996-2000 US E36 M3, US MZ3 Japan-spec E36 M3 directly based on M52
S54 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 333-343 257-269 2001-2008 E46 M3, MZ3, Z4 M further development of Euro S50B32
S55 3.0 I6 24 DOHC 430 (est) x 2015+ F80 M3, F82 M4
S62 4.9 V8 32 DOHC 394 369 1999-2003 E39 M5, E52 Z8 loosely based on M62 but with individual throttles, double VANOS
S63 4.4 V8 32 DOHC 550 500 2009-2011 E70 X5 M, E71 X6 M Motorsport-built version of N63
Wiesmann GT MF5
S63TU 4.4 V8 32 DOHC 560 502 2011- F10 M5, F12/13 M6, F06 M6 Grand Coupe S63 with Valvetronic
and more boost
S65 4.0-4.4 V8 32 DOHC 414-444 300-320 2008-2012 E90 M3, E92 M3 GTS based on S85 V10
last naturally-aspirated M engine
S70 5.6 V12 48 DOHC 380 410 1994-1995 E31 850CSi Motorsport evolution of M70 engine
S70/2 6.0-6.1 V12 48 DOHC 627-680 480 1994-1997 McLaren F1 not based on an M70 engine
shares many design points with Euro S50
S85 5.0 V10 60 DOHC 500 384 2006-2010 E60 M5, E63 M6 technology derived from Formula 1
P Codes for Motorsport Race Series
M12/7 2.0 I4 16 DOHC 300+ x 1968-1972 2002, Formula 2, 320i based on M10 4-cylinder but with 4-valve heads; naturally-aspirated
M12/M13/1 1.4-1.5 I4 16 DOHC 350-1,300 x 1979-1988 320i Group 5, March GTP, Brabham Formula 1 single turbo, decimated n/a competitors before turbos were outlawed; up to 5.5bar of boost in F1
S42B20 2.0 I4 16 DOHC 300 x 1992-1998 E36 318is BTCC SuperTouring engine, based on M42 4-cyl
P50B32 3.2-3.4 I6 24 DOHC 400-425 x 1997-2001 E36 M3 GTR, E46 M3 based on Euro S50B32, used in E36 PTG racecars and first E46 PTG cars
S70/3 6.0 V12 48 DOHC 650+ x 1995-1997 McLaren F1 GTR winner of 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans; similar in design to S70/2
P75B60 6.0 V12 48 DOHC 650+ x 1998-2001 BMW V12 LMR Prototype, E53 X5/LM winner of 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans; ground-up evolution of S70/3
P54B32 3.2-3.4 I6 24 DOHC 425-450 x 2001-2003 E46 M3 race engine based on S54 streetengine; used in ALMS prior to 4.0 P60 V8
P60B40 4.0 V8 32 DOHC 444-470 x 2003-2005 E46 M3 GTR race-only engine not based on a true production model
P54B20 2.0 I6 24 DOHC 275+ x 2001-2005 E46 320i WTCC Touring Car engine based on M54 with S54-style intake
P45B20 2.0 I4 16 DOHC 275 x 2005-2012 E90 320si WTCC based on N45 production engine from homologation special E90 320si
P65B40 4.0 V8 32 DOHC 480 x 2010- E92 M3 GT evolution of P60B40
P84 3.0 V10 40 Pneumatic 925+ x 2004-2005 WilliamsBMW F1 19,000 RPM rev limit; 1,500km lifespan (4 times longer than 2002 F1 rules)
P86 2.4 V8 32 Pneumatic 720+ x 2006-2009 BMW Sauber F1 Team 19,000 RPM rev limit

Serial Number Location on Different BMW Engines

The question also often arises where the serial number of the engine is located. It is especially unpleasant to look for it in a hurry, when during registration actions, the inspector himself cannot find it. In such cases, I recommend finding its location in advance and cleaning the room from dirt.

BMW M30 Engine

BMW M40 Engine

BMW M41 Engine

BMW M47 Engine

This engine was installed on models: BMW 118d/120d E87, BMW 318d/320d E46/E90, BMW 520d E39/E60 and BMW X3 E83.

BMW M52 Engine


BMW M54 Engine

BMW M57 Engine

BMW M67 Engine

BMW N40 Engine

BMW N42 Engine

BMW N45 Engine

BMW N46 Engine

BMW N52 Engine

BMW N62 Engine

BMW N73 Engine

BMW S54 Engine

BMW S85 Engine

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