What Cars Have the N55 Engine: Comprehensive Model List

The BMW N55 engine, a turbocharged straight-six petrol unit, signifies a substantial advancement in BMW’s engine technology. Since its inception in 2009, the N55 has replaced the older N54 engine, propelling a diverse range of BMW’s performance-oriented models with a blend of reliability and horsepower.

This engine carried forward BMW’s long-standing tradition of creating robust and efficient engines, underlined by its recognition in Ward’s 10 Best Engines awards from 2011 to 2013.

Several BMW and Mini models feature the N55 engine. They are parked in a row, with their hoods open to reveal the engines

We can proudly say that the N55 engine became a cornerstone for BMW, serving in a raft of vehicles that appeal to driving enthusiasts and luxury seekers alike.

BMW integrated this powertrain into popular models such as the F07 5 Series Gran Turismo and the F10 535i, as well as into the E90 335i, E82 135i, and the larger F15 X5, marking a significant leap over its predecessor with a single twin-scroll turbocharger that maintained performance while enhancing efficiency.

Distinguished by its performance, the N55 engine blends the power expected from a BMW with innovations that deliver responsive driving dynamics.

Its application across the BMW model range reflects the versatility of the engine, appealing to a wide audience by offering a balance between sheer driving pleasure and polished everyday usability.

Whether in coupes, sedans, or SUVs, the N55’s adoption ensures a consistent baseline of performance and technological sophistication.

Innovation in Performance: The BMW N55 Engine

BMW’s N55 engine is a prime example of technological evolution and enhanced performance. We’ll explore the substantial upgrades from its predecessor, the N54, and examine the advanced technical features that make the N55 a paragon of power and efficiency.

Evolution from N54 to N55: Enhancements and New Features

Key Enhancements from N54 to N55:

  • Singular Twin-Scroll Turbocharger: Transition from the N54’s twin turbochargers to a more efficient single twin-scroll turbo, improving power delivery and throttle response.
  • Valvetronic System: Integration of BMW’s innovative Valvetronic technology, allowing for variable valve lift and improved fuel efficiency.
  • Fuel Injectors: Upgraded high-precision injectors improving fuel atomization, which aids in cleaner and more efficient combustion.

The transition from BMW’s N54 to N55 represents a significant leap forward. Our integration of a single twin-scroll turbocharger streamlined the engine design and enabled a reduction in turbo lag.

Additionally, the incorporation of the Valvetronic system allowed our engine to adjust intake valve lift, enhancing our control over the engine’s breathing and improving both power and fuel economy.

We refined existing technologies too, with high-precision fuel injectors providing better fuel atomization and efficiency.

Technical Aspects: Twin-Scroll Turbocharging and Valvetronic

The N55 engine boasts two critical innovations: the twin-scroll turbocharger and the Valvetronic system.

Feature Benefit Specs/Notes
Twin-Scroll Turbo Improved Turbo Response Reduces turbo lag
Valvetronic System Variable Valve Lift Allows engine to “breathe” better
VANOS Variable Valve Timing Optimizes engine timing
Compression Ratio Power and Efficiency 10.2:1, balancing power with efficiency

The Valvetronic system works in concert with BMW’s VANOS technology to provide precision in the timing and lift of the engine’s valves. This leads to an optimized power delivery and increased fuel efficiency without compromising the characteristic BMW performance.

Our commitment to reliability and performance is echoed in the N55’s sustained power delivery and a compression ratio of 10.2:1, balancing robust power output with economical fuel usage.

Achieving Balanced Power: Torque, Horsepower, and Efficiency

In our section, we’re focusing on how the BMW N55 engine marries torque and horsepower to achieve superior performance while maintaining fuel efficiency.

The N55 illustrates the harmony between power and efficiency through advanced engineering, which we’ll elucidate in the following subsections.

Engineering Precision: Compression Ratio and Power Output

We recognize that compression ratio is a critical factor affecting the power and efficiency of an engine. A higher compression ratio can improve efficiency, but it must be balanced to avoid the risks of engine knock.

The N55B30O0 variant, with its 302 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 295 lb-ft of torque at 1,200–5,000 RPM, exemplifies this balance.

This version utilizes twin-scroll turbocharging alongside BMW’s Valvetronic variable valve lift to optimize power delivery and achieve a high compression ratio without sacrificing reliability.

Fuel Management: High-Pressure Injection and Efficiency

Efficient fuel delivery is quintessential for optimizing engine performance.

The high-pressure fuel pump (HPFP) in the N55 injects fuel directly into the combustion chamber at pressures up to 200 bar.

This precise control over fuel injection timing and quantity ensures improved combustion efficiency, leading to increased power output while maintaining fuel efficiency.

Moreover, the N55 incorporates piezo fuel injectors which further refine the injection process, yielding a fine mist that burns more completely, thus elevating the efficiency of each power stroke.

Engine Variant Horsepower (hp) Torque (lb-ft)
N55B30M0 302 @ 6,000 RPM 295 @ 1,200–5,000 RPM
N55B30O0 (max performance) 300 300

By integrating sophisticated technologies such as the turbocharger, high-pressure fuel pump, and variable valve lift, we see that the N55 engine is a testament to BMW’s commitment to performance without compromising efficiency.

This approach allows us to enjoy a spirited driving experience with the peace of mind that we are also being economical and considerate of the environment.

Reliability and Maintenance of the N55 Engine

When discussing the BMW N55 engine, it’s pivotal to consider its reliability and the maintenance practices necessary to prolong its lifespan. We’ll explore common issues as well as the best approaches to maintenance.

Common Issues and Lifespan Considerations

The N55 engine, while known for its performance, does have points of common failure that can affect its lifespan. We’ve seen the electric water pump and timing chain to be particularly prone to failure. Regular inspection of these parts is crucial.

Key Known Issues:
  • Electric water pump failures lead to overheating.
  • Timing chain wear, potentially damaging the engine if it snaps.
  • Oil filter housing gasket leaks, which can cause damage to the serpentine belt.
  • Oil pan and valve cover gasket leaks.

Regular Maintenance for Optimal Performance

Efficient maintenance amplifies the N55’s reliability.

We place great emphasis on timely oil changes and inspection of spark plugs and coolant levels. This simple regimen can avert irreversible engine damage.

Maintenance Checklist:
  • Change the engine oil and oil filter every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
  • Inspect spark plugs every 20,000 miles and replace if necessary.
  • Check coolant levels and replace the electric water pump before it fails.
  • Regularly inspect for oil leaks and address promptly.

Model Specific Analysis and BMW’s Engine Lineup

In this section, we explore how the N55 engine’s performance varies between different BMW models, and we compare the characteristics of the N55 to its successor and the M division derivative, the S55.

Varying Performance Across BMW Models

The N55 engine, a turbocharged inline-six, has been a core part of BMW’s lineup, powering various models with different performance profiles.

For instance, the engine propels cars like the E90/E91/E92/E93 335i and the E82/E88 135i with paramount precision, leveraging the balance of an inline-six.

Notably, the F25 X3 xDrive35i and the E70 X5 xDrive 35i also benefit from the engine’s robust delivery, while the likes of the F10/F11/F07 535i showcase its versatility across the range of executive sedans.

Comparative Study: N55 Engine Variants and the S55

When comparing the N55 to the S55, the differences are distinct.

The S55, developed for the M3 and M4, manifests a clear evolution in BMW’s engineering. It has enhanced turbocharging and more aggressive tuning for higher performance.

The Alpina versions of BMW models often incorporate specific modifications to the N55 to suit their bespoke requirements. Meanwhile, the engine block and internals of the N55 remain inherently stable, a testament to its reliability, even when tasked with greater output in models such as the F87 M2.

The B58 engine, a successor to the N55, further refines the formula with upgrades that push the envelope in vehicles such as the newer M340i and M240i.
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