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BMW is back with more powerful sedans: Here's why the new B57 turbodiesel engines are so good

2020-05-29 04:30

Lance Branquinho

bmw 7 series

New BMW 7 Series

• BMW has improved its B57 engine
• 15kw and 30Nm more powerful than before
• New 40d specification engine

No other volume car company has its brand value as powerfully interlinked with engines, like BMW. 

For decades, BMW has built cars defined by their engines, which have attracted customers who value that specific blend of smoothness and performance. But the global powertrain market is changing, rapidly, and BMW is being forced to adapt. 

Electrification is a certainty for future BMWs, and the Bavarian company will have to alter its R&D strategy to reflect this. Whereas BMW once prioritised high-performance petrol engines, the future is going to be hybridised. 

BMW's most prized engine configuration has always been the in-line six. And some of the engine configurations you might expect the least of, in this regard, might prove the most impressive. 

Although diesel fuel has waned in popularity, BMW's engineers have not ceased developing the brand's compression ignition engines. As part of a comprehensive rollout to most of its model ranges, BMW has announced notable improvements to its B57 engine. The numbers tell a story of diesel's irrelevance, perhaps being a touch alarmist. 

new-bmw-730d

Image: BMW

B57 is a big deal

Confirmed to power the X3 xDrive30d, X4 xDrive30d, X5 xDrive30d, X6 xDrive30d, 730d and new 530d, the 3.0-litre B57 diesel engine features dual-stage turbocharging.

Its energy source of diesel fuel is served by piezo-injectors at a stratospheric 2700-bar injection pressure, requiring meticulous calibration, but also delivering a terrific blend of power and efficiency. 

Technical upgrades include variable vane turbines, allowing geometry adjustment for the engine's boost management. Low-inertia turbochargers also dramatically reduce lag. 

BMW claims the new B57 has seen its peak power has increased by 15kW, now rated at 210kW, while torque surges to 650Nm which totals a 30Nm improvement. Those are impressive numbers and to illustrate their worth, in a heavy limousine such as BMW's 730d xDrive, the new engine allows for 0-100kph in 5.6 seconds. It also delivers an average fuel consumption of only 5.0-litres/100km.

Powerful 40d replacing the 50d?

BMW will also be equipping many of its larger vehicles with a potent new 40d specification engine. This evolution of the B57 in-line six will power the 740d xDrive, X3 M40d, X4 M40d, and X7 xDrive40d.

With all its technical upgrades synchronising, BMW's new 40d engine boasts 250kW and 700Nm, which are improvements of 15kW and 20Nm. 

BMW's new B57 diesels also benefit from the presence of mild-hybridisation. With most of BMW's vehicle platforms now featuring a 48-volt electrical architecture, engineers have managed to proliferate the presence of integrated starter-generators. 

Paired with the powerful torque profile of BMW's latest 3.0-litre turbodiesel engines, the mild-hybrid technology adds 8kW of power, under peak throttle demand. That might not sound like much, but it should work brilliantly in low-speed traffic conditions, saving fuel, especially with heavier models such as the X7 xDrive40d.

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Amidst the announcement of these impressive new turbodiesels, BMW has been very quiet about the future of its quad-turbo version of the B57, powering the brand's 50d models.

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