US Auto Parts
Home View Cart
Login Live Help
Call Toll Free 1-888-810-9229/1-312-431-6015


The S54 Engine is one of the best ever! Used in the BMW E46 M3, the BMW M Z3 Roadster and the BMW M Z3 Coupe. Voted International Engine of the Year and class winner of Engine of the Year for 3 straight years!

Here's what the judges said:

The 343bhp powerplant, which is housed in the M3 coupé and revs to a maximum of 8,000rpm, puts into practice know-how such as Double VANOS variable valve timing and cross-flow cooling for the cylinder head. Known within BMW as the S54, this 24-valve powerplant, which incidentally also won this category last year, boasts 365Nm at 4,900rpm and benefits from a bespoke engine management system with two 32-bit microprocessors that perform 25 million calculations per second. Once on the road, this eco-friendly engine – the vehicle is able to deliver 8.5L/100km (33.6mpg) – goes in hunt of supercars: while the M3 can’t quite keep pace with category rivals such as Porsche’s 3.6-liter 911 Turbo or Ferrari’s 360 V8, the vast majority of drivers are going to find the zero to 100km/h (62mph) time of 5.2 seconds more than satisfactory. The longitudinally mounted M Sport-developed engine also has race-car-like throttle response.

The S54 shares its format with other BMW inline 6-cylinder engines. Virtually all of its engineering details, however, are unique and oriented to the very highest level of performance. Given that other current BMW “sixes” have an aluminum block with cast-iron cylinder liners, it may be surprising that the S54 M3 engine has a cast-iron block. Why?

Compactness is the primary reason. An inline six is longer than a V-6, and BMW nurtures the inline layout because of its superior smoothness and sound. An aluminum block’s cylinder liners take up space; with liners it would not have been possible to achieve the engine’s 3.2-liter displacement without lengthening the block. The second reason is strength. Given that this engine develops a fully 333 hp from 3.2 liters – significantly over 100 hp per liter – its internal stresses are immense.

The S54 engine has stepless Double VANOS , which varies valve timing on the intake and exhaust camshafts. Though Double VANOS is employed in current 3, 5, X5 and Z4 Series 6-cylinder engines, in the M3 engine, it varies timing over a wider range and contributes in a major way to the engine’s stratospheric power output. Intake timing is varied by 60°, exhaust by 46°, vs. 40° and 25°, respectively. As in all BMW engines where it is employed, VANOS is hydraulically actuated in response to electronic controls.

Engine Specifications


DOHC 24-valve inline 6-cylinder High-Pressure Double VANOS 4 steplessly variable intake- & exhaust- valve timing, 6 individual electronically controlled throttles with Normal & Sport settings

Engine Management System: BMW MS S54 with adaptive knock control; variable valve timing, electronic throttles, oil-level/temperature sender, variable tachometer warning zone, catalyst protection & M Driving Dynamics Control included in control strategy
Bore and Stroke (mm/in): 87.0 x 91.0 / 3.43 x 3.58
Displacement cu in (cc): 198 (3246)
Power bhp (kW) at RPM: 333(245) / 7900
Torque lb-ft (Nm) at RPM: 262(355) / 4900
Compression Ratio: 11.5 to 1
Redline at RPM: 8000

Engine Oil Recommendations

from BMW Service Information Bulletin 11 06 01, October 2001

BMW has changed their engine-oil recommendation for all M cars equipped with the new S54 engine (E46 M3 coupe and convertible, 2001-on M coupe and M roadster) from the previous BMW High Performance Synthetic 5W-30 engine oil (made by Castrol), pn 07 51 0 017 866 (1 quart), to Castrol TWS Motorsport 10W-60 Synthetic Engine Oil (previously known as Castrol Formula RS 10W-60. . . the oil is the same, only the name has changed) pn 07 51 0 009 420 (1 liter).

Presently, BMW recommends Castrol TWS Motorsport 10W-60 for all S54-equipped M-cars as well as all S62-equipped M5s and Z8s produced after 3/00, the factory recommends BMW High Performance Synthetic 5W-30 engine oil. The oil change interval of approximately 15,000 miles or once a year remains unchanged.

Customer Service

Shopping Help

Company Info

Tools and Resources

© Copyright 2007 US Auto Parts Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Business Hours - Toll Free Phone Support Open 24 Hours, 7 Days a Week - 24 Hour Live Help