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      12-13-2012, 10:13 AM   #1
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Thumbs up BMW N55 and N20 Engines are Winners of 2013 Ward's 10 Best Engines List

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BMW N55 and N20 Engines Winners of 2013 Ward's 10 Best Engines List
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TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder and Inline-6 both repeat winners

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – December 13, 2012…
BMW TwinPowerTurbo technology again takes two of Ward’s 2013 10 Best Engines Awards. The 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder (N20) and 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 (N55) are both repeat winners.

“Nearly every BMW now sold in the US features TwinPower Turbo technology,” said Ludwig Willisch – President and CEO of BMW of North America, LLC. “In such a competitive market, to take two spots highlights the benefits of the BMW EfficientDynamics philosophy. It also shows that while we look for improvements in efficiency, we are still committed to fulfilling the promise of The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

Currently five models feature the 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder – Z4 sDrive28i, 528i Sedan, 328i Sedan, X3 xDrive28i and more recently, the X1 sDrive28i/xDrive28i. They will be joined next spring by the 328i Sports Wagon.

“The BMW N20’s calling card is fuel efficiency. We drove the 328i hard and still achieved close to 30 mpg. There are other good new 2.0L turbos in the market, but the N20, paired with an 8-speed transmission, topped them by several miles per gallon in our testing,” said Tom Murphy, Executive Editor at Ward’s Auto World. “The N20 makes 120 hp per liter, delivers gratifying low-end torque and is the type of engine many 2.0L turbos hope to be some day.”

The 2013 740i and 740Li, as well as the X1 xDrive35i Sports Activity Vehicle, are the newest models to receive the TwinPower Turbo inline-6. In addition, the new BMW ActiveHybrid 3, 5 and 7 models all feature the N55 TwinPower Turbo inline 6.

“The 300-hp 3.0L turbocharged inline-6 is a fantastic engine in everything from the X1 to the 7 Series, so we figured putting it in the small-ish 135is, with an extra 20 hp and more torque, would be scintillating. We were right. It loves to rev, sounds like a 1960s muscle car and makes the tachometer needle dance like a Rockette,” noted Murphy. “The N55 does more work by 2,500 rpm than most engines do at wide-open throttle.”

The 2013 740i, 740Li and ActiveHybrid 7 use the higher output version of the N55, first seen in the 640i Coupe and Convertible. It takes output and torque from 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque to 315 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. They will go from 0 – 60 mph in about five-and-a-half seconds and deliver 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway/22 mpg combined for the 740i and 740Li. The ActiveHybrid 7 delivers even more impressive mileage at 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined.

For 2013, Ward’s 10 Best Engines are:
  • 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V-6, tested in the Audi S5
  • 2.0L N20 Turbocharged DOHC I-4, tested in the BMW 328i
  • 3.0L N55 Turbocharged DOHC I-6, tested in the BMW 135is Coupe
  • 3.6L Pentastar DOHC V-6, tested in the Ram 1500
  • 2.0L EcoBoost DOHC I-4, tested in the Ford Focus ST and Taurus
  • 5.8L Supercharged DOHC V-8, tested in the Ford Shelby GT500
  • 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-4, tested in the Cadillac ATS
  • 2.4L DOHC I-4, tested in the Honda Accord Sport
  • 3.5L SOHC V-6, tested in the Honda Accord
  • 2.0L FA DOHC H-4 Boxer, tested in the Subaru BRZ

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      12-13-2012, 11:34 AM   #2
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The most exciting of these is, I think, the Honda 3.5l V6. The ability to shut down 1-3 cylinders during light load seems to be a stroke of genius, and it delivers far better gas mileage than the smaller N55 with almost as many horses. Now if only it was a straight six, and not too tall to fit under most hoods...
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      12-13-2012, 05:23 PM   #3
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Cylinder shutdown has been featured in Honda's 3.5l for years in the Odyssey and Pilot. I have a Pilot with this feature and while welcomed, its far from seamless in its operation and hasn't proved all that effective in fuel savings and the trip computer lies- consistently 1-2mpg optimistic on every tank- I know its not close to apples/apples comparison but still unhappy with Honda for that but I digress. The 8A 335 gets 23/33 vs. 21/34 for the new EX-L V6 which I'll call a wash- 22hp and 48 lb-ft of torque is not. As a former TL owner I can also say that all that power at the front essentially defines the law of diminishing returns- ie more stops being more when you're routing it all to the front axle.
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      12-13-2012, 06:03 PM   #4
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Let's not forget that the N55 still dynos well over the advertised power. Not as much as the N54 did, but it's still making a good bit more than 22hp and 48 lb/ft more than the Honda mill.
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      12-14-2012, 11:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monterra View Post
Cylinder shutdown has been featured in Honda's 3.5l for years in the Odyssey and Pilot. I have a Pilot with this feature and while welcomed, its far from seamless in its operation
I thought that the new thing was how seamless the switchover was? So far, I think it's only the Acura RDX that has the new version.

I think it makes a lot of sense - cruising on the highway, there's not really a need to have six cylinders, but bringing it up to that speed, you're glad you have them. And while the tech might not be perfect, it sure is a lot better than GM's Seville that first introduced cylinder shutdown, and often could be seen roadside waiting for towing. (The two might not be related, of course.)

I wouldn't mind if BMW took a look at this too - it might be less intrusive than their current "ECOdrive" system, which isn't universally liked, and still doesn't save much fuel when cruising.
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      12-14-2012, 11:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grovsnus View Post
I thought that the new thing was how seamless the switchover was? So far, I think it's only the Acura RDX that has the new version.
Edmunds says it is seamless:
Quote:
Driving Impressions

Along with its stronger performance (about a half-second quicker to 60 mph) and higher fuel economy, the V6 in the 2013 Acura RDX also provides smoother, more linear response than the old turbo-4 setup. Fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation technology, which can shut down two or even three cylinders while cruising under light load conditions, is seamless in action -- we never heard or felt it during our time with the RDX.
I would not be in favor to BMW deploying such a system. I support the BMW turbo setups all the way. It allows tree huggers to drive in ECO-PRO 24/7 while enthusiasts can utilize the turbos and even tune for more performance! Every other turbo-4 out there seems to have more lag compared to the N20. I also doubt cylinder deactivation is compatible with forced induction so no tuning.

Honda/Acura caters to the masses now (the RDX is a great value...just not fun). The Honda I once knew is dead (I still love my S2000!).
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      12-14-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
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Honda/Acura caters to the masses now (the RDX is a great value...just not fun). The Honda I once knew is dead (I still love my S2000!).
I think that goes for most car companies. Where did the Mazda RX series go? Or the Volvo R and T models?
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      12-14-2012, 12:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grovsnus View Post
I think that goes for most car companies. Where did the Mazda RX series go? Or the Volvo R and T models?
Or Saab?

My dad has an FD RX7, from a time that the Miata was still 2300 pounds, the MX6 was pretty fun for a fwd car, the MX3 was reasonably sporty for an efficient car and they even had a (boring) rwd sedan, the 929. Poor Mazda. As much as I feel Honda's lost their mojo, Mazda has forgotten it ever had one.
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      12-15-2012, 12:30 AM   #9
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Looks like Honda may be getting its groove back, haven't sampled the newest iteration of the shutdown feature but it sounds like they've ironed it out, I was mainly pointing out that this is not new tech and the mileage diff vs N55 is nearly nill- the N55 is truly fantastic as I found out on the X1.

RX-8 had no torque and drank fuel (and oil) at an alarming rate. It was a real sports car in many ways and appealed to the practical side with a usable/accessable rear seat but let down (for me) by the wankel that didn't wake up until ~5k. Fun as hell to flog but the all or nothing nature of the powertrain drove me away as a car I could live with daily. Volvo 60R put up some pretty good numbers and had a great interior but just felt numb, sounded like a dyson and had poor rear seat room given its size.
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      12-15-2012, 07:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monterra View Post
Volvo 60R put up some pretty good numbers and had a great interior but just felt numb, sounded like a dyson and had poor rear seat room given its size.
I think the sound was deliberate. The turbo of the old 240 Turbo was famous for being so loud, and sounding like, well, a vacuum cleaner.
(Although in Sweden, that would be a Husqvarna.)

Much like the N55 in the X1 to some degree brings back the engine sound of yore.
At least it's real and not like the M5...
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