A tale of two Blown 4.4L V8s – BMW & @Cadillac

The new 2012 BMW M5 uses the twin-scroll, twin-turbo 4.4L V8 from the BMW X5M/X6M SUVs.  In the 2009 BMW trucks this powerplant made 547 hp, in 2010 555 hp, but in the new M5 makes 552 hp.   This all seems to need a bit more sorting.

This engine is the BMW S63, which is a twin-scroll version of the N63 V8.  For the 09 trucks it makes 547 hp at 6000 rpm and 500 lb ft of torque at 1500-5650 rpm.  As in the N63, the turbos are mounted in the V of the engine.  The engines do not appear to use the BMW valvetronic (variable valve timing used instead of a throttle), since there is a perception that it is not needed with a turbocharged vehicle, but are double Vanos systems (variable valve timing,  abbr. from German variable Nockenwellensteuerung, or variable camshaft control).

BMW S63 Engine

BMW fansites were predicting 585-600 hp for the S63 in the M5, so 552 hp is a bit of a surprise.

A blown 4.4L V8 seems familiar — ah yes, that’s what I have in my 2008 Cadillac STS-V!  Of course, mine is supercharged and not a turbo model as in the BMW, and makes only 469hp instead of 552 hp.  The Cadillac uses 12 psi of boost, while the BMW pushes that dial up to 22 psi of boost.  At around 4 % improvement per PSI, a LC3 running 17 psi would make similar numbers, but would run out of the boost range for the custom Eaton M122 supercharger in the Cadillac V8.  (The Stiegemeier snake bite kit does hit 17 psi however…)

[Updated] The BMW N63 makes similar boost pressure to the Cadillac LC3, at 11.6 psi but with a 10:1 compression ratio for the BMW.  The N63 was rated at 400 hp vs the 469 for the 12 psi Cadillac.  Both the N63 and S63 are direct injected engines.  The S63 uses twin-scroll turbos, cross-flow turbo plumbing, lower compression at 9.3:1, and higher boost to build to 552 hp.

The BMW SUVs have launch control, so hopefully the M5 will benefit from this as well.

A bit surprising that BMW stopped short of exceeding the Cadillac CTS-V’s 556 hp.  A shame really, as I would love to see Cadillac turn up the wick on the LSA 6.2L Supercharged V8 in the CTS-V a bit further to 600+ hp.

More on HP: Confusingly the BMW engines are still rated in PS (German: Pferdestärke = horse strength), which is a DIN standard mathematically different from British hp used in the USA.  PS has been replaced by the kilowatt, but is still used.  The 2010 BMW X5M made 414 kW, or 554 hp.  F10.5post.com is quoting the new M5 at 560PS which converts to 552 hp, but is actually less than the 563 PS in the 2010 X5 M.  Autoblog and Jalopnik are quoting the X5M at 547hp, but that was the 09 model.  I’m sure this will get sorted, hashed, and be more clear presently.

If I didn’t drive a Cadillac I’d drive a…

My last few automobiles have been Cadillacs.  My next vehicle is likely to be a Cadillac — preferably something from the V-Series.  I like the formality and elegance of Cadillacs.  I like the performance and luxury.  I have reached a point in my life that I can afford to have nicer things, so I prefer to drive a nicer vehicle, and Cadillac offers the right mix.  If I were NOT to drive a Cadillac as my next vehicle however, what might I purchase?

1. Saturn Sky Redline

First of all, I am a Corvette fan.  But I have really been smitten by the value equation of the Saturn Sky Redline.  Although now out of production, starting at US$28K new, you could purchase a quick roadster.

Along with the boost in horsepower and torque, the Sky Red Line featured a long list of standard equipment including:

  • Stabilitrak electronic stability control
  • Traction control
  • Close-ratio five-speed manual transmission with self-adjusting clutch
  • Four-wheel ABS disc brakes
  • Limited slip differential
  • Performance-tuned suspension with coil-over Bilstein monotube shocks
  • Air conditioning
  • Power locks, windows and mirrors
  • OnStar with one year of Safe & Sound service

I was so ready for Cadillac to get one of these Kappa platform cars!  In 2-seat convertibles, a used Porsche Boxster S tends to be VERY inexpensive.  I never have gotten used to the idea of that platform packaging with NO engine access though.  I also like the looks of the BMW Z4.  I would likely look for a used Corvette at the same time as a used Sky Redline, and take the one I found first.

2. Chevrolet Camaro 2SS

The recently redesigned Camaro is a great vehicle choice car for a 2-door 2+2.  Rear wheel drive, V8 making excellent power, tight suspension, great looks, great price.

2010 Camaro LT with RS appearance package

Starting at $23K, the Camaro V6 is a persuasive package as well.  It uses the same LLT 3.6L V6 as the current Cadillac CTS Premium or Performance editions, making 304 hp.  That is as much or more than some recent V8s made.  Two V8s are offered, one with an automatic transmission, and a slightly different engine with the manual transmission.    The full boat 2SS variant starts at $33K.  The Camaro team has hit the range I wish Cadillac would hold the CTS — about $10K difference across the model range from least expensive to most expensive.

Honorable mention in this configuration goes to the previous Pontiac GTO.  I never really liked the looks of the GTO, but the package is sweet with a Zeta RWD chassis, LS engine.

3. BMW 335i Sedan (used)

For a 4-seat, 4-passenger sedan I would look at a used BMW 335i.  Now the M3 is the V-Series equivalent for BMW, but in the 3-Series range the current 335i with a 300 hp turbo 3L V6 makes a very nice value versus the more expensive M3 with 414 hp V8.  I would feel terrible if I spent the more money for the M3 and could have had the Camaro V8 and cash back.  On the other hand if I had to have 4 doors, the price of the M3 would move it out of my range of consideration.

BMW 335i

A new BMW 335i Sedan starts at US$40,600.  That would likely make even the 335i more than I would want to spend.  The 1-Series seems unattractive to me, so no joy there.  I see used 335i’s for under $30K, so they rapidly come down in price from new.  By comparison the BMW M3 Sedan new starts at US$55,400; definitely out of my target budget range.

But if you can overcome the funding issue, the BMW 3-series has good acceleration, good cornering, and good looks in a tight package.

For the CaddyInfo Cadillac Forum Readers — If you didn’t drive a Cadillac what would you drive?

Cadillac 3.0L vs BMW 3.0L: Sports Luxury Engine Comparison

BMW has established its brand personae by edging toward the performance end of the luxury versus performance scale.  Mercedes traditionally leans toward the luxury end of the same spectrum.  Both BMW and Mercedes have released cars which pressed the boundaries of their traditional inclinations of course.  Cadillac has also released luxury performance models across the spectrum, from the speed demon super car sedan CTS-V to the sporty but efficient SRX SUV.

The mainstream Cadillac base engine in the CTS Family and 2010 SRX is the new 3.0 L VVT direct injection V6, the LF1.  The latest BMW 3.0L is not the normally aspirated 3L used in the BMW 3-series, but rather a related engine called N52B30 used in the X3 and X5 SUV’s making 260hp, and in the 2009 BMW Z4 sDrive30i subcompact convertible making 255 hp.

Let’s compare how the Cadillac engine stacks up with the Sporty BMW power plant.  I think everyone agrees that BMW knows how to make engines — the engine, along with the steering quality, get the most comments / compliments from the automotive press in BMW reviews.  So the question is, how well does the Cadillac LF1 Engine compare?


The 6-cylinder normally aspirated engine: powerful and light thanks to magnesium.

Offering spontaneous power and performance, excellent motoring refinement and outstanding efficiency, the 6-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine … offers the very best in its segment. Weighing just 355 lb thanks to its composite magnesium/aluminum crankcase, cylinder head cover made of a special synthetic material and lightweight camshafts with aluminum VANOS control unit, is exceptionally light.

While BMW’s VALVETRONIC engine management controls valve stroke on the intake valves, double-VANOS varies the angle of the intake and outlet valves in an infinite process. This allows particularly efficient use of fuel, providing a “beefy” torque curve and giving the engine instant response.

The engine in the BMW Z4 sDrive30i develops maximum output of 255 hp from 3.0 liters capacity at an engine speed of 6,600 rpm. Maximum torque of 220 lb-ft, in turn, comes at just 2,600 rpm.

The Cadillac LF1 3.0L: 2010 GM 3.0L V-6 VVT DI (LF1)

The 3.0L V-6 VVT DI LF1 is part of GM’s growing global family of V-6 engines. They were jointly developed for applications around the world, drawing on the best practices and creative expertise of GM technical centers in Australia, Germany, North America, and Sweden.

These engines apply the most advanced automotive engine technology available, from state-of-the-art casting processes to full four-cam phasing to ultra-fast data processing and torque-based engine management. Each delivers a market-leading balance of good specific output, high torque over a broad rpm band, fuel economy, low emissions and first-rate noise, vibration and harshness control, with exclusive durability enhancing features and very low maintenance.

Features of this engine include:

– Direct Injection Technology

– Aluminum engine block and cylinder heads

– Dual overhead cams with four valves per cylinder and silent chain cam drive

– Composite upper intake manifolds

– Integrated exhaust manifolds

– Optimized exhaust manifolds

– Fully isolated composite camshaft covers with added acoustic treatment

Engine Dyno for the Cadillac LF1 V6:

Comparative Stats:

Engine HP RPM Torque RPM
Cadillac LF1 (CTS) 270 7000 223 5700
BMW N52S30 (x3) 260 6600 225 2750


These two engines appear to have very similar performance.  The Cadillac puts out a bit more power, but the BMW is tuned for slightly more low-end torque.  Another factor to consider is that the BMW apparently requires premium fuel, while the Cadillac makes similar power using regular unleaded fuel.