top of page

Understanding BMW Engine Names (Engine Naming System Explained)

Updated: Jan 9

M10 stood for a four-cylinder engine, M20 for a small six-cylinder engine, and M30 for a big six-cylinder engine. But as more BMW engines were being designed, a different identification system was required.


The current format dates from the middle of the 1980s. BMW engine codes are intended to convey a information about the technology and design of the engine in a condensed amount of space.


"M", "N", or "B" codes are used with standard BMW engines. An "S" code is used for BMW M performance production motorsport engines. A "P" code is used by the official BMW motorsport engines.


The identification system changes depending on which engine it is. Using the guides below can help decipher the meaning BMW engine names.

 

Table of Contents:

 

BMW "S" Engine Code

In the example below, the S85B50, using the engine naming system we can decipher this engine is a BMW production motorsport 5.0 litre V10 petrol engine.


BMW "S" engine naming codes identification system

Engine Family (First Letter)

M - standard engines (1991-2005)

N - standard "New Gen" engines (2006-2016)

B - standard modular engines (2016+)

S - BMW Motorsport production engine

P - BMW Motorsport non-production engine

W - engine shared with another manufacturer

Cylinder Count (First Number)

Engine Variant (Second Number)

Fuel Type (Second Letter)

Displacement (Last Two Numbers)


BMW "M" Engine Code

For this example, we will use the M62B44TU. Using the identification system below we can decipher this BMW engine is a pre 2006 standard road engine, 2nd version, 4.4 litre V8 with a technical update.


BMW "M" engine naming codes identification system

Engine Family (First Letter)

M - standard engines (1991-2005)

N - standard "New Gen" engines (2006-2016)

B - standard modular engines (2016+)

S - BMW Motorsport production engine

P - BMW Motorsport non-production engine

W - engine shared with another manufacturer

Cylinder Count (First Number)

Engine Variant (Second Number)

Fuel Type (Second Letter)

Displacement (Last Two Number)