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BMW M52B28 Engine (Design, Issues & Tuning)

Updated: Feb 2

✔ This article has been fact checked.

The BMW M52B28 is a straight-6 DOHC petrol engine which was produced from 1995 to 2000, it is a 2.8L engine which produces 190hp and 280nm.

It is a member of the M52 series of engines, which includes the M52B20, M52B24, M52B25, and S52B32. The M52 and S52 engines were on the Ward's 10 Best Engines list from 1997 to 2000.

Variable valve timing was added to the exhaust camshaft as part of the "technical update" (M52TU) upgrades in 1998.

The BMW M52B28 engine was used in the following cars:

  • 1995-1999 E36 328i, 328is

  • 1995-1998 E39 528i

  • 1995-1998 E38 728i, 728iL

  • 1997-1998 E36/7 Z3 2.8

  • 1997-2000 Land Rover Defender (South Africa only)

The updated M52TUB28 was used in the following cars:

  • 1998-2000 E46 328i, 328Ci

  • 1998-2000 E36/7/8 Z3 2.8

  • 1998-2000 E39 528i

  • 1998-2000 E38 728i

Table of Contents:

BMW M52B20 Engine

BMW M52B28 Engine Design

This engine has an aluminium cylinder block with a Nikasil coating on the cylinder walls, just like M50 engines do. Only the BMW Z3 model has aluminium cylinder blocks, while the M52B28 employs cast iron engine blocks rather than aluminium ones for the North American market.

Due to the high quantities of sulphur in US gasoline, which quickly corrodes Nikasil, this option was chosen.

The connecting rods are 135 mm long. The compression height of aluminium pistons is 31.82 mm. These figures made it possible to get the "square engine" outcome (84 x 84 mm bore and stroke).

The 24-valve DOHC aluminium cylinder head of the M52B28 engine has variable valve timing only for the intake (single VANOS). The cylinder heads M50TUB25 and M52B28 are interchangeable.

The M54B30 engine, the newest member of the M54 family, took the place of the M52B28/M52TUB28 engine in 2000.

M52TUB28 - M52 Technical Update

The engine was given the name M52TUB28 in 1998 when the M52TU ("Technical Update"), which included variable valve timing to the exhaust camshaft (called "double VANOS") was released.

Additional improvements included:

  • dual VANOS (variable valve timing system for both camshafts)

  • variable geometry intake manifold (DISA)

  • cast iron sleeves within the block

  • new connecting rods, pistons

  • an electronic throttle body

The M52TUB28's camshaft specs are as follows:

  • Valve lift: 9.0/9.0 mm

  • Duration: 244/228 degrees

Engine Specs

  • Manufacturer: Munich Plant

  • Production years: 1995-2000

  • Cylinder block material: Aluminium

  • Cylinder head material: Aluminium

  • Fuel type: Gasoline

  • Fuel system: Fuel injection

  • Configuration: Inline