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BMW S52B32 Engine (Design, Issues & Tuning)

Updated: Feb 2

✔ This article has been fact checked.

The S52B32's design heavily relies on the M52B28 engine. This engine was created especially for M-version cars in North America as opposed to the more powerful S50B32 engine used in Europe.

It is a 3,152 cc straight-6 DOHC petrol engine which produces 240hp and 325nm. The S52 is a higher performance version of the M52 produced between 1996-2000.

The BMW S52B32 engine is used in the following cars:

  • 1996-1999 E36 M3 (Canada and United States only)

  • 1998-2000 E36/7/8 Z3M (Canada and United States only)

Table of Contents:

s52b32 engine

BMW S52B32 Engine Design

The engine features an 86.4 mm diameter bore in a cast iron cylinder block (the same as the M52B28 in North America). Because of its sturdy and lightweight forged crankshaft, it can sustain greater loads.

The piston compression height was increased to 31 mm while the connecting rods' length was reduced to 135 mm. The crankshaft was lengthened to 89.6 mm and had a 3.2L displacement with a 10.5:1 compression ratio.

A modified M52 cylinder head with a Double VANOS system is used by the S52 engine. It boasts redesigned camshafts, stiffer valve springs, and larger water channels for better cooling. This engine's head gasket is distinct from that of M52 engines and cannot be used on them.

The S52B32 camshaft has a duration of 252/244 degrees and a valve lift of 10.2/10.2 mm.

In the intake system, a simple plastic intake manifold and an electronic throttle body are employed, and in the exhaust system, a new, more effective exhaust manifold is utilised. Siemens MS41.1 is used for the engine management system.

Because of their better reliability and more flexible tuning options, many European car enthusiasts purchase S52 engines from the US.

Up until 2000, this engine was installed under the hood of BMW M3 E36 or Z3M vehicles sold in the US and Canada. In 2000, the S54B32 took its place.

Engine Specs

  • Manufacturer: Munich Plant

  • Production years: 1996-2000

  • Cylinder block material: Cast Iron

  • Cylinder head material: Aluminium

  • Fuel type: Gasoline

  • Fuel system: Fuel injection

  • Configuration: Inline

  • Number of cylinders: 6

  • Valves per cylinder: 4

  • Valvetrain layout: DOHC

  • Bore: 86.4 mm

  • Stroke: 89.6 mm

  • Displacement: 3152 cc

  • Type: Four-stroke, naturally aspirated

  • Compression Ratio: 10.5:1

  • Power: 240 hp at 6,000 rpm

  • Torque: 240 lb-ft (320 Nm) at 3,800 rpm

  • Redline RPM: 7,000 rpm

  • Firing order: 1-5-3-6-2-4

  • Engine oil weight: 0W-30, 0W-40, 5W-30, 5W-40

  • Engine oil capacity: 5.5 litres

  • Oil change interval: 6,000 miles (10,000 km) or 12 months

  • Applications: 1996-1999 E36 M3 (Canada and USA only), 1998-2000 E36/7/8 Z3M (Canada and USA only)

Problems & Reliability

The S52B32 engine does have some common issues, as detailed below.