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Model & Engine Designations

By now you have heard references to the BMW E30 M20. What does all that mean? Well the E30 part refers to the type of car - the 3 series from 1984 until 1991 (with the exception of the cabrios and the touring which were produced until 1993), whilst the M20 part refers to the type of engine. Below is a list to explain the various E & M numbers for you.

Vehicle designations
114 1602 - 2002 tii
118 1500, 1600-4, 1800, 1800tii
121 2000, 2000 ti, 2000tilux
E3 2500 - 3.3 Li
E6 1600, 1800, 2000 touring
E9 2500 CS - 3.0 CSi
E12 5 series up to '81 year model ('80 model year in Europe)
E12/5 As above with M60 engine (not V8)
E12/6 As above with M68 engine
E12/8 As above for South Africa
E21 3 series up to '83 year model
E21/5 3 series with M60 (not V8)
E23 7 series up to '87 model year ('86 model year in Europe)
E24 6 series
E26 M1
E28 5 series from '82 year model ('81 model in Europe)
E30 3 series from '84 year model
E31 8 series
E32 7 series from '88 year model ('87 year model in Europe)
E34 5 series from '89 year model
E36 3 series from '92 year model
E36/5 3 series compact
E36/7 Z3 Roadster
E38 7 series from '95 year model
E39 5 series from '97 year model ('96 outside US)
E46 3 series, 4 door from 1999, Coupe from 2000
E52 Z8 Roadster
E53 X5
Old engine codes, no longer used
M41 4 cylinder 1.6 litre, DIDTA carburettor
M42 4 cylinder 1.8 litre, DIDTA carburettor
M60 6 cylinder 2.0 and 2.3 litre carburettor or fuel injected
M68 6 cylinder 2.5 - 2.8 litre carburettor
M69 6 cylinder 3.2 litre fuel injection
M86 6 cylinder 2.8 litre fuel injection (L Jetronic)
M90 6 cylinder 3.5 litre
M92 4 cylinder 1.8 litre K Jetronic fuel injection
M99 4 cylinder 1.8 litre 2B4 carburettor
M102 6 cylinder 3.2 litre turbocharged
Current engine designations
M10 1.8 or 2.0 litre 4 cylinder single overhead cam , timing chain
M20 2.0, 2.3, 2.5 or 2.7 litre 6 cylinder single overhead cam , timing belt
M21 6 cylinder diesel, 2.4 litre single overhead cam, timing belt. Naturally aspirated or turbocharged
M30 2.8, 3.0, 3.2 or 3.4 litre 6 cylinder single overhead cam, timing chain. Available with turbocharger
M40 4 cylinder single overhead cam, timing belt
M41 4 cylinder diesel
M42 1.8 litre 4 cylinder dual overhead cam
M43 4 cylinder
M44 1.9 litre 4 cylinder 4 valves
M50 2.0, 2.3 or 2.5 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam
M50TU 2.0, 2.3 or 2.5 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam, variable intake (VaNoS)
M51 6 cylinder diesel
M52 2.0, 2.3, 2.5 or 2.8 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam, variable intake (VaNoS)
M52TU 2.5 and 3.0 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam, dual VaNoS
M54 2.5 and 3.0 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam, dual VaNoS
M60 V8 3.0 or 4.0 litre
M62 V8 3.5 or 4.4 litre
M70 V12 5.0 litre
M73 V12 5.4 litre
M88 6 cylinder 3.5 litre 24 valve Motorsport engine found in M1 only
M88/3 As above for all other vehicles
S14 2.3 litre 4 cylinder dual overhead cam M power
S38 3.6 or 3.8 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam M power
S50 3.0 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam M power, variable cams (VaNoS)
S50US 3.0 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam M power, variable intake cam (VaNoS)
S52 3.2 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam M power, dual VaNoS, multiple throttles
S52US 3.2 litre 6 cylinder dual overhead cam M power, variable intake cam (VaNoS)
S62 5.0 litre V8 M power quad VaNoS 400hp
S70 5.6 litre V12 M power
Engine designations are followed by a capacity code, e.g.. M20B25 is an M20 engine, of 2.5 litre capacity.
Vehicle designations are occasionally followed by a variant, e.g. E36/7 is the Z3 roadster

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