ⓘ BMW M50


ⓘ BMW M50

The BMW M50 is a straight-6 DOHC petrol engine which was produced from 1990 to 1996. It was released in the E34 520i and 525i, to replace the M20 engine.

In September 1992, the M50 was upgraded to the M50TU "technical update", which was BMWs first engine to use variable valve timing. Called single VANOS by BMW, the system adjusted the phasing of the intake camshaft.

The M50 began to be phased out following the introduction of the M52 engine in 1994.

The E36 M3 is powered by the S50 engine series, which is a high output version of the M50.


1. Design

A significant advance over its M20 predecessor, the M50 features dual overhead camshaft DOHC with four valves per cylinder the M20 has a single overhead camshaft with 2 valves per cylinder, coil-on-plug ignition, a knock sensor and a lightweight plastic intake manifold. Both engines use an iron block with an aluminum alloy head. The redline is 6.500 rpm except for S50 models, the same as the final version of the M20.

The location of the oil pan sump varies according to the model the M50 is installed in. It is in the front on the E34 5 Series like the M20, whereas it is in the rear on the E36 3 Series.


2.1. Models M50B20

The 1.991 cc 121.5 cu in M50B20 was introduced with the 1990 520i. It has a bore of 80 mm 3.15 in, a stroke of 66 mm 2.60 in and produces 110 kW 148 hp. The compression ratio is 10.5:1.


  • 1990-1992 E34 520i
  • 1991-1992 E36 320i

2.2. Models M50B20TU

The M50B20 was updated with single VANOS in 1992. Peak torque became available at 4.200 rpm. It produces 110 kW 148 hp at 5.900 rpm and 190 N⋅m 140 lb⋅ft at 4.200 rpm. The compression ratio was raised to 11.0:1.


  • 1992-1994 E36 320i
  • 1992-1996 E34 520i

2.3. Models M50B24TU

This is a 2.394 cc 146.1 cu in engine used in the Thailand and Oceania markets. It is based on the 2.494 cc 2.5 L M50B25TU with the stroke reduced to 72 mm 2.83 in and produces 138 kW 185 hp at 5.900 rpm and 240 N⋅m 177 lb⋅ft at 4.200 rpm. The compression ratio was 10.5:1.


  • 1993-1995 E36 325iA/2.4
  • 1992-1996 E34 525iA/2.4

2.4. Models M50B25

The 2.494 cc 152.2 cu in M50B25 was introduced with the 1990 525i and 525ix. It has a bore of 84 mm 3.31 in, a stroke of 75 mm 2.95 in and produces 141 kW 189 hp at 6.000 rpm and 245 N⋅m 181 lb⋅ft at 4.700 rpm. The compression ratio is 10.0:1.


  • 1991-1992 E36 325i, 325is
  • 1990-1992 E34 525i, 525ix

2.5. Models M50B25TU

The M50B25 was updated with single VANOS in 1992, resulting in peak torque becoming available at 4.200 rpm. It produces 141 kW 189 hp at 5.900 rpm and 250 N⋅m 184 lb⋅ft at 4.200 rpm. The compression ratio was increased to 10.5:1.


  • 1992-1996 E34 525i, 525ix
  • 1993-1995 E36 325i, 325is

3. S50

The S50 is the high performance version of the M50 which was used in the E36 M3, replacing the four-cylinder BMW S14 engine used in the E30 M3. Like the M50, the S50 has an iron block and aluminum head with four valves per cylinder.

In the United States, a less powerful engine called the "S50B30US" was used, which shares more in common with the regular M50 engine than the other S50 versions.


3.1. S50 S50B30

The S50B30 was used in most countries, except for the United States in 1993, BMW Canada officially imported 45 M3s with the S50B30 engine. The S50B30 produces 210 kW 282 bhp, has a bore of 86 mm 3.39 in, a stroke of 85.8 mm 3.38 in and a compression ratio of 10.8:1. The redline is 7.200 rpm. The S50 has an individual throttle body for each cylinder, single-VANOS variable valve timing on the intake camshaft, Bosch Motronic M3.3 engine management and redesigned intake and exhaust systems.

The limited edition "M3 GT" model from 1995 produced 220 kW 295 bhp. It had different camshafts and a redesigned sump and oil pump.


  • 1992-1995 E36 M3 except for US

3.2. S50 S50B30US

In the United States, the 1994-1995 model years of the E36 M3 are powered by the S50B30US, a 2.990 cc 182.5 cu in engine which produces 179 kW 240 bhp. This engine is more closely related to the standard M50 engine and has the same compression ratio as the M50B25TU, but uses a different crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons. The bore is 86 mm 3.39 in, the stroke is 85.8 mm 3.38 in and the redline is 7.000 rpm.

In 1996, the S50B30US was replaced by the BMW S52 engine in the United States and Canada only.


  • 1994-1995 E36 M3 US only

3.3. S50 S50B32

In 1996, the S50B32 replaced the S50B30 except in Canada and the United States, where the BMW S52 engine was used instead. Power output increased to 239 kW 321 bhp. and the displacement increased to 3.2 L; 195.3 cu in 3.201 cc, due to an increased stroke of 91 mm 3.58 in and a slight increase in bore to 86.4 mm 3.40 in.

The S50B32 has double-VANOS variable valve timing on both camshafts and a secondary oil pick-up was added. The compression ratio is 11.3:1 and the redline is 7.600 rpm. Engine management is the Siemens MSS50, with 3 knock sensors.


  • 1996-1999 E36 M3 except Canada and the United States
  • 1996-2000 Z3 M Coupe and M Roadster except Canada and the United States