What BMW M has a V8?
World premiere in Los Angeles: BMW M Motorsport unveils the BMW M Hybrid V8 in its race livery and announces 2023 IMSA season drivers.
The BMW M Hybrid V8 has arrived in North America and was presented to the public in its racing colours for the first time at a launch event at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles (USA).
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Los Angeles. The BMW M Hybrid V8 has arrived in North America and was presented to the public in its racing colours for the first time at a launch event at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles (USA). The first prototype developed by BMW M Motorsport in 25 years will sport an avant-garde livery which leverages the iconic BMW M colours when it competes in the GTP class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2023. The four core drivers who will take their place at the wheel of the two BMW M Team RLL cars were also announced at the Petersen Museum. They are BMW M works drivers Connor De Phillippi (USA), Philipp Eng (AUT), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Nick Yelloly (GBR). When the car makes its race debut at Daytona (USA) in January 2023, they will receive big-name support from IndyCar series driver Colton Herta (USA).
Guests at the event in Los Angeles included BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel, Head of BMW M Motorsport Andreas Roos, IMSA President John Doonan, and the owners of BMW M Team RLL, Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Patrick Lanigan.
Franciscus van Meel said: “We are proud that, parallel to the 50 th birthday of BMW M, we are returning to the big motorsport stage with the BMW M Hybrid V8. We are delighted that this adventure begins in North America, the most important international market for BMW M GmbH. After all, the BMW M Hybrid V8 is more than just a race car, it is paving the way for an electric future for BMW M, by emphatically demonstrating how dynamic and emotive electrified M Power can be.”
Andreas Roos: “Being back in the top class of motorsport and battling for overall victories at such legendary races as Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta in 2023 is both a major challenge and huge motivation for everyone at BMW M Motorsport. We have worked very hard in recent months to get the BMW M Hybrid V8 ready for racing in a short time. Thank you to all our partners at Dallara, BMW M Team RLL, our development team RMG, and BMW Group Designworks for the fantastic support with assembling, developing and testing the car. And thank you to our sponsoring partners as well. Without their support it wouldn’t be possible to run such a project. The BMW M Hybrid V8 is a beautiful race car. It is now our job to make it fast. We are working towards achieving this goal day by day, and are confident that we will be ready in January when we really get down to business for the first time at Daytona.”
BMW M Team RLL Principal Bobby Rahal said: “There is no doubt that we understand and appreciate the level of commitment and dedication it will take on the part of RLL to be successful in this new venture. BMW M Motorsport is providing us with a great car, great engine and great driver line-up, of which we are very pleased. We understand the scope of the challenge in front of us and look forward to meeting it head on. As has been the case before, the level of collaboration and teamwork has been tremendous. Being in at the ground floor certainly gives our personnel good insight into the car from the beginning. I’ve learned long ago that you temper your expectations. Yes, you have hopes and you know you will be ultimately successful, but, as with any new car programme there are unforeseen circumstances that can work in your favour or work against you. For RLL, it’s a matter of being prepared for either.”
The BMW M Hybrid V8 began its extensive testing schedule in the U.S.A. earlier this week with a test at Sebring International Raceway (USA). The test car will also be on display at the upcoming Petit Le Mans weekend.
Two topics were in the spotlight at the Petersen Museum reveal: the world premiere of the racing livery of the BMW M Hybrid V8 and the presentation of the four core drivers and one of the additional drivers for the endurance races.
Topic 1: Design and race livery of the BMW M Hybrid V8.
Like the camouflage livery which the BMW M Hybrid V8 utilises while testing, the design for the racing season also comes from BMW Group Designworks under the programme leadership of Michael Scully. The works livery represents a significant departure from the heritage-based ‘Icons of IMSA’ camouflage with a future-facing coat of arms comprised of modern, bold, fractal blocks of the iconic M colours and the M logo. “These elements have been deconstructed to form what at first might appear to be an abstract triangular pattern across the BMW M Hybrid V8, but when viewed from the side, the M logo clicks right into place. – M reconstructed, if you will,” Scully explained.
The design also features ‘Mbedded’ references to the BMW logo, and utilises both blue and purple elements to pronounce the natural colours of electricity. Additionally the works livery carries BMW M Motorsport’s now-signature matte black extension ahead of the cockpit beneath the driver’s side of the windscreen, thereby extending BMW’s interior design hallmark of driver orientation to the exterior of the car for enhanced driver focus. In fact on the race-ready cars this non-reflective matt element will be the only black foil on the car, as all other black areas shown at the launch will remain in their native carbon fibre finish. “This measure allows us to reduce weight by 25 to 30 percent compared to a conventional livery for race cars. Less is more,” said Scully.
The debut of the BMW M Hybrid V8’s works livery also gives the first chance to see the car’s surfaces in non-camouflaged guise and to identify aspects of the design, which may have been previously obscured. The layout of the laser-lit kidneys coincides with the open, flow-through architecture of a modern prototype race car, and the air which passes beneath and through them is fundamental to the aerodynamic performance of the car; both in terms of cooling, but also for efficiency of downforce. The front of the car invokes the faceted hood, nested BMW logo, and inverted ‘Y’ configuration between the kidneys of the BMW M Vision Next, and is a great example of BMW’s showcars informing not only the production cars, but also the race cars. These elements, flanked by signature twin headlights on each side, make the front of the car unmistakably a BMW.
The kidneys’ lighting uses an exciting new technology. Innovative Swiss company L.E.S.S. SA has developed a new approach as an alternative to LED lighting where light is generated by a nano-active optical fibre trigged by a laser. This provides ultra-bright and ultra-uniform light within a very small form factor such that it considerably saves weight and energy when embedded onto a car. This technology was also presented as a future vision for the first time in the BMW M Vision Next in 2019. “
Transitioning around the side of the car, other BMW icons become apparent: the forward-leaning shark nose, the boomerang-shaped guide vane just behind the front wheel arch that summons the BMW M4’s air breather feature, the M mirrors and a modern interpretation of the Hofmeister kink. The sidepod carries a defined diagonal feature line which punctuates the radiused surface above it and at the same time also helps define the requisite front diffuser airflow exit. “A great example of the interdependence between BMW design DNA and dedicated efficiency which makes racing projects like this so engaging,” said Scully.
Topic 2: Drivers.
The four core drivers for the 2023 IMSA season are Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Augusto Farfus and Nick Yelloly. They will drive the two BMW M Hybrid V8 cars, with start numbers 24 and 25, at all of the season’s races. De Phillippi and Yelloly will form one pairing, with Eng and Farfus teaming up in the other. They will receive support at the four IMSA endurance races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta (all USA). One man who will be involved in the 24 Hours of Daytona is IndyCar driver Colton Herta. He is one of the stars of the American racing scene and celebrated victory at Daytona together with BMW M Team RLL in 2019 – with the BMW M8 GTE in the GTLM class. The remaining endurance drivers will be announced at a later date.
“Since the GTP project was announced, it has been a dream of mine to be part of the programme. I know we are all eager to deliver championship results for BMW M Motorsport at the top level of IMSA competition,” said De Phillippi. “It is an honour for me to have been given this unique opportunity.” Eng said: “I am really looking forward to the challenge and am grateful to BMW M Motorsport for the trust they have put in me. I will never forget my first laps in the BMW M Hybrid V8. It is a thoroughbred race car with a huge amount of performance and power. It reminds me of the Class 1 cars in the DTM. It will be great fun to drive it at the IMSA racetracks.” Yelloly: “After my first outings at Daytona and Sebring, it is fantastic to now contest the full season in North America – and in this awesome car. For me, it is a return to my roots with high-downforce race cars. I am really looking forward to it.” Farfus said: “To represent BMW M Motorsport again at the top level, and to be involved in the start of this new era of motorsport, is a unique opportunity and a great honour for me. This exciting project is one of the highlights of my career. The opposition is very strong and we will learn a lot in our first year. However, I think we have everything in place to achieve good results from the start. We are definitely working hard to make that possible.”
Data on the BMW M Hybrid V8 chassis.
What BMW has a V8 engine? A useful guide
BMW is synonymous with exquisite power, so 8-cylinder units are nonetheless part of the brand culture, with the Bavarians having a long tradition of developing trailblazing V8 engines. Today, we’re taking a look at the current V8 engines in the BMW portfolio.
The Engine Codename Guide
Basically, at the moment, BMW relies on a single, core V8 family: the N63 which was launched back in 2008 and was subjected to several technical updates over the course of years. Of course, the BMW M GmbH division makes use of specially-modified engines, derived from the N63: the S63 units. Last, but not least, BMW also developed a racing version of the N63, that’s currently in use in the current M8 GTE endurance contender: the P63.
ALPINA also uses the N63 V8 engines, but adds a touch of personality with specifically tweaks carried out by the engineers from Buchloe. The current powerplant variant relies on the latest N63B44T3 iteration, with no specific “Mx” code to signal the new ALPINA V8 unit (compared to the previous M1, M1/1, M2, M2/1, M2/2 and M5 versions).
As you might have already noticed, the designations are quite simple: N63 – S63 – P63. All three engine share the same roots (“63”), with the prefix letter signaling the differences:
- “N” stands for “New Generation” (“Neue” in German, 2006 to 2016)
- “S” likely stands for “Sport” and is used solely on BMW M models
- “P” could actually mean “Performance” and is exclusively reserved for the BMW Motorsport division
- the “B” denotes the fuel type (“Benzine” in German, which means gasoline)
- the “44” number signals the engine displacement of 4.4 liters
- the “T” denotes the technical updates, followed by a subsequent incremental digit (“0”, “1”,”2″,”3″ etc.)
The “6” in the root particle denotes the 8-cylinder architecture (vs.”7″ standing for 12-cylinder, for example), whereas the “3” is technical design code highlighting the presence of turbocharging and direct injection. However, the rule is not obeyed in the case of the one-and-only S85 V10 unit, where “8” illogically signals a 10-cylinder architecture.
In terms of generations, the core N63 engine family premiered is a direct successor to the preceding N62 V8s. As a matter of fact, the N63 is a forerunner in many aspects: the first V8 engine in the industry to use a hot-vee layout and the first BMW V8 unit to use turbocharging and direct injection.
Key technical details of the N63 V8 engine family
From the very beginning, the new N63 BMW V8 engines were presented as revolutionary powerplant concepts, owing to the fact they were the first V8 units in the automotive world to feature a hot-vee layout.
The hot-vee configuration (sometimes called “hot inner V”) is related to the outstanding thermal energy developed by the engine (“hot”) and the ingenious placement of the turbochargers and exhaust manifolds in the V angle between the cylinder banks.
This type of layout pioneered by BMW has the net advantages of reducing the width of the engine, compared to the traditional configuration with the intake manifold inside the “V” and the exhaust manifold outside the angle.
Furthermore, with the exhaust manifold and turbocharging unit placed between the cylinders, the advantage is that the distance between the exhaust valves and the turbochargers reduces significantly. The shorter the length, the more effective and faster the turbocharger goes into action.
Most importantly, the hot-vee layout helps to substantially reduce the turbo lag and acceleration response. For acoustic reasons, the turbochargers of the N63 engine generation use diverter valves instead of blow-off valves.
Nonetheless, the throttle response is also further improved in the N63 thanks to the installation of air-to-water intercoolers. The principle is simple and is based on the following repetitive cycle: the heat from the engine (in the form of gas or “air”) is exchanged and transferred in the “water” circuit, with new, cooler air being fed into the engine in the end.
Of course, the N63 engines came equipped with the Double VANOS variable valve timing system from the beginning, but early variants did not feature the state-of-the-art VALVETRONIC variable valve lift system.
The cylinder block and head are manufactured of aluminum-silicon alloy or Alusil, as it is called. There are 4 valves per each cylinder, so 32 in total, with a dual overhead camshaft configuration or DOHC.
The 4,395 cc (4.4 liters) was the standard displacement of the N63 engines, but in China a modified version dubbed N63B40A was sold from 2012 to 2017. The displacement was reduced to 3,982 cc (4.0 liters) due to the shorter stroke length of the engine (80 mm instead of the standard 89 mm).
The first version, the N63B44O0, developed 300 kW / 408 PS (402 hp) and 600 Nm (443 lb-ft and was sold between 2008 and 2013.
Technical updates of the N63 engine family
The N63 engines have been on the market since 2008, so across time they received some important upgrades to make them more powerful and efficient. The first update came in 2012. The new N63B44O1 generation benefitted from the installation of:
- revised turbochargers,
- lighter pistons,
- forged connecting rods and crankshaft
- a revised fuel system
- an additional coolant pump
- new valve stem seals
- a new valve cover labyrinth oil catch/return system
The peak output increased to 331 kW / 450 PS (444 hp), with the maximum torque now achieving 650 Nm (479 lb-ft). The N63B44O1 equipped models produced between 2013 and 2016.
The second technical update of the N63 engine, known as the N63B44O2, came in 2016. Upgrades included the following:
- twin-scroll turbochargers
- the oil/coolant heat exchanger moved inside the “V”
- a revised, wider powerband
Output and torque figures remained the same as in the case of the O1 update from 2012.
The most recent TU (technical update) of the N63 came in 2018. Not one, but two different versions were released: the N63B44M3 and the newer N63B44T3. The M3 version came with 340 kW / 462 PS (456 hp), a new ignition system and an improved thermal insulation for the crankcase and cylinder head.
In addition, the more powerful N63B44T3 boasts 390 kW / 530 PS (523 hp), higher pressure injectors (5,000 psi), larger twin-scroll turbochargers, a redesigned intake manifold and an upstream cooling radiator. In Europe, the T3 version is compliant with the stricter emission regulations and thus replaced the M3 variant of the N63 engine.
The N63B44M3 was briefly used between 2018 and 2019 in the following models:
- the pre-LCI G30 M550i xDrive Sedan
- the US-only G05 X5 xDrive50i
- the US-only G07 X7 xDrive50i
Currently, the standard V8 engine used across the high-end BMW family of models is the recent N63B44T3, which powers the following models:
- G14/G15/G16 M850i models (Convertible/Coupe/Gran Coupe)
- G05 X5 M50i
- G06 X6 M50i
- G07 X7 M50i
- G11/G12 LCI 750i/750Li models
- G30 LCI M550i xDrive Sedan
The S63 V8 units: N63 spiced up by BMW
The V8 powerplant underpinning the range-topping BMW M models have been specifically enhanced starting from the standard N63 engines. The latest iteration, the S63B44T4 with 441 kW / 600 PS (592 hp) that was premiered in 2017 in the pre-LCI F90 M5 model, comes with significant upgrades over the non-M N63 powerplant.
The most important modifications include:
- two twin-scroll turbochargers
- a different, high-performance piston design
- enhanced cooling
- pulse tuned, cross-engine exhaust manifold
- a half-shell intake manifold, similar to the one used on the N63B44O2 generation
With the addition of the Competition models, the S63B44T5 was also released beginning with 2018, which adds extra power to achieve a peak output of 460 kW / 625 PS (617 hp). Both the T4 and T5 versions of the S63 engine boast a maximum torque of 750 Nm (553 lb-ft).
So, compared to the standard V8 which is offered in a single power stage, the S63 8-cylinder unit is jointly offered in the two output versions as revealed, underpinning the following BMW M high-performance models:
- F90 M5 and M5 Competition
- F91/F92/F93 M8 and M8 Competition models (Convertible/Coupe/Gran Coupe)
- F95 X5 M and X5 M Competition
- F96 X6 M and X6 M Competition
As an interesting fact, the defunct German custom vehicle manufacturer Wiesmann used BMW V8 engines. From 2011 to 2014, the Wiesmann GT MF4 convertible was powered by the 300 kW N63B44O0 engine, while the GT MF5 coupe model used the 408 kW S63B44O0 unit.
As a conclusion, in addition to this useful BMW V8 guide, you can also consult our article on the BMW engine codes naming convention.