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      01-18-2011, 01:04 AM   #1
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Has government regulation "forced" BMW M to abandon normal aspiration?

Following a discussion in the thread "New Speculations on the F30 M3 / F32 M3" (link here), I wanted determine if the reason most often cited for BMW M scrapping normal aspiration in favor of turbo charging, i.e. government efficiency and/or emissions regulations are in fact forcing BMW Ms decisions, or if it is simply normal corporate cost cutting and drive to maximize profits. I'm fairly sure it is much more of the latter. This is very relevant in my own personal evaluation of BMW M. Are they "selling out" or not? Are they a poor victim of governments and environmentalists or are they compromising some of the tenets of BMW M?

EU regulations are today, surprisingly enough, VOLUNTARY. Of course there is an effort to make them tied to penalties (or incentives) and actually enforced, but for now they are not.

In the US the CAFE standards tax or penalize manufacturers based on the difference between their fleet average mpg and the standard (now at 27.5 mpg). In this way small efficient cars in can cancel the effects of larger more inefficient models. The penalty is $55 per vehicle for each 1 mpg that the fleet average is below the standard. This is per vehicle, regardless of whether that particular model met the CAFE requirement. Interestingly, CAFE fines have not come anywhere close to even keeping up with inflation making it increasingly less and less of a fine/penalty/incentive.

Now to calculate a penalty due to the M3 remaining NA requires quite a few assumptions but the ones I've made seem reasonable and even if not all highly accurate this is really just a rough estimate. First lets assume direct injection could have improved the mpg of a hypothetical new M3 by about 2 mpg (note the 458 Italia's improvement was a whopping 4 mpg over the F430's 13 mpg combined!). If the new FI M3 was released under current CAFE standards and if had the same mpg as the existing 335i, the difference in the fleet average mpg between these two scenarios would be only about 0.05 mpg. This number is quite small simply because of the relatively small number of M3's sold compared to all other BMW models. For this calculation I've also assumed that 1/2 of the total BMW production is for NA. I know the mix of BMWs sold in NA is different than in the EU and that we favor their larger cars and SUVs, but again from a "1st order" type of calculation 50% of their total volume should be a reasonable number. From a penalty perspective, assuming their entire CAFE did not meet the requirement, this amounts to only about 3 million dollars (or about $500 if allotted to just the US M3's). Such a cost can be easily rolled right into a vehicles price when the base price is over $50k.

As a side note the largest (annual) CAFE fines ever have been to Mercedes at ~$30 million dollars. That being said they also claimed they would be in full compliance with CAFE by this year. It is also worth noting that CAFE requirements are increasing at roughly 1.5 mpg per year. However, fleet averages are also increasing, meaning any potential loss for an M car could be offset by gains elsewhere.

The savings from having a common core engine in a whole slew of different models, 1ers, 3ers, M's and non M's along with a big reduction in M engine development costs will certainly be substantially more than a savings of 3 million dollars per year. If only software, turbos, intake, exhaust and cooling will distinguish M engines from non M engines that will be a huge cost savings. BMW typically spends about 5% of its revenue on R&D. Assuming R&D is apportioned by sales for each model that means there is probably about 40 million dollars in M3 R&D per year. A significant portion of that will be engine/drivetrain.

So by going FI for M cars BMW will be saving on:

-Engine R&D
-Production costs (higher volumes of fewer and more common parts)
-Reduced or eliminated CAFE fines

Indeed pretty much a "no brainer" from a senior management/accounting/shareholder perspective. I think that even in an environment without risks of CAFE fines, BMW would still be adopting this engine strategy. However, it is almost for sure a choice and one that is indeed very much at odds with BMW M's mantra's of immediate throttle response combined with a high revving "motorsport" experience.

Lastly there is the simple observation that manufacturers such as Porsche and Ferrari are continuing with NA engines is all some or all of their vehicles.

Thus it is my firm conclusion that this switch from NA to FI is a decision based on increasing profit rather than a decision forced on BMW. That being said I'm also confident that BMW M will produce a great and exciting FI M specific motor. Unfortunately many BMW M enthusiasts are and will continue to mourn this significant change.
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      01-18-2011, 01:37 AM   #2
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I can't wait for a turbo M3. NA engines are mostly boring. Most of the bias I hear/read seems to me like snobbery. Forced induction is cool, mmmmkay? Turbo engines may have turbo lag sometimes, but NA engines have turbo lag all the time. Think about it this way - you have to rev the M3 to ~8200 to get 400HP out of it, a similar engine with a turbo would be getting 400HP from 5000 -> 8200 RPM. Huge torque and flat power delivery, yup why want that?.... sheesh. The engine will still have throttle response, don't worry. Technology has come a long long way. Compression ratio's are high thanks to DI, turbo's spool very very quickly thanks to twinscroll, titanium shafts, and a whole bunch of other details.
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      01-18-2011, 04:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dexx View Post
I can't wait for a turbo M3. NA engines are mostly boring. Most of the bias I hear/read seems to me like snobbery. Forced induction is cool, mmmmkay? Turbo engines may have turbo lag sometimes, but NA engines have turbo lag all the time. Think about it this way - you have to rev the M3 to ~8200 to get 400HP out of it, a similar engine with a turbo would be getting 400HP from 5000 -> 8200 RPM. Huge torque and flat power delivery, yup why want that?.... sheesh. The engine will still have throttle response, don't worry. Technology has come a long long way. Compression ratio's are high thanks to DI, turbo's spool very very quickly thanks to twinscroll, titanium shafts, and a whole bunch of other details.
It seems abundantly clear you missed the entire point of my post. That being said I guess I'll waste some time...

If you think NA is mostly boring that's fine but this comparison is about high performance NA vs. high performance FI. I don't know a single soul who thinks the S65 is a boring engine, that is sheer absurdity.

You clearly do not understand torque and hp curves. hp in a high performance turbo engine absolutely will not get 400 hp from 5000-8200. 1st of all BWM won't deliver a 8200 rpm redline FI engine. It is much more likely to be in the 7200-7300 range due to piston speed limitations. Next no one wants flat power delivery, what is desirable it a wide and flat torque curve and thus linear power. This is exactly what the existing S65 does amazingly well, perhaps better than almost all non-exotics (even better than some exotics). No matter what high tech you put into a turbo (unless they use some form of KERS) WILL have lag and it will be inferior in this regard to the existing engine. You can't beat physics, impellers have mass and therefore have rotational inertia. They take time to spin up and develop pressure.

You also seem to have missed my comment that I'm convinced the BWM M wil deliver a very competent and potent FI M3 engine. Again it is just that it will be straying from existing M tenets. The question was have BMW been "forced" to do so as most claim.

Back on topic?
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      01-18-2011, 08:46 AM   #4
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Smart thread, interesting.
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      01-18-2011, 09:05 AM   #5
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While i dont like the concept of FI motors in M cars... It is the right move... BMW is trying to stay on top of the market and with the M cars they have to keep up with the other brands... Take for example the GTR... That car has plenty of power and there really is no M car that can compete with it right now... That is my assumption as to why BMW is moving from NA to FI... Along with the fact of government regulations...
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      01-18-2011, 09:35 AM   #6
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Swamp:

There are fuel efficiency laws, yes. But, lets not forget that their is also emissions regulations at play here as well.

I know that you understand the difference, but for the benefit of someone reading who may not, consider a diesel engine which will typically offer great efficiency but often struggle to meet emissions requirements (at least in the US).

Now granted, when you consider just gasoline internal combustion engines (i.e. ignore diesel for a moment), efficiency and emissions tend to be roughly proportionate. However, I believe the regulations differ from CAFE where there is simply a fleet average. Also, technologies like direction injection may increase efficiency but not necessarily decrease emissions in a proportionate way. So there are a lot of variables to weigh here.
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      01-18-2011, 10:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Thus it is my firm conclusion that this switch from NA to FI is a decision based on increasing profit rather than a decision forced on BMW.
I 100% agree. They could've make a DI, 8500-9000rpm 4.4liter engine that can push 500hp while getting (maybe) the same mpg as S65. That probably would be enough to keep up with competition. But it'd cost more money than using FI now...
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      01-18-2011, 10:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Following a discussion in the thread "New Speculations on the F30 M3 / F32 M3" (link here), I wanted determine if the reason most often cited for BMW M scrapping normal aspiration in favor of turbo charging, i.e. government efficiency and/or emissions regulations are in fact forcing BMW Ms decisions, or if it is simply normal corporate cost cutting and drive to maximize profits. I'm fairly sure it is much more of the latter. This is very relevant in my own personal evaluation of BMW M. Are they "selling out" or not? Are they a poor victim of governments and environmentalists or are they compromising some of the tenets of BMW M?

EU regulations are today, surprisingly enough, VOLUNTARY. Of course there is an effort to make them tied to penalties (or incentives) and actually enforced, but for now they are not.

In the US the CAFE standards tax or penalize manufacturers based on the difference between their fleet average mpg and the standard (now at 27.5 mpg). In this way small efficient cars in can cancel the effects of larger more inefficient models. The penalty is $55 per vehicle for each 1 mpg that the fleet average is below the standard. This is per vehicle, regardless of whether that particular model met the CAFE requirement. Interestingly, CAFE fines have not come anywhere close to even keeping up with inflation making it increasingly less and less of a fine/penalty/incentive.

Now to calculate a penalty due to the M3 remaining NA requires quite a few assumptions but the ones I've made seem reasonable and even if not all highly accurate this is really just a rough estimate. First lets assume direct injection could have improved the mpg of a hypothetical new M3 by about 2 mpg (note the 458 Italia's improvement was a whopping 4 mpg over the F430's 13 mpg combined!). If the new FI M3 was released under current CAFE standards and if had the same mpg as the existing 335i, the difference in the fleet average mpg between these two scenarios would be only about 0.05 mpg. This number is quite small simply because of the relatively small number of M3's sold compared to all other BMW models. For this calculation I've also assumed that 1/2 of the total BMW production is for NA. I know the mix of BMWs sold in NA is different than in the EU and that we favor their larger cars and SUVs, but again from a "1st order" type of calculation 50% of their total volume should be a reasonable number. From a penalty perspective, assuming their entire CAFE did not meet the requirement, this amounts to only about 3 million dollars (or about $500 if allotted to just the US M3's). Such a cost can be easily rolled right into a vehicles price when the base price is over $50k.

As a side note the largest (annual) CAFE fines ever have been to Mercedes at ~$30 million dollars. That being said they also claimed they would be in full compliance with CAFE by this year. It is also worth noting that CAFE requirements are increasing at roughly 1.5 mpg per year. However, fleet averages are also increasing, meaning any potential loss for an M car could be offset by gains elsewhere.

The savings from having a common core engine in a whole slew of different models, 1ers, 3ers, M's and non M's along with a big reduction in M engine development costs will certainly be substantially more than a savings of 3 million dollars per year. If only software, turbos, intake, exhaust and cooling will distinguish M engines from non M engines that will be a huge cost savings. BMW typically spends about 5% of its revenue on R&D. Assuming R&D is apportioned by sales for each model that means there is probably about 40 million dollars in M3 R&D per year. A significant portion of that will be engine/drivetrain.

So by going FI for M cars BMW will be saving on:

-Engine R&D
-Production costs (higher volumes of fewer and more common parts)
-Reduced or eliminated CAFE fines

Indeed pretty much a "no brainer" from a senior management/accounting/shareholder perspective. I think that even in an environment without risks of CAFE fines, BMW would still be adopting this engine strategy. However, it is almost for sure a choice and one that is indeed very much at odds with BMW M's mantra's of immediate throttle response combined with a high revving "motorsport" experience.

Lastly there is the simple observation that manufacturers such as Porsche and Ferrari are continuing with NA engines is all some or all of their vehicles.

Thus it is my firm conclusion that this switch from NA to FI is a decision based on increasing profit rather than a decision forced on BMW. That being said I'm also confident that BMW M will produce a great and exciting FI M specific motor. Unfortunately many BMW M enthusiasts are and will continue to mourn this significant change.
SWAMP, for once, you and I agree. I think your conclusion is dead on, except that many of us will do more than just mourn, we will be forced to look elsewhere.

The things that have made BMW special for so long have all been killed by the "young" punk executives who want money, money, money, and are willing to sacrifice the long term health of the company for the short term. Hence why my company will ALWAYS remain private and controlled by me.....so its origins are never lost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dexx View Post
I can't wait for a turbo M3. NA engines are mostly boring. Most of the bias I hear/read seems to me like snobbery. Forced induction is cool, mmmmkay? Turbo engines may have turbo lag sometimes, but NA engines have turbo lag all the time. Think about it this way - you have to rev the M3 to ~8200 to get 400HP out of it, a similar engine with a turbo would be getting 400HP from 5000 -> 8200 RPM. Huge torque and flat power delivery, yup why want that?.... sheesh. The engine will still have throttle response, don't worry. Technology has come a long long way. Compression ratio's are high thanks to DI, turbo's spool very very quickly thanks to twinscroll, titanium shafts, and a whole bunch of other details.
Good news is, there is no mistaking the fact that you don't seem to know much about cars or spend much time on a track. Similar to another demographic......you a soccer mom?

Cheers,
e46e92
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      01-18-2011, 10:57 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by SehrSchnell View Post
Fail.
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      01-18-2011, 11:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
It seems abundantly clear you missed the entire point of my post. That being said I guess I'll waste some time...

If you think NA is mostly boring that's fine but this comparison is about high performance NA vs. high performance FI. I don't know a single soul who thinks the S65 is a boring engine, that is sheer absurdity.

You clearly do not understand torque and hp curves. hp in a high performance turbo engine absolutely will not get 400 hp from 5000-8200. 1st of all BWM won't deliver a 8200 rpm redline FI engine. It is much more likely to be in the 7200-7300 range due to piston speed limitations. Next no one wants flat power delivery, what is desirable it a wide and flat torque curve and thus linear power. This is exactly what the existing S65 does amazingly well, perhaps better than almost all non-exotics (even better than some exotics). No matter what high tech you put into a turbo (unless they use some form of KERS) WILL have lag and it will be inferior in this regard to the existing engine. You can't beat physics, impellers have mass and therefore have rotational inertia. They take time to spin up and develop pressure.

You also seem to have missed my comment that I'm convinced the BWM M wil deliver a very competent and potent FI M3 engine. Again it is just that it will be straying from existing M tenets. The question was have BMW been "forced" to do so as most claim.

Back on topic?
No, it's clear you missed the point entirely. The current engine has throttle response with instantaneous torque - but not much of it. It has power lag, you have to rev it out to get all the potential power to the ground, this takes time.

An FI motor will have less power lag, besides assuming it comes out at 450, a simple ECU tune or ECU tune + exhaust will have it up to 550. The car will be a beast.. Stop your whining about the "gubment" messing with your cars. FI is much hard to do right than a high-revving V8, I'm happy they are moving forward. I am anti-luddite.


PS driving on the track (or anywhere really) is about being smooth. There's nothing about going from -50 ft-lbs to 295 ft-lbs instantaneously that is smooth. When you guys say crap like that, this is what I hear:


Sorry BMW is going to ruin all your super-fast track days..
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      01-18-2011, 11:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dexx View Post
I can't wait for a turbo M3. NA engines are mostly boring. Most of the bias I hear/read seems to me like snobbery. Forced induction is cool, mmmmkay? Turbo engines may have turbo lag sometimes, but NA engines have turbo lag all the time. Think about it this way - you have to rev the M3 to ~8200 to get 400HP out of it, a similar engine with a turbo would be getting 400HP from 5000 -> 8200 RPM. Huge torque and flat power delivery, yup why want that?.... sheesh. The engine will still have throttle response, don't worry. Technology has come a long long way. Compression ratio's are high thanks to DI, turbo's spool very very quickly thanks to twinscroll, titanium shafts, and a whole bunch of other details.
-10
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      01-18-2011, 11:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e46e92love View Post
Good news is, there is no mistaking the fact that you don't seem to know much about cars or spend much time on a track. Similar to another demographic......you a soccer mom?
Clearly.. hahaha.. this board is full of lulz.. I bet you only drive FLATOUT on the track.. hahahaha.
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      01-18-2011, 11:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
When you guys say crap like that, this is what I hear:


Sorry BMW is going to ruin all your super-fast track days..
That video is mildly amusing. I thought it would be more entertaining if we were to come up with other things the Porsche driver might say if he were participating in this discussion. Here's one:

Instructor: It seems abundantly clear you missed the entire point of my post.

Porsche Driver: No, it's clear you missed the point entirely. The current engine has throttle response with instantaneous torque - but not much of it. It has power lag, you have to rev it out to get all the potential power to the ground, this takes time.
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      01-18-2011, 11:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dexx View Post
No, it's clear you missed the point entirely. The current engine has throttle response with instantaneous torque - but not much of it. It has power lag, you have to rev it out to get all the potential power to the ground, this takes time.
If you're worried about power (spirited driving, race track etc), then you should be already above 4-5krpm. From that point, trust me there's no "power lag".
Quote:
Originally Posted by dexx View Post
An FI motor will have less power lag, besides assuming it comes out at 450, a simple ECU tune or ECU tune + exhaust will have it up to 550. The car will be a beast.. Stop your whining about the "gubment" messing with your cars. FI is much hard to do right than a high-revving V8, I'm happy they are moving forward. I am anti-luddite.
Sure, you can get 550bhp.... till what 4500rpm? Then you'll have all the torque and hence power roll off. What a race engine.[/quote]

Quote:
Originally Posted by dexx View Post
PS driving on the track (or anywhere really) is about being smooth. There's nothing about going from -50 ft-lbs to 295 ft-lbs instantaneously that is smooth. When you guys say crap like that, this is what I hear:


Sorry BMW is going to ruin all your super-fast track days..
Which engine is that going from 50ft-lb to 295ft-lb? S65? That only happenes from what 1krpm to 2krpm? What the hell are you doing at 1-2krpm on the race track? In fact, what the hell are you doing at 1k-2rpm on the street?

Epic fail.
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      01-18-2011, 12:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erhanh View Post
If you're worried about power (spirited driving, race track etc), then you should be already above 4-5krpm. From that point, trust me there's no "power lag".
Sure, you can get 550bhp.... till what 4500rpm? Then you'll have all the torque and hence power roll off. What a race engine.
LOL seriously? Have you ever seen an S65 dyno sheet? There is no power shelf, just flat torque. You have to be over 8000RPM if you want all your 414 horses. Not 6000, not 7000.

It's OK most people don't understand the relationship between the torque curve and power output anyway.


Quote:
Which engine is that going from 50ft-lb to 295ft-lb? S65? That only happenes from what 1krpm to 2krpm? What the hell are you doing at 1-2krpm on the race track? In fact, what the hell are you doing at 1k-2rpm on the street?

Epic fail.
I guess that's because you always drive FLATOUT
You never come off the throttle? What do you think is happening when you're off the throttle???? I guesstimated -50 ft-lbs, but it's probably closer to -100 ft-lbs as the revs go up. It's called engine braking.


The bottom line is, BMW is doing it. You can whine with a bunch of ridiculous arguments or you can STFU... This is clearly not going to be a technical discussion based on the merits of modern FI.
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      01-18-2011, 12:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dexx View Post
LOL seriously? Have you ever seen an S65 dyno sheet? There is no power shelf, just flat torque. You have to be over 8000RPM if you want all your 414 horses. Not 6000, not 7000.

It's OK most people don't understand the relationship between the torque curve and power output anyway.
Have you seen a N54 dyno sheet? do you think it has all your 550bhp all the way across the rpm range? I take increasing power with the increasing revs (which a natural and more expected response) over reducing power with increasing revs in an FI engine..


Quote:
Originally Posted by dexx View Post
I guess that's because you always drive FLATOUT
You never come off the throttle? What do you think is happening when you're off the throttle???? I guesstimated -50 ft-lbs, but it's probably closer to -100 ft-lbs as the revs go up. It's called engine braking.
My bad, I didn't notice the "-" as negative.
On the other hand, do you go flatout on a turbo engine? Or does it give mighty torque even with no gas?
Btw, the throttle pedal is NOT a switch. You won't have -50ft-lb or 295ft-lb. You can have values in between. Depending on the pressure you apply to it, you can vary the amount of fuel going into the engine... I hope this is clear enough...
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      01-18-2011, 12:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erhanh View Post
Have you seen a N54 dyno sheet? do you think it has all your 550bhp all the way across the rpm range? I take increasing power with the increasing revs (which a natural and more expected response) over reducing power with increasing revs in an FI engine..
Have you seen a dyno of the new FI M engine? Well no, duh. It will certainly be more aggressive than an N54, and that torque band is kept in check entirely by software. A natural turbocharged torque curve looks like an almost-right triangle. A tuned engine will look like this regardless of what the M factory tuning does.

Power will not decrease with revs, it will stay flat while torque decreases. The difference between power and torque output is key.
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      01-18-2011, 12:24 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
There are fuel efficiency laws, yes. But, lets not forget that their is also emissions regulations at play here as well.
Perhaps I missed them, I could not find enforced/binding emissions regulations with any sort of financial penalty. The point of the thread was to understand this entire landscape better. I did see BMW stating publicly goals for % reductions in carbon emissions (g/km). Add some research! Cheers.
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      01-18-2011, 12:26 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by dexx View Post
Have you seen a dyno of the new FI M engine? Well no, duh. It will certainly be more aggressive than an N54, and that torque band is kept in check entirely by software. A natural turbocharged torque curve looks like an almost-right triangle. A tuned engine will look like this regardless of what the M factory tuning does.

Power will not decrease with revs, it will stay flat while torque decreases. The difference between power and torque output is key.
Well, you have a point, no one has seen it yet. So we need to wait and see. That being said, I'm very suspicious that it will revv past 7krpm, or it will have flat power after 5.5krpm. It will be better (probably much better) than N54.

Truth to be told, I don't give a s**t. I can care less about FI.
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      01-18-2011, 12:32 PM   #20
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No, it's clear you missed the point entirely. The current engine has throttle response with instantaneous torque - but not much of it. It has power lag, you have to rev it out to get all the potential power to the ground, this takes time.

An FI motor will have less power lag, besides assuming it comes out at 450, a simple ECU tune or ECU tune + exhaust will have it up to 550. The car will be a beast.. Stop your whining about the "gubment" messing with your cars. FI is much hard to do right than a high-revving V8, I'm happy they are moving forward. I am anti-luddite.


PS driving on the track (or anywhere really) is about being smooth. There's nothing about going from -50 ft-lbs to 295 ft-lbs instantaneously that is smooth. When you guys say crap like that, this is what I hear:


Sorry BMW is going to ruin all your super-fast track days..
No, its really quite clear you have missed the point. Please refer back to the bold sentence in my original reply to you. Ugh...

The thing you are failing to understand here is torque at the crank vs. torque at the wheels. Torque at the wheels is key but also a somewhat complicated or long winded way to say hp. Lower crank torque along with high redline and large gear multiplication all go together (or cause directly) high hp. High hp is THE key factor in performance, not torque, period.

There is no debate here about the tunability of FI motors. Although nasty future encryption techniques might be amusing to the tuner crowd... However, this is the classic stock vs. modded debate. Apples vs. oranges. Also don't forget folks are getting close to 500 hp from the current S65 with bolt ons and software. Not FI type gains but respectable for sure.

I am clearly not whining about the government. That shows how vastly you missed my point. I DON'T think the government is really causing this particular change at BMW M. I think the government could be much more aggressive and serious about encouraging improved efficiency and lower emissions.

Calling those who enjoy the characteristics of a high performance NA motor over a similar modern high performance FI motor a luddite is sheer absurdity.

I'll be the first to admit that most M3s never even see the track. Even mine sees it way too infrequently. That being said what most enjoy about their cars is the combination of the performance AND the experience. FI will have some sacrifices of both.

This is NOT a debate about FI vs. NA. Please contribute to the actual topic or stop posting.
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      01-18-2011, 12:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Perhaps I missed them, I could not find enforced/binding emissions regulations with any sort of financial penalty. The point of the thread was to understand this entire landscape better. I did see BMW stating publicly goals for % reductions in carbon emissions (g/km). Add some research! Cheers.
Swamp, I honestly don't have the first clue about the laws or their details, and unfortunately I don't have the stomach to sift through legalese either. My point is simply that there are other factors involved besides fuel economy.

Anecdotally, I strongly doubt that so much money would be spent on emissions equipment for modern engines if there was no financial incentive to do so. In other words if manufacturers did not have to comply for any reason other than to uphold some sort of honor system, then they simply wouldn't.
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      01-18-2011, 12:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Following a discussion in the thread "New Speculations on the F30 M3 / F32 M3" (link here), I wanted determine if the reason most often cited for BMW M scrapping normal aspiration in favor of turbo charging, i.e. government efficiency and/or emissions regulations are in fact forcing BMW Ms decisions, or if it is simply normal corporate cost cutting and drive to maximize profits. I'm fairly sure it is much more of the latter. This is very relevant in my own personal evaluation of BMW M. Are they "selling out" or not? Are they a poor victim of governments and environmentalists or are they compromising some of the tenets of BMW M?

EU regulations are today, surprisingly enough, VOLUNTARY. Of course there is an effort to make them tied to penalties (or incentives) and actually enforced, but for now they are not.

In the US the CAFE standards tax or penalize manufacturers based on the difference between their fleet average mpg and the standard (now at 27.5 mpg). In this way small efficient cars in can cancel the effects of larger more inefficient models. The penalty is $55 per vehicle for each 1 mpg that the fleet average is below the standard. This is per vehicle, regardless of whether that particular model met the CAFE requirement. Interestingly, CAFE fines have not come anywhere close to even keeping up with inflation making it increasingly less and less of a fine/penalty/incentive.

Now to calculate a penalty due to the M3 remaining NA requires quite a few assumptions but the ones I've made seem reasonable and even if not all highly accurate this is really just a rough estimate. First lets assume direct injection could have improved the mpg of a hypothetical new M3 by about 2 mpg (note the 458 Italia's improvement was a whopping 4 mpg over the F430's 13 mpg combined!). If the new FI M3 was released under current CAFE standards and if had the same mpg as the existing 335i, the difference in the fleet average mpg between these two scenarios would be only about 0.05 mpg. This number is quite small simply because of the relatively small number of M3's sold compared to all other BMW models. For this calculation I've also assumed that 1/2 of the total BMW production is for NA. I know the mix of BMWs sold in NA is different than in the EU and that we favor their larger cars and SUVs, but again from a "1st order" type of calculation 50% of their total volume should be a reasonable number. From a penalty perspective, assuming their entire CAFE did not meet the requirement, this amounts to only about 3 million dollars (or about $500 if allotted to just the US M3's). Such a cost can be easily rolled right into a vehicles price when the base price is over $50k.

As a side note the largest (annual) CAFE fines ever have been to Mercedes at ~$30 million dollars. That being said they also claimed they would be in full compliance with CAFE by this year. It is also worth noting that CAFE requirements are increasing at roughly 1.5 mpg per year. However, fleet averages are also increasing, meaning any potential loss for an M car could be offset by gains elsewhere.

The savings from having a common core engine in a whole slew of different models, 1ers, 3ers, M's and non M's along with a big reduction in M engine development costs will certainly be substantially more than a savings of 3 million dollars per year. If only software, turbos, intake, exhaust and cooling will distinguish M engines from non M engines that will be a huge cost savings. BMW typically spends about 5% of its revenue on R&D. Assuming R&D is apportioned by sales for each model that means there is probably about 40 million dollars in M3 R&D per year. A significant portion of that will be engine/drivetrain.

So by going FI for M cars BMW will be saving on:

-Engine R&D
-Production costs (higher volumes of fewer and more common parts)
-Reduced or eliminated CAFE fines

Indeed pretty much a "no brainer" from a senior management/accounting/shareholder perspective. I think that even in an environment without risks of CAFE fines, BMW would still be adopting this engine strategy. However, it is almost for sure a choice and one that is indeed very much at odds with BMW M's mantra's of immediate throttle response combined with a high revving "motorsport" experience.

Lastly there is the simple observation that manufacturers such as Porsche and Ferrari are continuing with NA engines is all some or all of their vehicles.

Thus it is my firm conclusion that this switch from NA to FI is a decision based on increasing profit rather than a decision forced on BMW. That being said I'm also confident that BMW M will produce a great and exciting FI M specific motor. Unfortunately many BMW M enthusiasts are and will continue to mourn this significant change.

Excellent thread topic IMO.

I tend toward agreeing with your conclusion that profiteering is the drivng force behind the change in direction. The change serves to remind that while consumers may think of manufacturer X, Y or Z as a god, the manufacturer itself has precious little interest in being devoted to this or that when an opportunity comes along to chuck that which the "followers" of the creed hold dear. Think of all the JOY that an introduction of FI into the realm of M3 will bring to the M3 faithful about the globe.




Quote:
Originally Posted by e46e92love View Post
SWAMP, for once, you and I agree. I think your conclusion is dead on, except that many of us will do more than just mourn, we will be forced to look elsewhere.

The things that have made BMW special for so long have all been killed by the "young" punk executives who want money, money, money, and are willing to sacrifice the long term health of the company for the short term. Hence why my company will ALWAYS remain private and controlled by me.....so its origins are never lost.

Cheers,
e46e92
Hear! Hear!

Is there anyone that doubts that there are individuals engaged in unseating those "young punks" who are not up to the challenge of perpetuating the normally aspirated heritage of the M3 with all the engineering expertise at their disposal?
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