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      01-21-2011, 06:34 PM   #155
Kayani_1
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I have to disagree with you as far as fun goes. I have owned and driven multiple BMW's with NA. inline 6's and NA. V8's. But no way were they more fun to drive then my N54 twin turbo. The only 3 engines I found among all BMW's that were more entertaining to drive then my N54 were the M powered engines 5.0 liter V10, 4.0 liter V8, and 3.2 liter inline-6. Given these M powered engines are all NA. It is not just the engine that made the car more fun to drive but rather the whole package of engine/tranny/suspension. Also, I am pretty sure that the Porsche twin turbos or GT-R turbo engines would be equally fun engines to drive when compared with those M engines. Because it is not just about the engine it is about the whole package. You can mate an excellent engine with a sorry tranny and suspension combo and you can drain all the fun out of a car.

A good example of that would be the latest CTS-V coupe on recent track visit. The V8 engine is a monster but the automatic 6-speed tranny does not do justice to that engine and leaves you wanting more.

Also, one can take that same example in a different direction. My E39 525i inline-6 was smooth to rev. But compared to the E60 545i NA 4.4 liter V8 it felt lacking & anemic to deliver power/tq. This caused it not to be as much fun to drive. So any time you are down sizing the engine size of equally good reving engines you can also be making them less fun then their bigger version. Take an example of Ferrari V12 vs V8 or BMW V10 vs V8. In both cases the V12 and V10 are more fun due to their ability to deliver greater power in more smooth fashion and amazing sound. So the inline-6 in E46 might be good but the E92 V8 is better and the E60 M5 V10 is even better and more fun. However, if you mate that V10 from M5 to a tractor it will be as much fun as a donkey going up hill.

As of right now driving the NA 4.4 liter back to back almost every other day with N54 twin turbo. I can tell you that I would have a hard time picking which one is a more fun engine except for when I get to the gas pump. That is when I wish the NA. 4.4 liter did not eat so much gas and N54 twin turbo would be far more fun on my pocket book. Now if you compare the whole package of engine/tranny/suspension/steering. Then without a doubt the E92 is more fun car then the E60 any day.

Bottom line an engine is not the only thing that makes the car fun. There are a lot more other factors that can ruin the fun factor in car quickly then just the engine.

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Originally Posted by simianspeedster View Post
I know there are a lot of people who are chuffed about having a turbo 4 that they can modify in place of the N52, but I think it's a shame on many levels.

History & Heritage -- As others have mentioned, one thing that sets BMW apart from many other brands is their willingness to celebrate their own history and stick to their roots to a larger degree than other brands. Sure, BMW makes the pointless X6 (sorry, I had to go there), but a bone stock 328i with an N52 and a manual transmission still has the soul of BMW's past. It would be a shame not to offer a naturally aspirated inline 6 for those of us who really, really care about such things.

Questionable Advantages -- For all of you saying this engine will be cheaper, lighter and get better fuel economy, I have two replies:

1) Are you sure? How much cheaper, if any, will it be? How much less, if any, will it weigh with all the extra turbo plumbing? Admittedly, it may get slightly better mileage ratings, but how much, really, in real world driving?

2) More importantly, will the gains be worth what we're losing? Which leads me to:

Inline 6 Advantages -- If raw speed was all we cared about, we probably wouldn't buy BMWs because you can certainly get a faster car for less money. I've driven and/or owned a lot of turbo 4s (TT 1.8T, Passat 1.8T and 2.0T, A4 1.8T and 2.0T, A5 2.0T, MazdaSpeed 6 2.3T, WRX 2.5T off the top of my head) and none of them was as fun or pleasurable to drive than the N52 inline 6. None, in fact, were even close.

Power ratings and other specs tell you nothing about how an engine sounds, feels or drives. The N52 is smooth, efficient, sounds great and has an even powerband free of peaks and other weirdness. The upgraded Audi 2.0T in the current A4 is powerful, but the power delivery is hit and miss and it just doesn't sound or feel good to rev -- it's an appliance engine built for efficiency, not enjoyment. That may be fine for a run of the mill car, but I expect more from BMW.

Having owned a last generation Z4 with the same 255HP N52 I6 in the current base Z4, I have to say it's one of my favorite engines ever. It won't blow the doors off everything else, but that's not the point. It's just such a sweet, smooth, well-balanced engine and it sounds excellent -- you have to drive one to understand. The less powerful 230HP N52 in the current 328i lacks torque (200 lb. ft. max) for heavier applications, but the 255HP variant has just enough torque (230 lb. ft.) to make everything even across the whole rev range.

Though less powerful, I prefer the 255HP N52 to the 300HP N54 or N55 -- it's just more fun to drive even if it's not quite as fast, and this is coming from someone who has an N55 now. In case I'm not being clear -- yes, I would swap my 300HP N55 for the 255HP N52 in my current car if I could. Call me crazy, but it's that much better to me.

Please, BMW -- feel free to *offer* a turbo 4, but if you take away the NA inline 6 option, you're probably going to lose two customers in my house.
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      01-21-2011, 07:34 PM   #156
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Amazing numbers... This is going to be engine of the year
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      01-21-2011, 07:45 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by Kayani_1 View Post
Well comparing a BMW inline turbo 4 vs Audi is not exactly apples to apples either. From what I understood this inline 4 turbo engine would be based off the BMW inline 6 engines and would employ all of their latest technology and will be lighter and more compact. Now how much I am not so sure. If you have the figures please post as I would love to see the comparison.
You chop one or two cylinders off of an Inline-6 engine to make an I-5 or I-4 configuration and all of the sound and complete lack of NVH goodness instantly disappears, because I5 and I4 engines aren't naturally balanced internally. That's why they've always been such rough running engines, especially at higher power levels. Only the I-6 is completely balanced internally naturally (and H4 and H6 engines, ie subaru and porsche). So the comparison to the Audi engines and they're sound and feel is pretty valid. BMW isn't immune to the laws of physics.

Also you live in Houston (TX), so you have plenty of room to flog the more powerful cars and engines. Not everybody is that fortunate. Here in the DC suburbs it's tough enough to break 45 mph, or have any sort of fun without running into traffic. You have to find things to enjoy in cars other than power, like good handling, or the sweet sounds an engine might make. That's one of the things I could enjoy in a BMW, the sweet sounding and great feeling free-revving yet not overly powerful NA Inline-6, and now they're taking that away by replacing it with this 4-banger turbo. I suppose I could get a 535i, but they're far more muted and it falls into the 'too much power to enjoy' responsibly category for me around here.
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      01-21-2011, 08:01 PM   #158
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I agree that its a shame to depart with history but times are a changing folks... move with it or get left behind.
I want the BMW that BMW has wanted us to have and have made a name for themselves building [in the US] for the past few decades, and not the one the various politicians and governments out there are dictating/forcing them to build all to satisfy their stupid regulations and agendas. The point of these displacement taxes is to minimize fuel consumption. This 2.0L turbo will get past displacement taxes in various countries, but will be able to gulp down even more fuel than the N52B30 engine which defeats the whole point of these regulations! It's silly. Why not just drop the stupid displacement taxes and give people the same power in a better feeling and sounding engine? Or maybe it's about more stringent CAFE standards and penalties that BMW can no longer afford to ignore? Infiniti isn't going to have to compromise their engine lineup because they have Nissan. Audi isn't going to have to compromise their engine lineup either because they have VW. What does BMW have? uhh...nothing. They're independent. But why should they be penalized just because they specialize in making premium high-performance vehicles? They shouldn't. Just like another manufacturer shouldn't be penalized if they happen to specialize in making large trucks. It's all dumb.

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You can always buy a well maintained older BMW... nothing wrong with those after all. BMW lost its "true" soul a long long time ago.
If we don't pickup a closeout '11 528i that's probably what we'll end up doing.
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      01-21-2011, 08:17 PM   #159
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That's it! Bring back the M20 eta I-6's from the '80's if you want me to get good mileage.


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165 N·m (121 ft·lbf) @ 4000


Oh, wait...those engines were CRAP!
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      01-21-2011, 08:21 PM   #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayani_1 View Post
Bottom line an engine is not the only thing that makes the car fun. There are a lot more other factors that can ruin the fun factor in car quickly then just the engine.
Agreed, the engine alone does not make or break any car. But if you take two equally configured 3 Series, both with the same equipment, suspension, transmission, etc., do you believe the turbo 4 will be more fun than the NA inline 6?

Of course all of this is a matter of taste, but I've never driven a turbo 4 that I like better than a good BMW inline 6. If given the choice, I'll take the inline 6 every time and I'll probably take the NA engine every time. I just don't like the sound, the roughness or the power delivery of turbo 4s -- I think that's a lot to give up for 1-2 MPG.
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      01-21-2011, 08:33 PM   #161
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I suppose I could get a 535i, but they're far more muted and it falls into the 'too much power to enjoy' responsibly category for me around here.
Excellent point. What's the old adage? A slow car driven quickly is more fun than a fast car driven slowly (or something like that).

This is something I've learned firsthand having traded an N52-equipped car for and N55-equipped car. Clearly the N55 is more powerful across the rev range, but it also lacks character relative to its NA-based predecessors and it's so muted and calm. Part of me thinks I would have preferred a 328i in retrospect.

Simply stated, I think there's more of a visceral thrill to be found winding out an N52 to get to its moderate power peak than there is working the turbo boost on an N55. It starts to run out of breath right where things should get interesting, so it encourages short shifting. The 2.3L turbo 4 in my old MazdaSpeed 6 was like that, but much, much worse -- nothing below 1,800 RPM, then a slab of power kicked in, then the engine basically died at 5,500 RPM. The more power you squeeze out of a small discplacement engine, the more you bastardize the natural power delivery curve of the motor underneath the turbos.

I think Porsche had it right when they used staged turbos (959, perhaps others as well), one for low RPMs and one for high, but I suppose that's what the twin scroll BMW system is supposed to offer in a roundabout way.
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      01-21-2011, 08:41 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by Kayani_1 View Post
But from my point of view any time you can give more hp/tq while improving fuel efficiency as well as making an engine more compact and lighter overall....then it is a job well done.
Your opinion is, of course, just as valid as anyone's. My only concern is that thinking like this -- paying attention to the numbers more tha the quality of the experience -- will lead us to sacrifice the character of sports cars to the point where the spectrum of choice will be very narrow.

By your definition, an electric M3 that provided slightly more power, better fuel efficiency and slightly better packaging would be better than the current M3. The specs might say that's true, but I certainly wouldn't want one!
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      01-21-2011, 08:52 PM   #163
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simianspeedster
Excellent point. What's the old adage? A slow car driven quickly is more fun than a fast car driven slowly (or something like that).

This is something I've learned firsthand having traded an N52-equipped car for and N55-equipped car. Clearly the N55 is more powerful across the rev range, but it also lacks character relative to its NA-based predecessors and it's so muted and calm. Part of me thinks I would have preferred a 328i in retrospect.

Simply stated, I think there's more of a visceral thrill to be found winding out an N52 to get to its moderate power peak than there is working the turbo boost on an N55. It starts to run out of breath right where things should get interesting, so it encourages short shifting.
Yeah. When I test drove the F10 528i (N52) the engine had a sweet and non-muted note that was great. It felt 'alive' and pulled strong all the way up to 7k, and the complete lack of NVH let you know that it could do that all day and love it. Immediately after that, winding out the N55 to redline several times, I seriously had to look at the tach to know what the engine was doing. Matting it from 50-90 mph it was dead quiet, and didn't have the same pull up to redline. Faster yes, but didn't like the overall character of the N55 nearly as much as the N52.

Never heard complaints about sound lack of sound with the N54, although I've never driven one to know. I think maybe the N55 is so quiet because BMW knew they'd be putting them in cars like the 7-series and replacing V8s with them. Come to think of it, the F10 535 did sound and drive sorta like a relatives E66 740iL so maybe there's some truth to that. You get nearly silent torque/thrust, but are isolated from the sound and feel of the engine with the N55, whereas you get the more traditional sweet sounding NA I-6 music with the N52. The N55 is trying to be too quiet like a V8, whereas the N52 is still being a classic BMW straight-6.

No way I'd go with a turbo-4. Maybe the 535i, but I'd have to at least mod it with an intake or something so that I could actually hear it. I'd still have the problem of having too much power to really enjoy though, which would be frustrating where I live. There's like a dozen fixed and mobile speed and red light cameras all within a mile of where I live.

And I agree with your last post on not judging an engine by its numbers also. I've owned or driven more than enough cars by now to know that the numbers something puts out has absolutely nothing to do with how much I'm going to enjoy it. One of the fastest cars I've owned has also been the absolute worst to drive, and some of the slower cars I've owned have actually been pretty fun. One car that had an engine that looked great on paper actually sucked to drive, and some others that had lousy paper specs were actually a hoot. The numbers on this new Turbo-4 are certainly going to look great and will generate a lot of hype, but there's sure to be disappointment down the road. If it looks too good to be true....
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      01-21-2011, 09:32 PM   #164
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Agreed, the engine alone does not make or break any car.
There is an old saying, the engine defines the car. Time will tell. IMO the N55 in my 135i does not idle as smoothly as the 2.8 L I6 in my 2000 BMW 3 series did. But, the 135i goes like stink and the 2000 did not.

At the risk of repeating myself, the turbo 4 will be the power for the new 328i, BMW's most popular car in North America. They can't afford to screw it up.
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      01-21-2011, 10:10 PM   #165
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What was crap about it? Sure it's was not a race unit but it felt very capable as a street engine... it was actually very smooth.

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Originally Posted by newBMWownr View Post
That's it! Bring back the M20 eta I-6's from the '80's if you want me to get good mileage.


M20B20 2.0 L (1990 cc/121 in³)
92 kW (123 hp) @ 5800
165 N·m (121 ft·lbf) @ 4000


Oh, wait...those engines were CRAP!
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      01-22-2011, 12:11 AM   #166
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Not sure if anyone mentioned this already 80-120km at 6-7 sec is definately understated!!!(my N52 2.5L tuned does around 6.5sec already..and its nowhere as much power)
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      01-22-2011, 12:26 AM   #167
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N52 doesn't have an intercooler since it is NOT turbocharged...

The N54 is turbocharged, and has an aluminum block...
I don't think that's what he was saying.
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      01-22-2011, 12:31 AM   #168
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I think he means the weight of the intercooler, hoses etc on the 4 Cylinder turbo brings the mass equal to that of the n52 which is naturally aspirated.

On a drive-ability standpoint and efficiency standpoint, I think the new 4 turbo is better than the n52, considering their masses will probably be pretty much similar, but the n52 is an inline 6, which is sooo smooth, and so happy at high rpm.
I love my n54 though.
At the very least, every 4cyl needs a balance shaft to offset vibration, which is one of the reasons the inline6 and the flat6 are so sweet.
and don't forget the acoustic sweetness of the 6. While I am fully supportive of BMW on this new engine, I think th sound is the biggest loss with this move. With you 100% on the N54, though, which I become less and less inclined to part with, as time goes on.
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      01-22-2011, 12:39 AM   #169
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Good grief people, if they can make a turbo four with more power and cleaner emissions than the n/a six, what's not to like?
For me, it's the sound. Don't get me wrong. The engines that endeared me to BMW were all fours but I always listened lustfully at a wailing 6, and while the NA4s always sounded great high up in the rev range, the 6 always took home the trophy. So, good on BMW with the new engine but I'm going to miss the sound of the wailing NA6. Come to think of it, I have to start saving to get a an E9XM3 and E6XM5 in my stable as those engines are already dead.
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      01-22-2011, 12:50 AM   #170
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What was crap about it? Sure it's was not a race unit but it felt very capable as a street engine... it was actually very smooth.
I was a bit harsh. My point was that BMW released the eta engine purely for economy reasons. It certainly was smooth, in the sense that it represented the inherent balance characteristics of the in-line 6 well but was it ever slow. It didn't rev (IIRC it had a redline below 5K), was geared like a diesel (if I wanted a diesel, I would have bought a 524td or a Lincoln with the same engine), and didn't really represent the marque very well. It certainly left me scratching my head. I recall that engine as a dark time in BMW's history where they tried to provide fuel economy at the expense of driving enjoyment. That, to me, was a poor engineering compromise.

Today, we have a similar situation with a different outcome: again, the impetus is to improve fuel economy/reduce carbon emissions, etc. Fortunately, nearly 30 years of progress have yielded an engine that will deliver good fuel economy, excellent power and torque for it's size, meet all current and most future emissions regulations and still represent the essential characteristics of what a BMW is all about.

I'll be curious to see how they address the questions of NVH. The small displacement (relatively speaking for a modern 4 cylinder engine) should keep second-order shaking forces in check and I would be stunned if the engine didn't incorporate balance shafts. Other hopeful items would be magnetorheologic engine mounts (manufactured by Delphi and used by Porsche) that allow for changes in durometer based on engine speed. BMW also was very proud of the acoustics on the magnesium/aluminum block so perhaps some of that technology will make its way to the turbo 4. I would expect that the block in general will be very stiff and have a deep skirt design, as the N55 does, which will also control unintended NVH. Valvetronic and the lack of a throttle plate in the intake tract should allow them to tune induction noise in ways that make it sound pleasing to the ears. If not, perhaps electronic noise suppression (as Acura does) might allow for the tuning of undesirable frequencies.

My take is that it has the potential to not only be a great engine but also a great BMW engine: one that provides driving joy and Efficient Dynamics. Given the cost difference between a Hyundai and a BMW it darn well better sound and perform on a different level.
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      01-22-2011, 01:17 AM   #171
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Perfect entry level engine for your daily driver and if you are an enthusiast you can just add a $500 mod like a jb3 or cobb to be on the evo or sti area.
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      01-22-2011, 04:33 AM   #172
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Originally Posted by newBMWownr View Post
Today, we have a similar situation with a different outcome: again, the impetus is to improve fuel economy/reduce carbon emissions, etc. Fortunately, nearly 30 years of progress have yielded an engine that will deliver good fuel economy, excellent power and torque for it's size, meet all current and most future emissions regulations and still represent the essential characteristics of what a BMW is all about.
I think it's that last statement that's very much up for discussion -- we can't really know until we drive one. BMW may surprise me, but I worry that a turbo 4 won't deliver what I consider to be the essential characteristics of what a BMW is all about. It better be a whole lot better than the utilitarian engine that Audi stuffs into the A4.
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      01-22-2011, 06:12 AM   #173
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Well I was wrong about the redline and I'm glad!
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      01-22-2011, 06:55 AM   #174
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newBMWowner, that was quite a technology tour in your last post.
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      01-22-2011, 10:05 AM   #175
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Those figures a quite close to my 335D and with way better gas mileage... Dammit.
What? That's nowhere near 425lb-ft torque.

Also the MPG ratings are for the euro combined cycle, which rates the 335d at 39mpg combined, so the 335d still comes out ahead.

The US EPA ratings for the bmw 4-cylinder will probably be comparable to the Audi 2.0t.
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      01-22-2011, 11:25 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by newBMWownr View Post
I'll be curious to see how they address the questions of NVH. The small displacement (relatively speaking for a modern 4 cylinder engine) should keep second-order shaking forces in check and I would be stunned if the engine didn't incorporate balance shafts. Other hopeful items would be magnetorheologic engine mounts (manufactured by Delphi and used by Porsche) that allow for changes in durometer based on engine speed. BMW also was very proud of the acoustics on the magnesium/aluminum block so perhaps some of that technology will make its way to the turbo 4. I would expect that the block in general will be very stiff and have a deep skirt design, as the N55 does, which will also control unintended NVH. Valvetronic and the lack of a throttle plate in the intake tract should allow them to tune induction noise in ways that make it sound pleasing to the ears. If not, perhaps electronic noise suppression (as Acura does) might allow for the tuning of undesirable frequencies.
Well, a couple of things. Yes BMW could pull out all the stops and throw in twin balance shafts running at twice crank speed, active motor mounts, active noise cancellation, and whatever other gizmos they can think up to actually make this thing run like a BMW should, but guess what? Then they'll depending on a whole lot of tech toys and gizmos all to cover for an inferior (for a premium vehicle) engine configuration, and the same sorts of gizmos that BMW and the Germans generally don't have a good reputation for building reliably. Even Honda had issues with their active noise cancellation systems in the Honda Accord Hybrid a few years back, which covered up the weird noises that a V-6 engine running in 3-cylinder mode made. When the systems started to not work, it resulted in a lot of funny noises in the cabin which annoyed owners and Honda was clueless as to how to fix. Lots of people traded the car in, and Honda discontinued the model. I'd rather just have the straight-6 which doesn't need any of this crap.

Let's say BMW does get it completely right though and there's no issues at all with a brand new engine design and "active" noise cancellation and balancing systems (on a 1st year BMW design? heh...). It's still probably going to drive a whole lot different than an NA I-6 will. If you happen to like the driving characteristics of the N52, this is going to be a lot different. They'll probably use the low-RPM torque capabilities of the engine and gear it down so that you're never really breaking 3000rpm. It maximizes load on the engine, increases combustion efficiency and minimizes friction, and keeping the average RPM down will also reduce the NVH it'll be making. It most likely will NOT be the free-revving nicely sounding and singing style of power delivery that many love and the N52 delivers.
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