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      06-04-2019, 09:16 AM   #1
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Throttle and engine response - S65 vs S54 vs S55

How does the S65 V8 compare to the smoothness and beautiful throttle and engine response of the S54? And how does the S55 compare to either?


Everytime I go from my new to me 991.1 C4S to my Z4 M Roadster equipped with the S54 engine from the E46 M3 I can't help but wish the Porsche had the same snap in the throttle and engine response. The S54 is down in power but I assure you around town it is the most fun motor I own (also have an N52 equipped 128i for a control comparison).

The BMW engines are smoother, more velvety in revving but of course are less brutally powerful than the Porsche. All are top end power making motors and I love them. They are perfect examples of why an engine's character is more important than raw power particularly when power figures are equal.

Given my love for the S54 I'm wondering if its time to seriously consider replacing the 128i with an E92 M3 before they're all high mileage and beaten up between multiple owners.
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      06-04-2019, 09:31 AM   #2
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The throttle response from the S65 engine with MDM or Power button activated feels like a hooligan hanging on your right foot .
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      06-04-2019, 03:46 PM   #3
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The s65 feels more raw than the s54, incredible throttle response that you really notice, almost too much at times..

The s54 is a little smoother during its rev range though, I attribute that to it being an inline 6 instead of a high strung V8. Also top end power of the s65 is more aggressive and comes on harder the higher you rev than the s54 which pulls decently linear from 4500-7900rpm as you know.

The s65 feels a little sluggish down low compared to the s54; however every 1k rpm increase after 5k feels like an exponential increase in power, all the way to 8400rpm. It really is something everyone should experience; redlining the s65
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      06-04-2019, 10:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by xcusem3 View Post
The s65 feels a little sluggish down low compared to the s54; however every 1k rpm increase after 5k feels like an exponential increase in power, all the way to 8400rpm. It really is something everyone should experience; redlining the s65
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      06-05-2019, 06:56 AM   #5
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The S65 vs S55 response I compare all the time. As I've said before, the S55 is like a meat cleaver versus a scalpel with the S65. For example when drifting, you have to use large throttle movements with the S55 (in the M2C) and you're more managing a molasses like pedal feeling (compared to the S65) with massive torque just waiting to surge on scene. It's actually manageable fine once you acclimate to it - better than I thought it would be for a turbo engine, way better in fact. The S65 however feels precise, exacting, gives almost digital like control over rear wheel slip angle; it feels more connected to the chassis, alive underfoot.
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      06-05-2019, 09:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by CSBM5 View Post
The S65 vs S55 response I compare all the time. As I've said before, the S55 is like a meat cleaver versus a scalpel with the S65. For example when drifting, you have to use large throttle movements with the S55 (in the M2C) and you're more managing a molasses like pedal feeling (compared to the S65) with massive torque just waiting to surge on scene. It's actually manageable fine once you acclimate to it - better than I thought it would be for a turbo engine, way better in fact. The S65 however feels precise, exacting, gives almost digital like control over rear wheel slip angle; it feels more connected to the chassis, alive underfoot.
I can second the S65 to S55 comparison CSBM5 makes.
The S55 has much better throttle response than a turbo engine has a right to have, it is quite good and allows you to control the car with the throttle very well. Kudos to the M engineers who, as always, deliver excellent engines. One day they'll make one that runs on peanut butter and it'll still be awesome. [FYI: comment comes from a serial hater of anything turbo]
The S65 however is much, much more precise. The individual throttle bodies of the S54/S65 give it very fast response, it is the best thing I've ever driven. The amount of control you have at the limit is completely insane.

I put 100k miles on my E46M and don't recall a speed of response difference, they are both individual throttle body engines. But although the S54 is awesome and wonderful and I will always love it, the S65 takes it to another level.

These days I am breaking in a S65 M3 with headers, cams and the loudest exhaust known to mankind and it is exciting in a way nothing else is.
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      06-05-2019, 12:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SYT_Shadow View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSBM5 View Post
The S65 vs S55 response I compare all the time. As I've said before, the S55 is like a meat cleaver versus a scalpel with the S65. For example when drifting, you have to use large throttle movements with the S55 (in the M2C) and you're more managing a molasses like pedal feeling (compared to the S65) with massive torque just waiting to surge on scene. It's actually manageable fine once you acclimate to it - better than I thought it would be for a turbo engine, way better in fact. The S65 however feels precise, exacting, gives almost digital like control over rear wheel slip angle; it feels more connected to the chassis, alive underfoot.
I can second the S65 to S55 comparison CSBM5 makes.
The S55 has much better throttle response than a turbo engine has a right to have, it is quite good and allows you to control the car with the throttle very well. Kudos to the M engineers who, as always, deliver excellent engines. One day they'll make one that runs on peanut butter and it'll still be awesome. [FYI: comment comes from a serial hater of anything turbo]
The S65 however is much, much more precise. The individual throttle bodies of the S54/S65 give it very fast response, it is the best thing I've ever driven. The amount of control you have at the limit is completely insane.

I put 100k miles on my E46M and don't recall a speed of response difference, they are both individual throttle body engines. But although the S54 is awesome and wonderful and I will always love it, the S65 takes it to another level.

These days I am breaking in a S65 M3 with headers, cams and the loudest exhaust known to mankind and it is exciting in a way nothing else is.
Thanks guys. I assumed exactly as much as I've read on the comments so far. I really need to drive this car. I'm convinced I'll get one at some point but the acquisition of the 991.1 has realistically set that timeline back.

It is sad there are no new iterations of these engines anymore. The S54 is the most rewarding engine I've ever flogged regardless of whether it is down on power by modern offerings. But it is still on a whole different level when it comes to character.
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      06-05-2019, 12:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
Thanks guys. I assumed exactly as much as I've read on the comments so far. I really need to drive this car. I'm convinced I'll get one at some point but the acquisition of the 991.1 has realistically set that timeline back.

It is sad there are no new iterations of these engines anymore. The S54 is the most rewarding engine I've ever flogged regardless of whether it is down on power by modern offerings. But it is still on a whole different level when it comes to character.
It is very sad, however, if you are sufficiently motivated you can build your own 'next iteration' S65 and yeah, it's expensive, but so are all of these nice cars.

High specific output NA engines are wonderful things to flog. The M engines truly are some of the best.
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      06-05-2019, 02:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SYT_Shadow View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
Thanks guys. I assumed exactly as much as I've read on the comments so far. I really need to drive this car. I'm convinced I'll get one at some point but the acquisition of the 991.1 has realistically set that timeline back.

It is sad there are no new iterations of these engines anymore. The S54 is the most rewarding engine I've ever flogged regardless of whether it is down on power by modern offerings. But it is still on a whole different level when it comes to character.
It is very sad, however, if you are sufficiently motivated you can build your own 'next iteration' S65 and yeah, it's expensive, but so are all of these nice cars.

High specific output NA engines are wonderful things to flog. The M engines truly are some of the best.
I was actually toying with the idea of installing the ESS Supercharger kit with BPC tune on my 128i N52. Still no independent throttle bodies but should improve throttle response and no throttle actuators or rod bearings to replace. Raises redline if I'm not mistaken. I need a car in town to test drive which has already been converted just to see what it is like. Obviously there is more to the E9x M3 than just engine but as a project car building my beloved and small 1er into a E46 M3-like NA experience would be fun just uncertain of the results. I like smaller sized cars than the E9x platform but for my daily driver I worry that the interior and related tech of the E46 M3 plus general age is a bit much for me.

First world problems.
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      06-05-2019, 02:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
I was actually toying with the idea of installing the ESS Supercharger kit with BPC tune on my 128i N52. Still no independent throttle bodies but should improve throttle response and no throttle actuators or rod bearings to replace. Raises redline if I'm not mistaken. I need a car in town to test drive which has already been converted just to see what it is like. Obviously there is more to the E9x M3 than just engine but as a project car building my beloved and small 1er into a E46 M3-like NA experience would be fun just uncertain of the results. I like smaller sized cars than the E9x platform but for my daily driver I worry that the interior and related tech of the E46 M3 plus general age is a bit much for me.

First world problems.
For the 128i there's a NA option that nets you around 300hp, not bad at all. Headers, intake plenum, tune

The ESS supercharger is also a good option. ESS anything, it's just hard to go wrong
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      06-09-2019, 07:59 AM   #11
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Throttle response, I would say S65 wins hands down stock.

Throttle feel however, nothing beats the good old throttle cable of S50.

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      06-09-2019, 08:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by kyrix1st View Post
Throttle response, I would say S65 wins hands down stock.

Throttle feel however, nothing beats the good old throttle cable of S50.

I was totally wondering what an M engine with independent throttle bodies and cable throttle would feel like. Does the S50 have both?

Convinced I'll be searching for garage queen'd 6MT M3 four door w/ comfort access sometime in my future Unless the 128i can be retro'd with ITBs before or after a supercharger install Better yet whose got an S54 or S65 they want to help me swap in? I have one but its in use already 😂
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      06-09-2019, 06:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
How does the S65 V8 compare to the smoothness and beautiful throttle and engine response of the S54? And how does the S55 compare to either?


Everytime I go from my new to me 991.1 C4S to my Z4 M Roadster equipped with the S54 engine from the E46 M3 I can't help but wish the Porsche had the same snap in the throttle and engine response. The S54 is down in power but I assure you around town it is the most fun motor I own (also have an N52 equipped 128i for a control comparison).

The BMW engines are smoother, more velvety in revving but of course are less brutally powerful than the Porsche. All are top end power making motors and I love them. They are perfect examples of why an engine's character is more important than raw power particularly when power figures are equal.

Given my love for the S54 I'm wondering if its time to seriously consider replacing the 128i with an E92 M3 before they're all high mileage and beaten up between multiple owners.
The S65 throttle response is phenomenal, as already noted, but for some when taken in context with the size and weight of the E9X cars itís not as pleasing as with the s54 powered cars.

I think all 3 engines are incredible and to me the S55 doesnít give up a whole lot to its predecessors with throttle response when it comes to street driving.
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      06-10-2019, 09:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
I was totally wondering what an M engine with independent throttle bodies and cable throttle would feel like. Does the S50 have both?

Convinced I'll be searching for garage queen'd 6MT M3 four door w/ comfort access sometime in my future Unless the 128i can be retro'd with ITBs before or after a supercharger install Better yet whose got an S54 or S65 they want to help me swap in? I have one but its in use already 😂
Yes it has ITB and cable throttle. S50B30 EU (~'95 M3) is actually the most responsive engine due to shorter strokes. It's also got a forged crank and ceramic throttle body spacers.

S50B32 for 96+ M3 is much closer to S54 in nature being that it was the base engine for S54B32 in E46 M3.

I've owned E36 with both engines and I like both of them because they feel so different on the road (S50B32 with monstrous pull that comes at 2500 rpm and 5500rpm, S50B30 with a more revvy engine)

I would say totally go for S50B32 E36 M3. It's a master piece and basically bullet proof with stock power as long as you do the conrod bolts (to ARP).
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      07-13-2019, 04:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sephiroth View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
How does the S65 V8 compare to the smoothness and beautiful throttle and engine response of the S54? And how does the S55 compare to either?


Everytime I go from my new to me 991.1 C4S to my Z4 M Roadster equipped with the S54 engine from the E46 M3 I can't help but wish the Porsche had the same snap in the throttle and engine response. The S54 is down in power but I assure you around town it is the most fun motor I own (also have an N52 equipped 128i for a control comparison).

The BMW engines are smoother, more velvety in revving but of course are less brutally powerful than the Porsche. All are top end power making motors and I love them. They are perfect examples of why an engine's character is more important than raw power particularly when power figures are equal.

Given my love for the S54 I'm wondering if its time to seriously consider replacing the 128i with an E92 M3 before they're all high mileage and beaten up between multiple owners.
The S65 throttle response is phenomenal, as already noted, but for some when taken in context with the size and weight of the E9X cars it’s not as pleasing as with the s54 powered cars.

I think all 3 engines are incredible and to me the S55 doesn’t give up a whole lot to its predecessors with throttle response when it comes to street driving.
I agree. The S55 responds really well for being boosted. It is incredibly responsive. All 3 motors are great.
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      07-13-2019, 09:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyrix1st View Post
Yes it has ITB and cable throttle. S50B30 EU (~'95 M3) is actually the most responsive engine due to shorter strokes. It's also got a forged crank and ceramic throttle body spacers.

S50B32 for 96+ M3 is much closer to S54 in nature being that it was the base engine for S54B32 in E46 M3.

I've owned E36 with both engines and I like both of them because they feel so different on the road (S50B32 with monstrous pull that comes at 2500 rpm and 5500rpm, S50B30 with a more revvy engine)

I would say totally go for S50B32 E36 M3. It's a master piece and basically bullet proof with stock power as long as you do the conrod bolts (to ARP).

Agreed. The euro spec motors are so special. Miss mine
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      07-15-2019, 11:36 AM   #17
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When I sold my '13 M3 for a '15 911 GTS, one of my first impressions was how the throttle response in the 911 was noticeably less sharp. The E92's response was simply incredible, would make me laugh in amazement sometimes.

I've actually been on the search for another E92 or an E46.
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      07-15-2019, 04:40 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
When I sold my '13 M3 for a '15 911 GTS, one of my first impressions was how the throttle response in the 911 was noticeably less sharp. The E92's response was simply incredible, would make me laugh in amazement sometimes.

I've actually been on the search for another E92 or an E46.
Good to know. I hear a rumour that the next GT3 will have ITB's which may put it on the list for my next dream car (a few years off I'm afraid). Only thing I worry about is the size of the car vs a 997 for example.

Regardless, the fast revvy and responsive nature of an engine is an important aspect of the experience.
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      07-16-2019, 09:16 AM   #19
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s65 Throttle response with high flow exhaust is even better.

Have installed a akrapovic evolution exhaust, throttle response is amazing now!
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      07-17-2019, 01:55 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
When I sold my '13 M3 for a '15 911 GTS, one of my first impressions was how the throttle response in the 911 was noticeably less sharp. The E92's response was simply incredible, would make me laugh in amazement sometimes.

I've actually been on the search for another E92 or an E46.
I will trade you an e92 plus cash for a manual gts.

I had a carerra s and had the exact opposite impression.
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      07-17-2019, 10:47 PM   #21
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I can provide fair and candid input as I've owned E46 M3s for 12 years, an F80ZCP for 1 year and an E90M for 8 months. All used on the same roads, same city, same weather conditions.

From a purely throttle response perspective, the S65 might be the best of the bunch. However, once you throw actual power output relative to throttle angle into the mix, it's actually the worst in many situations.

Hear me out.

The (stock) midrange of the S65 (4-6k) is very soft and so while the motor is responsive, there is almost no difference between 1/4 throttle and full throttle in that range under load - the motor quickly maxes out. The S54, on the other hand, has a much fatter midrange and thus is more responsive once on the the throttle. The S55 is by far the most responsive in all part throttle situations as there is SO much power and yet it's so masterfully calibrated that every millimeter of additional throttle results in a very acute, equal and measured additional amount of power. Virtually anywhere on the tach, if you go from 1/4 throttle to full throttle the motor EXPLODED with power.

Now - the S55 can be a little laggy below 3k and in snap-WOT situations and thus can give a slightly disconnected feel at times. The S54 is the most linear - it has zero valleys or peaks in its output - it's just a consistent rise from 2k to 7, and then flattens to 8k. The S65 is paradoxical in that it's the most linear and yet most peaky with its MONSTER top end rush - nothing can touch it up top from a thrill/response/fun standpoint, but, combined with its lull-ish midrange and heavy chassis, can feel a little sluggish below 6k at times.

And so, they are all killer, KILLER motors that must be driven differently to maximize. They all satisfy in equal but different ways.
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Last edited by EricSMG; 07-18-2019 at 09:15 AM..
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      07-18-2019, 03:14 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
When I sold my '13 M3 for a '15 911 GTS, one of my first impressions was how the throttle response in the 911 was noticeably less sharp. The E92's response was simply incredible, would make me laugh in amazement sometimes.

I've actually been on the search for another E92 or an E46.
I will trade you an e92 plus cash for a manual gts.

I had a carerra s and had the exact opposite impression.
My Z4M is noticeably much more manic and lively on throttle response than my 2015 991.1 Carrera 4S even in sport mode. Definitely thinking of throttle tuning the C4S.
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