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      01-15-2020, 11:07 AM   #23
velociti
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Originally Posted by RE36TRO View Post
Owned both as well. The S54 was great while it lasted, still a favorite of mine and like many said the last of the platforms to retain the raw race car feel. I have to choose the S65 simply because the sound and substantially increased power without sacrificing weight. That said all are great, all M's are special
Totally agree with this. No question that the S65 is objectively the better motor on pretty much every metric, but I loved the raw feel of the S54. I was also in the minority of people who really liked its sound. As a daily, the E90 would be my go-to. To carve some back roads on a weekend? I'd probably opt for the E46. It wouldn't be faster, but for me, it'd be more fun, lively, and tactile.
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      01-15-2020, 11:27 AM   #24
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I prefer the S54 in the E46 and the S65 in the E9x. Both are sweet but a slight edge to the S65.
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      01-15-2020, 02:25 PM   #25
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Not an M but I had an E46 330CI and although I loved that car I could never drive anything less than a V8.
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      01-16-2020, 09:21 PM   #26
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Ok I'm going against the grain here. I've owned enough variations of both to make a statement.

The S65 is a better motor out of the box, makes better noises and needs less servicing overall.

The S54 has higher piston speeds and a better mid-range. It also has parts derived from the McLaren F1 engine, in a way it's more exotic than the S65.

The failure points on the S54 (rod bearings and vanos) have tried and true permanent fixes. The S65 is still up for debate in terms of a proven solution to bulletproof the motor.

The power numbers are closer than you guys think. Guys are doing similar numbers on NA builds in the E46 M3 game as the E9X M3 guys. Supercharged numbers get close too. This is despite being down two cylinders and .8L of displacement.

The S54 can be turbocharged and hit 1000+whp and do 9-second quarter-miles. The S65 doesn't touch that.

Pound for pound. S54 > S65.
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      01-16-2020, 10:19 PM   #27
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For years, the S54 was not fully exploited. Epic broke through earlier barriers to big power. Hopefully, in time, S65 tuners will improve and tuning for headers and cams will be more developed, along with more E85 or race gas tunes. Then, there may be 450+ rwhp S65.

I do agree that with E85 or race gas, an S54 with a turbo system can more than double its stock power. That wont ever happen to the S65 due to the lighter rods and even higher compression pistons. The short block would have to be built, and not that many have been built yet. Supposedly there is one in Russia making 1000 rwhp, but Id like to see more.
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      01-17-2020, 09:52 PM   #28
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The S54 is a marvelous I6. In the E46M3 that I drove it was the tits. Having experienced the S65B40 for some years, I have NOT had a wishful thought for the S54. IMHO, marvelous does not come close to equaling "masterpiece" which is the S65B40.

I see the S65B40 as an extraordinary outlier, perhaps a once-in-a-manufacturer's-existence creation or unicorn engine. There's a thread about here as to which teams/racing seried the S65B40 has been employed. No such luck for the venerable S54.
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