BMW Engine Codes

You may come across many acronyms and short hand "codes" while shopping for parts for your BMW. The BMW E-chassis and F-chassis codes are obvious. But another code refers to the type of engine used in your BMW. BMW engines evolve from one generation to the next but generally derive from one original design. For example, the inline-6 cylinder engines in the E34, E36, E39, E46, E53, Z3 and Z4 can all trace their origin to the M50 introduced in 1991. With revisions and updates over the years it's unlikely that parts will simply interchange so knowing the specific engine type can be very helpful when sourcing parts. BMW has gone through several variations on the engine designations; from the 1960s to the 2000s they had the "M" engine family (not to be confused with BMW Motorsport); from the 2000s-2010s they had an N engine code; from the mid 2010s they have a new modular B engine family. Below are charts detailing the BMW engine family codes with a handy de-coder image so you know how each code is broken down. We concentrated on engines used in the US market, as well as BMW Motorsport production (S code) and racing (P code) engines.

This list is some of the more common engine code designations that a US enthusiast may encounter. Engines may change from one type to another based on different factors, including model year and even geographical region. This list includes the engine code, number of cylinders, engine size, the BMW models it's typically found in, and other important information. We have intentionally left off engines not commonly available or known to the US market.

M Code (1964-2006) Regular Production Engines