BMW 528e Engine

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Throughout the 1980s, BMW made strides towards making its vehicles cleaner burning and more fuel-efficient. The BMW 528e played a notable role in that effort within the North American market. This four-door executive sedan started out as the main offering of the E28 lineup, but was later slotted under the more powerful 533i and 535i sedans.



The 528e was fitted with a fuel injected 2.7-liter SOHC inline six-cylinder engine. What made it rather unique engine for both the German auto manufacturer and the North American market was how it was heavily optimized for fuel and emissions efficiency. The M20B27 featured an 84mm bore and 81mm stroke, a lower-duration camshaft with three fewer camshaft bearings than the normal seven for its engine block and smaller ports, resulting in a relatively low-powered engine that still provided a large amount of torque for ordinary motoring.

Dubbed the “eta,” the M20B27 produced 121 horsepower at a relatively low 4,250 rpm and 170 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 rpm. In 1988, the M20B27 was reworked to use the cylinder head casting from the 2.5-liter M20B25 inline six-cylinder found in the 325i. Along with other changes, including revised combustion chambers, new intake manifold, dual exhaust and an upgraded Bosch Motronic fuel injection system, the “super eta” gained a scant six horsepower for a total of 127 horsepower. However, components from the M20B25 can be used to push total power output past the 200 mark safely and reliably.

The next-generation E34 5 Series did away with the “eta” and “super eta” engines in favor of the 2.5-liter and 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engines. The M20B27 is relatively plentiful in junkyards thanks to its use throughout the 5 Series and 3 Series lineup during the 1980s. It’s also relatively easy for mechanics to install and modify if necessary.

After you made the decision on which engine you want to purchase and the dealer you are comfortable with, verification need to be completed on the reputation on that company. Good resources are Google, Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. This helps to avoid un-necessary exposure to risk.