BMW 745i Engine
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Prior to the introduction of the V8-powered 740i, BMW offered the 745i as the top-tier model within the vaunted 7 Series line. However, the 745i was never officially sold in the United States. Instead, they offered the M30B34-equipped 735i and L7 models to the U.S. market. These vehicles were noticeably less powerful than their 745i counterparts, spurring American interest in gray imports of the Europe-only models until U.S. regulations made gray imports a non-option.
From 1980 to 1982, these European models were equipped with a turbocharged M102 3.2-liter SOHC inline six-cylinder engine that generated 248 horsepower. 1986 brought about a larger turbocharged M106 3.4-liter engine that offered the same peak power output, but at lower revs.
In South Africa, the 745i was powered by a detuned variant of the DOHC M88 engine found in the BMW M1 and the Group 5 racing cars. Equipped with Bosch ML-Jetronic fuel injection, the M88 motor produced 282 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. The M88 was considered a necessity due to packaging problems faced by the M102 and M106 engines – in the right-hand-drive version, there wasn’t enough space to safely accommodate the turbocharger, which would have sat in the right-hand side of the engine bay. A total of only 209 South African 745i models were built between 1984 and 1986.
Instead of introducing the 745i to the U.S. market for the E32 7 Series, BMW elected to design and build the M60 series of eight-cylinder engines as a suitable replacement. When the E32 was introduced, the M70 V12-equipped 750i became the flagship model of the 7 Series lineup. Owing to the 745i’s relative rarity and its status as a grey market import in the U.S., finding the M102, M106 or M88 engines for this vehicle may prove to be a challenge unless one is sourced from overseas.