BMW M upgraded the engine in the M3 following the release of the ‘3.2’ at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show. Many of the changes to the engine reflect the lessons learnt creating the V12 for the McLaren supercar which was essentially two S50 engines forming a V. The new engine, called S50 B32, was larger and featured the Double VANOS system. This system made both the intake and exhaust camshafts continuously variable. Small changes to the S50 included a second oil pump, larger inlet valves, graphite-coated conrods, lightweight pistons and a new BMW/Siemens MSS50 engine management system.
Attached to the new engine was a Getrag six-speed manual transmission. In 1997, BMW Europe added a Sequential M Gearbox (SMG) as a option which was quite a substantial technology for the period. The system used an electronic clutch and hydraulic cylinders to automatically engage each gear. Following a push or pull on the gear lever the SMG system could change gears in as little as 0.4 seconds.
S50 B30 Inline-6
DOHC, 4 Valves per Cyl w/VANOS Variable Timing
Sequential Electronic Fuel Injection
3201 cc / 195.3 in³
86.4 mm / 3.4 in
91 mm / 3.58 in
236 kw / 316.5 bhp @ 7400 rpm
98.88 bhp per litre
218.13 bhp per tonne
319.97 nm / 236 ft lbs @ 3600 rpm
body / frame
RWD w/25% Limited-Slip Differential
Inner Vented Discs w/ABS, Two Piece Floating Rotors