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Overview of the BMW N20 Engine

The BMW N20 engine has been the apple of the eye of countless BMW fans because of its innovative make and breathtaking performance. Here is all you need to know about this engine.

BMW N20 Engine | BMW Engine Overview | BMW Models 2013-2017

If you have even the slightest interest in automotive engines, you are likely to learn about the BMW N20 engine and its specs. Ever since the automaker has committed to reviving the four-cylinder engine lineup, BMW launched the N20 engine which is a stunning single turbo four-cylinder engine capable of producing nasty powers and impressive torque. BMW N20 engine is a rampant automotive engine as seen in the BMW models from 2013 to 2017.

BMW N20 Engine Specifications

The BMW N20 engine was launched as an advancement to the N52 engine. The newer engine trim was introduced to offer a new direction to BMW engine lineup as well as to comply with the CAFÉ regulations. 

What’s even more exciting about the N20 engine is that this four-cylinder engine is capable of generating a stunning power of 240 HP and a sizzling torque of 260 lb-ft. The hardcore BMW fan base could not help but fall in love with the spritely performance offered by this upgraded engine. 

The year of 2012 was a year of impending upgrades in fuel economy regulations due to the uproar in the dire need of eco-conservation. Keeping that in mind, the automaker introduced the N20 which had much greater, almost 20% more, fuel economy than the N52 engine trim. Despite the initial expectations of distaste regarding the N20 engine in North American users, time proved that the N20 engine was the only way for the BMW to move forward and sustain in the challenging world of automakers. 

BMW N20 Engine Performance 

Those who have driven the N20 engine report buttery smooth gear shifts while using the 8-speed ZF gearbox. Despite being its single turbo design, the engine offers minimal to no sensations of turbo lag while driving. What’s even more interesting about the spritely engine is that it is integrated with an Adaptive Control system in most of the models to offer a luxurious and smooth driving experience.

BMW N20 Engine Make

Wondering how the BMW automaker was able to put together such an amazing engine for its cars? Let’s give you an overview of the BMW N20B20 turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. First off, the engine block is made entirely from aluminum which makes it a lighter in weight than the steel engine. The steel plated cylinders support the two balance shafts that work together to propel the forged crankshaft. We have 4 counterweights installed on the crankshaft so as to balance out the performance of the cylinders The length of durable connecting rods is somewhere near 144.35 mm and they seem to be a modified replicate of BMW N55. Apart from the well-balanced crankshaft, we also have the negative-biased FM pistons installed on the piston ring attached to the engine motor. The cylinder head is made from a combination of Valvetronic III and the intake and exhaust valves are installed with Double VANOS timing.

BMW N20 Engine Problems

BMW took its time to fix the early timing chain issues that were rampantly observed in the initial models. Although the timing chain issues were found in a handful of engines, the issue was not big enough to push the diehard fans of BMW from driving around in cars featuring N20 engine.

It is also important to mention the fact that not all of the engines have all the problems. Some minor problems were also observed in few N20’s but it will be wrong to classify them as major/common issues.

Let’s take a look at the common BMW engine issues. Shall we?

Timing Chain issues

The engines launched before the year 2015 had a common timing chain problem as many of the drivers reported the same symptoms on multiple occasions. Although BMW was quick to take a notice of the issue and fixed it by completely redesigning the timing chain in January 2015. Moreover, the BMW promised the 7 years or 70,000 miles’ warranty that BMW offered for its timing chain engine components in N20. 

Some common symptoms of poor timing chain included loud whirring noises from the engine, significant engine scoring, loud and noticeable engine noises and a lot of slack/play.

VC and VCG leaks

It is true that the N20 4-cylinder engine lacked in its valve durability than its siblings. The engine has plastic composite valve cover and the valve cover gasket is made from rubber. However, the increased usage of the engine made the engine cover and valve cover gasket susceptible to damage due to wear and tear. The engine valve cover and valve cover gasket turn brittle and start to crack in faulty N20 engines. As one of the common N20 engine problems, the N20 VC and VCG issues can be prevented by lowering mileage and reducing the frequency of cooling and heating of engine components during long periods of driving.  

In worst case scenario, these components develop cracks and the material starts to leak out of from the crack. The leaks are usually progressive in nature. 

Some common symptoms of VC and VCG leaks include burning smell, smoke and visible leaks from thw VC and VCG cracks.

The Bottom Line

BMW N20 engine has surely been a much-loved engine trim. Some of the common N20 engine problems have already been resolved. As far as the N20 engine specs and performance is concerned, the engine is top-class and offers superior driving feel.

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