The precision engineering for which BMW are rightly famed means that any engine they come up with is going to be seen as one of the best. Among BMW enthusiasts, the question becomes more specific: which is the greatest among the pantheon of great engines to come out of the Bavarian workshop?
The B58, which first saw the light of day in 2015, is one engine that has won plenty of support among drivers in the know. A straight-six turbocharged effort, the B58 has won over so many admirers that it’s become the company’s engine of choice. Buy a BMW in the present day, and you’re likely to find a B58 under the bonnet. Unless you buy a high-performance model, in which case you’re going to find an S58 – which, for clarity, is merely the performance version of the B58.
Just how highly do BMW rate the B58?
If you were to ask anyone at BMW what they felt and thought about the B58 engine, they’d probably rather boringly tell you they loved it, because that’s how companies talk about their products. The proof of BMW’s love of the B58 is in how widely they use it. Open up the hood of a sports utility vehicle like the X7 xDrive 40i, and there it is. Drive away in one of BMW’s plugin hybrids like the 745e, and once again there’s a B58. The company knows what it has in the B58, and it’s one of those classic engines that stands the test of time while also being thrilling enough to power a supercar like the M340i.
It’s far from unheard of, of course, for one engine to be used in multiple different cars. What’s such a surprise is that in each car you drive, the B58 feels like it was specifically designed to be used in that car. That’s outstanding versatility: whether you’re in a workhorse SUV, a sporty performance car or a quiet eco-friendly vehicle, each one feels like the engine was custom-designed for the purpose, even though it’s the same engine each time.
What makes a BMW B58 so versatile?
Let’s take a performance car like any of the M40i models: they’re great fun to drive because of the snarling power they deliver from under the hood. That’s because the B58 engine is working away, delivering up to 382 bhp and as much as 369 lb-ft of torque. Any driver will appreciate the sense of power that pulsates through the steering wheel, making any drive a joy.
With that much power, you’d worry that a car might feel a little rough and brutish for a more sedate purpose like a family car, but it never does. The growling NVH which is common with a lot of similarly powerful machines just never appears with the B58 engine. When you’re behind the wheel of an X7 xDrive 40i, the school run doesn’t feel like the Indianapolis 500; it feels controlled and safe like it should.
What makes the B58 unique?
The B58 isn’t the only engine that provides hefty horsepower and devastating torque – a lot of engines do that. It’s not even the only engine that provides that power and a level of refinement that makes it versatile enough to be fit for any journey. It is, though, the only engine that does all of that and is available in cars outside of the high-price, high-performance echelon of the Porsches and similar. Ordinarily, for this kind of driving, you’d be looking at spending six figures once the whole thing was sitting on your driveway. Cars with a B58 under the hood can be bought for $50,000 and less, bringing them into the affordable category for a wider range of drivers.
Which cars offer a B58 driving experience?
It’s not so much a question of what BMW comes with the B58 engine. The answer there is that they pretty much all do if they’re sitting on a BMW dealership’s forecourt. Indeed, the B58 is even used in a few models of Toyota, including any new Supra that you choose to drive away today. It’s also expected to be the engine of choice for a while yet, as BMW and everyone else look to move beyond the era of the internal combustion engine. Its performance in the hybrid models shows that this is an engine that’s ready for the transition to cleaner driving. So keep an eye out if you’re looking for a vehicle that offers high-level performance across the range – the B58 is here for the long haul.