Our friends at Jalopnik are featuring the venerable M10 4 cylinder as their Engine of the Day. As you may or may not know the M10 was designed by noted engineer and race driver Baron Alex von Falkenhausen. Yes (as Jalopnik mentions) that is a helluva a name. In between designing engines you ‘d expect someone named Baron Alex von Falkenhausen to fly zeppelins and slay large game. What he did do was to go against BMW bosses and design a 1.5L (instead of the asked for 1.3L that was eventually expanded to 2.0L. Here ‘s more from Wikipedia:
As BMW M12, the engine is also one of the most successful engines in racing. Starting with the European Touring Car Championship, it was also used in Formula 2 and in the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft, where it was turbocharged by Paul Rosche according to FIA Group 5 rules.
The M12 went on to Formula 1, winning the 1983 championship for Nelson Piquet and Brabham — something which very few 20 year old road car engine designs accomplish. The same applies for the rise in power: twenty-fold from 75 hp to about 1500 hp.
The BMW S14 engine for the first BMW M3 was based upon the M10 block. In the M3, the M10 block design is still winning races today.
Yes the M12 (based on the M10 was the most powerful engine ever to grace F1 racetracks. Not bad for versatility.
+ Engine Of The Day: BMW M10 / Jalopnik
+ BMW M10 / Wikipedia