Exclusive: 2011 BMW 135i & 335i Get New Engines

BMW N55 inline-six dual scroll turbo

For 2011 the 135i will undergo a motor transplant. It will be powered by the new N55 inline-six. This new 3L motor features a single twin scroll turbo unlike the previous (N54) motor which featured two turbos. The dual scroll is said to provide the same effect as two turbos. The official numbers say just that, at 300hp and 300 lb-ft. all the while giving better throttle response in-part to the inclusion of BMW ‘s famous Valvetronic system on this new 6 cylinder.

The 135i for 2011 will be offered in 6 speed manual or with a 7 speed Dual Clutch transmission (a true auto will not be offered) as we also reported.

The 3 series will also receive this same engine switch with the same 8 6 speed transmissions later this spring. The recently revealed high performance “iS ” version of the 3er will feature a tuned version of the current twin turbo motor (N54) and an optional 7 speed DCT.

BMW N55 inline-six dual scroll turbo

The switch to the N55 is the product of BMW striving to improve fuel economy as part of its Efficient Dynamics initiative, this new motor when coupled with the 8 6speed auto is said to improve fuel economy by nearly 10%. The 8 speed is also said to incorporate auto start/stop to further conserve fuel.

What this also means is that all of you that were looking to tune your next BMW via the aftermarket for those weekend drag races- your window of time is closing as rumors have this N55 possessing some serious anti-hacking devices in addition to the complex Valvetronic system. Personally I rather have a 2011 with launch control and the pending BMW Performance Engine Kit but that is neither here nor there.

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  • Babak

    Interesting stuff! Really nice to see BMW evolving and doing things that truly do bring more power with less consumption. Another company doing some impressive stuff (at least on paper) is Ford.

    One question regarding the 3er getting the N55 and 8-speed though; will the sedan also get the switch or is this just for the LCI E92?

  • Jeff

    im really confused. are you talking about a valvetronic system with a turbo? turbo engines dont have valvetronic, cause ovbiously you dont need to vary valve lift on a car with forced induction

  • Actually Jeff you are incorrect, as has been discussed in the past the new N55 has Valvetronic and there are several reasons to vary valve lift with forced induction, efficiency being the main one. The N55 also has a single dual scroll turbo that is more efficient yet provides the same output of two single scroll turbos. Click through the links and read some of the posts and releases. I never make this stuff up.

  • Nick

    Ah, but have they fixed the HPFP issue with this one?

  • John

    Michael,

    This may be a stupid question, but will there be a way to disable the auto start/stop feature, or is that forced upon the user?

  • Tyler

    So the 135 gets the n55 with dct but the 335is retains the n54 with dct. I thought I had read that the n55 had not been paired yet with dct and that is why the 335is was keeeping the n54. Apparently not so, so what is the reasoning in keeping the n54 is the sport 335 only, and not in the 135 with dct?

  • Brandon

    What I’m hoping for is an upgrade to the NA 128i and 328i’s. Their 230hp & 200lbft while smooth and sufficient I really believe they will transplant the new direct-injected 3.0 that makes 258hp and more than 240lbft of incredibly linear torque. That’s my bimmer!!!

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  • John auto start/stop is activated by the driver via a simple button on the center stack.

    We will have more on the N52 for the 128i/328i in the coming days…

  • Tyler- you have read the N55 has not been paired with a DCT- this is a first (and only at this point). The purposed M1 will feature a tuned N55 and a DCT so it makes sense that this be offered now.

  • adc

    I can’t say I’m surprised by this at all – the end of the N54 has been on the wall…

    I wonder if the M1 will feature a parallel or sequential twin turbo setup. I also hope they will offer a manual transmission option too on that car. (They could use the 6sp tranny from the E39 M5 which can handle up to 400 ft-lbs of torque).

    Come on BMW, please build my next car…

  • Rich

    2011 335is = N54 / 7DCT 2011 335i = N55 / 8AT

    Is that right? Does this also apply for the sedan?

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  • Mason

    Is this n55 actually going to be 300hp or will it be like the n54 which was under rated?

    • Mason,

      We will let you know as soon as we can find a dyno test completed!

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  • Jon

    someone please clarify, i am not up to date…can i still order a 2011 335 with the N54 as the “IS” model and still have a manual trans? I’m not sure what DCT is, a true manual trans?

    • No you can not get an “is” with a manual- we have covered this extensively.

  • Jon

    no manuals…i knew it would only be a short time before bmw sold out like the rest. very disappointing from a driver’s perspective. soon bmw’s will be made from 50% chinese/japanese parts…

    • I wouldn’t say they sold out as they still offer manuals- just not in these higher priced/performance models. If you listen to our interview with Martin Birkmann he explains one reason why this is happening. It has more to do with people not buying manuals, in other words putting their money where their mouth is. The ///M3 sells more in DCT form than 6 speed- what does that tell you. BMW has not sold out, the consumer has. BMW will offer manuals in what cars people are willing to have them in, and for the most part the pricepoint models seem to be the only cars the mass public does not equip with an auto. Go to a dealer and look at how many 6 speeds manuals are on the lot and that also will tell you that we enthusiasts are few and we do not buy as many cars as we would like to think.

  • Jon

    i agree..the people have sold out as well. but if a manual trans is not avail in the future in a 335 (to me not a reach), to me that is selling out…even if demand is highest for automatics. what incentive is there to buy a bmw anymore if that’s the case. might as well get a benz if i have to have a “pseudo-stick” if you will…at least they still get almost all of their parts from germany. but to validate you, i know what you are talking about, i have been to many dealers and all i see are autos…its sad what we have become as a people.

  • Drill

    So… when can I get this in a Wagon? 🙁

  • Drill- never 🙁

  • I think I might as well get this and save a few thousand over an M3. The current 3er is the best looking car in the BMW portfolio right now, and the six would be more “traditional” for a sporty 3 series.

  • Rich

    I can’t believe what I just read three times. No MANUAL TRANNY in the new 335i – ya gotta be kidding. I won’t stand for it; I won’t buy a DCT, not because I don’t like them — but because they lose the whole essence of true interaction between the diver and the car…

    • It will have a 6 speed manual as standard. We discussed this more recently. BMW is not going to drop the 6 speed in their bread and butter model for the US 🙂

  • Jon

    so the “regular” model 335i will still have 6spd manual as option??? Thank god for that..let the “is” crowd have their extra 30hp and paddle shifters.. good luck heel-toe shifting with that crap guys 😉

  • Jon- you got it!! Sorry for the confusion, the “is” is manual free. It is looking like all 6 speeds and a 7 speed DCT.

  • Jon

    thanks…i was losing sleep over this. glad it was just a misunderstanding 🙂 I really couldn’t imagine how bmw was doing that to us

  • Eric

    All 2011 BMW 3-series models will be offered with a standard 6speed manual! Including the new 335is coupe.. Where are you guys coming up with this crap of DCT only for the 335is??

    • Eric, talk about bringing back a post that had been subsequently addressed. Also, this post was published before the official announcements were even made (over 7 months ago in JANUARY well before the model debuted and our sources at the time indicated no 6 speed like the Z4). You may want to look around the site a bit and comment on more recent posts as we have reviewed the IS on several occasions, not to mention the many BimmerCasts that featured both the Z4 and 335 in IS versions.

      -M

  • Jay

    When are they going to come out with the short shift kit for the n55

  • Jay

    When are they going to come out with the short shift kit for the n55 ?