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540: '97-'98 non-VANOS vs. '99+ w/VANOS (archive)

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Posted by Andrew K. on January 26, 2000 at 21:41:21:

Pretty soon I'm gonna to be in the market for a 6 speed 540, and there's a good chance I may decide to get a used one since they are a good deal less expensive than new. One thing I'm wondering about is the engine differences between the '97-'98 models and the '99+ models with VANOS. VANOS is documented as adding 14 lb-ft of torque with an RPM peak a few hundred less than the non-VANOS engines. We all know that BMW underrates this engine in the horsepower department, but what I'm wondering is if anyone has had the chance to put a '99+ model on a chassis dyno to actually measure what the car is putting out. Or if not, maybe if someone has some quarter-mile track times. I'm just trying to get an idea of how much real world difference there is between the two motors.

I had the chance to test drive both a Steptronic/sport pkg 540iA and a 6 speed 540i some time ago, both '99 models. I come from the world of 350ci pushrod GM V8s and I walked away very impressed by the '99 motor's low end grunt. How much softer is the pre-'99 V8's bottom end torque?

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