BMW S62 V8 Engine Guide - History, Performance, and Models

BMW S62 V8 Engine Guide - History, Performance, and Models
Table Of Content

The Legendary BMW S62 V8 Engine

The BMW S62 is an iconic high performance V8 engine that was produced from 1998 to 2006. Found in models like the E39 M5, E46 M3, and Z8 roadster, the S62 gained a reputation for being one of BMW's best naturally aspirated engines ever made.

With a displacement of 4.9 liters and individual throttle bodies for each cylinder, the S62 was capable of producing up to 400 horsepower in European trim M5s and M3s. This engine loves to be revved out and has an 8,000 rpm redline.

S62 Reliability

Overall, the S62 is a fairly stout engine if properly maintained. However, it does have a few common problem areas to look out for.

The main wear items are the throttle actuators, valley pan gasket, eccentric shaft sensor, and rod bearings. The actuators are prone to failure over time and the gasket and sensor often start leaking fluids after higher mileage. The rod bearings are stressed more compared to a typical V8 due to the high revving nature of the S62.

Other things to look out for are failed VANOS solenoids, worn timing chain guides, and oil leaks from the valve cover gaskets and oil filter housing gasket. These issues can all be addressed by replacing the affected parts.

Buying a S62 Powered BMW

For enthusiasts looking for a classic M car with the S62, some good options are:

  • 2001-2006 E46 M3
  • 2000-2003 E39 M5
  • 1999-2003 Z8

When inspecting one of these cars, be sure to take it to a trusted BMW specialist for a pre-purchase inspection. They will be able to assess the health of the engine and spot any potential problem areas.

Service records are valuable when buying a S62 powered car. Look for documentation showing that maintenance items like oil changes, valve adjustments, cooling system parts, and others were done per the recommended intervals.

Be prepared to pay a premium for low mileage and accident free cars. Many S62 engines have high miles at this point, so finding one with less than 100k miles commands top dollar.

Owning and Maintaining a S62

Owning a car with the S62 V8 can be very rewarding, but also comes with higher maintenance costs. Here are some tips for keeping a S62 in top shape:

  • Use quality full synthetic oil and change it regularly - every 5,000 miles or 6 months is ideal.
  • Replace cooling system components like water pump, radiator, expansion tank at suggested intervals to avoid overheating issues.
  • Watch for oil leaks and address them quickly when they pop up.
  • Change transmission and differential fluids to protect those components.
  • Adjust valve clearances per the maintenance schedule.
  • Replace spark plugs, ignition coils, and air filters when needed.

Following these maintenance practices will keep the S62 performing at its peak and minimize the chances of expensive repairs down the road.

Modifying the S62 Engine

One of the allures of the S62 is its immense tuning potential. With the right modifications, output can be pushed to 500 horsepower or beyond.

Some popular S62 upgrades include:

  • Aftermarket intake and exhaust systems
  • Software tunes to optimize fueling and timing
  • Lowering the engine's compression ratio
  • Upgraded fuel injectors and fuel pump
  • Installing high flow cylinder heads
  • Changing camshafts for more aggressive profiles

With supporting mods and proper tuning, these enhancements can unlock a wealth of extra horsepower from the S62. However, upgrading the internals like pistons, rods, and crank may be necessary to handle the additional stress past a certain power level.

Finding an S62 Powered BMW For Sale

For those looking to buy an S62 powered BMW such as an E39 M5 or E46 M3, there are a few places to find them for sale including:

  • BMW specific classifieds sites like BimmerForums and BMWCCA
  • Auction sites like Bring A Trailer and Cars & Bids which often feature S62 cars
  • General classifieds like Craiglist, Facebook Marketplace and eBay Motors
  • BMW dealerships or independant shops that sell pre-owned vehicles
  • Vintage BMW classifieds in magazines like Roundel and Bimmer Magazine

When searching, expanding your geographic area can help expose you to more options. Don't hesitate to consider having one shipped if it meets your criteria.

Patience is key as the right S62 powered M car doesn't come along everyday, especially ones that have been properly maintained. Connecting with other BMW enthusiasts can also help you learn of cars coming up for sale through word of mouth.

While finding an S62 powered BMW for sale may take effort and diligence, the legendary driving experience they provide is worth the search.


What models did BMW put the S62 engine in?

The S62 powered the E39 M5 from 1998-2003, the E46 M3 from 2001-2006, and the Z8 roadster from 1999-2003.

How much horsepower did the S62 produce from the factory?

In the US market M5 and M3 models, the S62 produced 394 hp at 6,600 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 rpm. European versions made up to 400 hp.

What are some common issues with the S62 engine?

Common problem areas include failed VANOS solenoids, leaking valley pan gasket, worn rod bearings, bad throttle actuators, and oil leaks from gaskets and seals.

How much can a modified S62 engine make?

With upgrades like intake, exhaust, tune, camshafts, and compression reduction, the S62 can reliably make over 500 hp. Further internal upgrades can push output even higher.

Where can I find an S62 powered BMW for sale?

Check BMW specific classifieds, auction sites, vintage BMW magazines, and dealers. Expanding your search area and being patient often leads to better options.

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