High-Octane Dreams: The 1,000 HP BMW S58 Engine that Laughs in the Face of Stress

High-Octane Dreams: The 1,000 HP BMW S58 Engine that Laughs in the Face of Stress
© BMW M

In the high-octane arena of professional drifting, a new legend has emerged from the smoke-filled skid pads: the BMW M4 Competition, commandeered by none other than the Red Bull Driftbrothers, Joe and Eli Hountondji. Their weapon of choice isn't just any M4, but a fire-breathing monster with a roof-mounted exhaust and a roar that could drown out thunder. The source of this vehicular thunderstorm? The BMW M S58 turbo engine, tweaked and tuned to unleash a staggering 1,000 horsepower. But amidst the tire-shredding mayhem, a burning question lingers: How does the S58 endure the relentless punishment of professional drifting?

In a quest for answers, Eli Hountondji, armed with his aerospace engineer's acumen and a thirst for truth, embarks on a pilgrimage to the very place where his beastly engine first roared to life: the high-tech halls of BMW M's Garching facility. There, amidst the gleaming floors and the air of innovation, the engine would return to its creators for a full post-mortem after two adrenaline-filled years on the drift circuit.

"Two years ago, we built two S58 engines with more than 1,000 hp, not knowing what will happen. Today it’s time to look at the status quo."
—Eli Hountondji

The BMW S58 Engine: On the Operating Table

The Red Bull Driftbrothers, with their high-powered steeds, roll into Garching where the BMW M experts, the same minds that crafted the engines' initial brilliance, await. It's here, in a facility that melds precision engineering with the spirit of motorsports, that the engines are carefully extracted and prepared for a thorough examination.

Under the watchful eyes of the BMW M's elite technicians, the engines are meticulously disassembled. Each component, from the turbochargers to the tailpipes, is inspected with a level of detail befitting a Swiss timepiece.

The Heart of the M4: Beyond the Standard

The S58 engine in the Hountondji brothers' M4 is a symphony of bespoke modifications. Larger turbos force-feed the engine, while an advanced fuel injection system and new software harmonize to fuel the fiery combustion. A massive cooling system, complete with an auxiliary radiator, keeps temperatures in check, and a custom exhaust system sings the high-powered hymn of the M4. Yet, despite the extensive list of modifications, the engine's core—crankshaft, conrods, and pistons—remains untouched, a testament to the robustness of S58.

The modifications made to the BMW S58 engine and M4 by the Driftbrothers, as detailed in their YouTube video, are quite extensive and impressive. Here's a summary of the key points:

Engine Modifications:

  1. Base Engine: Started with a stock S58 engine, a 3-liter inline 6-cylinder with two turbos, found in models like the X3 M, X4 M, M3, M4, and M2 since 2019.
  2. Turbocharging: Replaced the stock turbos with a larger turbo for increased air intake.
  3. Cylinder Head Modifications: Slightly altered the geometry of the combustion chamber and the inlet and exhaust channels. This is one of the few internal engine modifications made.
  4. Internal Components: Retained stock parts like pistons, connecting rods, and crankshaft.
  5. Injection System: Utilized both direct and port injection to achieve a combined capability of about 1200 horsepower.
  6. Cooling System: Added a large radiator pack in the front and another in the rear for efficient cooling.
  7. Engine Control: Partnered with MoTeC for calibration and control, focusing on optimizing the high-pressure system.
Specification BMW S58 Series S58 by Red Bull Driftbrothers
Cylinders 6 6
Bore 84 mm 84 mm
Stroke 90 mm 90 mm
Displacement 2,993 cm³ 2,993 cm³
Compression 9.3:1 9.1:1
Injection system Direct injection Direct and intake manifold injection
Charging M TwinPower Turbo Xona Rotor Single Turbo, enhanced with anti-lag system
Cooling system Standard 2 x radiators (front and rear)
Oil supply Wet-sump Wet-sump
Engine control Standard DME Programmable MoTeC M142 ECU & TDP.ie and 229sport custom software
Max. output Up to 550 hp 1,024.45 hp (1,039 PS)
Max. torque Up to 650 Nm 1,285 Nm
Exhaust system Standard Custom
Exhaust emission standard Euro 6d

The Tear-Down Reveals All

The disassembly yields an unequivocal result: The S58 engines are in stellar condition. The intense duress of drifting, which would bring lesser engines to their knees, has barely left a mark on the series components. Pistons, combustion chambers, conrods, main bearings, and the crankshaft show minimal wear. The high-pressure injectors maintain their perfect seal, and the cylinder head gasket could pass for new. Even the dark residues on the piston head and cylinder head ports—evidence of the engine's insatiable thirst for fuel—do nothing to dampen the experts' spirits or the engine's performance.

Dark deposits are normal in this case and are evidence of the high fuel quantity – the toll of over 1,200 Nm of torque. © BMW M

We thrashed this tuned engine over two years. But it just laughed and took it!Eli Hountondji proclaims with a mix of awe and satisfaction.

Engine Analysis and Durability:

Component Inspection: After two years of intense use, including more than 30 events, the engines were thoroughly inspected at BMW's facility in Munich.

Cylinder Head Gasket: Showed slightly higher wear on the edges but was generally in good condition.

Combustion Chamber: Exhibited some carbon buildup due to rich fueling but was otherwise in good shape.

Cylinder Wall: Showed no significant damage or wear.

Injectors: The direct injectors, critical for handling high pressure, were in excellent condition without any signs of heat damage.

Pistons and Connecting Rods: Showed minimal wear, retaining coatings and showing no signs of overheating.

Crankshaft: A re-engineered, lighter, and stiffer version than the B58 predecessor, showed no signs of wear or metal-to-metal contact.

Camshafts and Valves: Maintained excellent condition throughout the testing period, sealing effectively against combustion pressure.

Overall Assessment:

Durability: The engines withstood the rigorous demands of high-performance drifting, demonstrating remarkable durability.

Running Costs: Compared to a 2JZ engine, the S58 shows lower long-term running costs due to less frequent need for rebuilds or part replacements.

Parts Availability: Being a current production engine, the S58 benefits from readily available parts from BMW dealers.

The S58: A Prodigy of Performance

Introduced to the world in 2019, the BMW M S58 engine was a masterpiece from the outset. Its forged crankshaft, closed-deck crankcase, 3D-printed cylinder head components, and high-pressure injection system were all clear indicators of its latent potential. In its most formidable guise, the S58 commands an authoritative 405 kW (550 hp) in the BMW M4 CSL and serves as the heart of the entire BMW M3 and M4 lineup, as well as the BMW M2, BMW X3 M, and X4 M.

As the Red Bull Driftbrothers set their sights on future events, they do so with engines that have not just survived but excelled under conditions that would test the very limits of mechanical endurance. The BMW M S58 engine, through its trial by fire and tire, has not only upheld the legacy of its predecessors but has also carved out its own legend—one that promises to endure for many drift battles to come.