BMW N20 Engine – 2.0L Turbo Inline-4

The BMW N20 is one of the first engines that truly established BMW’s now standard small-displacement turbocharged formula, serving as the basis for engines like the BMW B48. The BMW N20 is a 1.6-2.0L twin-scroll turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine that was designed to take over as the primary low-mid-tier powerhouse for a number of vehicles in the BMW product line from 2011-2017. The N20 technically replaced the N52/N53 naturally aspirated straight-6 engine, marking the demise of the N/A inline-6 from BMW’s catalog.

Despite having two fewer cylinders, the twin-scroll turbocharger, in combination with other modern engine advancements including Valvetronic, direct injection, and double-VANOS, made the N20 more efficient, better performing, and more modifiable. The N20 is reliable too, outside of some early design issues with the timing chain guides. Regardless, it retained a good enough reputation to earn a spot on Wards Top 10 Engines List in 2012.

This page is the ultimate resource for everything BMW N20. We provide a general overview and technical information on the engine in addition to problems, performance modifications, FAQs, and various other resources. Whether you own an N20-powered BMW or are looking to purchase one, we have the most comprehensive N20 information on the internet.

N20 Engine Overview

The BMW N20 is a 2.0L turbocharged inline-4 engine that was used in multiple vehicle series from 2011-2017. While there is technically a 1.6L variant of the N20, the N20B16 was only released in Turkish and Tunisian markets. The N20B20 was released with multiple different variants over the years, but its engine code never changed unlike many other BMW engines.

Power output from the N20 ranged from 154 horsepower to 241 horsepower depending on the model that the engine appeared in. BMWs carrying the 18i badge, including the E89 Z4 18i and F25 X3 18i received the lowest output 154 horsepower variant. Vehicles that carried the 20i badge received a middle-tier 181 horsepower variant, and vehicles with a 28i badge received the highest-output 241 horsepower variant. The variants also differed in terms of compression, with 18i and 28i variants with a 10:1 ratio and the 20i variant with an 11:1 ratio.

The N20 is widely considered to be a reliable engine that will last many miles if properly serviced and looked after. While it had some pretty serious reliability issues early in its build cycle, mainly with its timing chain guides, post-redesign N20s are often looked at favorably in terms of long term reliability. It is also a pretty modifiable engine, as is the case with most of BMW’s other modern turbocharged engines. With the right bolt-on modifications, the N20 is capable of hitting 350whp+ power figures.

Design and Major Engine Components

The BMW N20 is constructed mainly from aluminum with both the block and cylinder head having aluminum construction. It was designed as an undersquare or long stroke engine, with its stroke being 6mm longer than its cylinder bore, making low end torque the N20’s strong suit. The N20 also uses an open deck design, meaning that coolant passages surround the cylinders, providing additional cooling. The cylinder walls are arc wire sprayed, to create a stronger cylinder wall coating. Most of the N20’s internal components are cast with the exception of the forged crankshaft.

The cylinder head design of the BMW N20 is similar to the one used on the BMW N55, albeit designed for a 4-cylinder instead of a 6-cylinder engine. As a result, the N20 features the third generation of Valvetronic variable valve lift, as introduced on the N55, and a slightly revised version of double-VANOS variable valve timing. 

Arguably the most important design element of the N20 is its twin-scroll turbocharger, as the N20’s turbocharged design plays a massive role in the engine’s efficiency and performance. Instead of using a single turbo or true twin-turbo setup like the one found on other larger BMW engines like the N54, the N20’s twin-scroll turbocharger increases low-end torque, maximizes turbo response, and increases efficiency in nearly every way. The twin-scroll worked well on the N55 and carried over to the N20. 

The N20 also features direct injection, which BMW had previously tested on non-US 4-cylinder engines including the N43 and N13.  

BMW N20 vs B48

While on the surface, the BMW N20 and B48 seem remarkably similar, their overall construction is very different. Both engines are 2.0L turbocharged inline-4 engines with Valvetronic, double-VANOS, and direct injection, however, they are a part of two distinct engine families that differ in a few notable ways. 

The BMW N20 is part of the BMW N engine family, while the B48 is a part of the BMW modular engine family. Overall, the design of the N20 is similar to other N engines like the N52 and N55, while the B48 is almost identical in design to the other engines in the BMW modular family like the three-cylinder B38 and B58 inline-6. That has an impact on strength, with the N20 featuring an open deck design compared to the B48’s closed deck design. 

Most BMW enthusiasts that have driven vehicles with both engines agree that the B48 delivers power more smoothly and is the more refined engine overall, which isn’t a surprise as the B48 is significantly newer. The timing chain and VANOS were moved to the rear of the engine on the B48, reducing oscillations and vibrations which also plays a significant role in its good manners. 

BMW N20 vs N26

Throughout most of this engine page, you’ll sometimes see that we discuss the BMW N20 and BMW N26 engines together and sometimes interchangeably. For the most part, the engines are very similar, almost identical in fact. However, there are a few key differences between them due to the fact that BMW had to adapt the N26 to meet stricter SULEV emissions guidelines for states that abide by them. Despite the emission-reducing changes that BMW made to the N26, BMW claims that they tuned the N26 to provide an identical power output to the N20.

In terms of overall appearance and design, the N20 and N26 are nearly indistinguishable from one another. It takes a pretty keen eye to be able to tell them apart just by looking at them. The most obvious way to tell if your engine is an N20 or N26 is by looking at the emissions sticker on the underside of your hood. If the sticker says ULEV, the engine is an N20. If the sticker says SULEV, the engine is an N26. Simple enough.

Outside of the sticker, BMW had to make some hardware changes to allow the N26 to meet the stricter guidelines. The N26 uses larger 900/600 cells/sqin catalytic converters in comparison to the 600/400 cells/sqin CATs on the N20. According to DINAN, the more restrictive CATs on the N26 throttle it a bit at peak RPM compared to the N20. Additionally, the N26 features metal fuel lines, and a slightly reworked PCV system.

All N26 engines received a electronic wastegates whereas the N20 didn’t get an electronic wastegate until mid-2012. Electronic wastegates allowed for more precise control over the earlier pneumatic wastegates.

General BMW N20 Information & Resources

N20 Engine Specs

Displacement1,592 cc (1.6L) – 1,997 cc (2.0L)
AspirationTurbocharged, twin-scroll
Fuel SystemDirect Injection
Engine BlockAluminum, closed deck
Cylinder HeadAluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, Valvetronic, Dual VANOS
Bore x Stroke84.0 mm x 71.8 mm / 90.1 mm 
Compression Ratio10.0-1 / 11.0: 1
Horsepower168-241 horsepower
Torque (lb-ft)184-258 lb-ft
Redline7,000 RPM

Throughout its relatively short 6-year build cycle, the BMW N20 powered quite a few cars. Despite never receiving a technical update or different engine codes, the N20B20 was released in a number of power outputs, depending on the vehicle application. The horsepower output of the N20 scaled with the badge numbers, with 18i models receiving the lowest output N20B20 and 28i models receiving the highest output N20B20 variant. Here are the vehicles that featured the BMW N20 engine:

N20B20: 115 kW (154 HP) version

  • E89 Z4 sDrive18i (2013-2016)
  • F25 X3 sDrive18i (2013-2017)

N20B20: 135 kW (181 HP) version

  • E84 X1 xDrive/sDrive20i (2011–2015)
  • F25 X3 xDrive20i (2011–2017)
  • F30 320i (2012–2015)
  • F34 320i GT (2013–2016)
  • F32 420i (2014–2016)
  • F10 520i (2011–2016)
  • F10 520Li (2013-2016)
  • E89 Z4 sDrive20i (2011–2016)
  • F22 220i (2014–2016)

N20B20: 160 kW (215 HP) version

  • F20 125i (2012–2017)
  • F10 525Li (2013–2016)

N20B20: 180 kW (241 HP)

  • E89 Z4 sDrive28i (2011–2016)
  • E84 X1 xDrive/sDrive28i (2011–2015)
  • F25 X3 xDrive28i (2012–2017)
  • F30 328i (2011–2016)
  • F32 428i (2014-2016)
  • F10 528i (2012–2016)
  • F34 328i GT (2013–2016)
  • F22 228i (2014–2016)
  • F26 X4 xDrive28i (2014–2017)
  • F15 X5 xDrive40e (2016–2018)

In the section below, we have compiled some of the most commonly cited BMW N20 engine problems. Ultimately, the BMW N20’s reputation for reliability was tarnished a bit by timing chain guide issues on early engines. While that is unquestionably a serious concern, the N20 has shown to be a very reliable engine outside of that issue. Most of the N20’s other common problems are on par with the majority of other modern BMW turbocharged engines, with mostly wear and tear items comprising our list. Outside of timing chain guide failure on pre-2015 N20 models, valve cover gasket leaks, oil filter housing gasket leaks, and chargepipe failure are the most common BMW N20 problems to look out for.

Take a look at the dropdown menu below to learn more about these problems or check out the more in-depth problem and maintenance guides featured below.

BMW N20 timing chain guide problems are one of the most talked-about issues with the BMW N20 as a whole. One thing is for sure, it is potentially the most costly issue that can happen to the N20. The issue boils down to BMW’s choice of material to build the engine’s timing chain guides. BMW used plastic/polymer timing chain guides on the N20, which are known to fail prematurely, causing a number of potentially engine-killing issues.

When the N20 timing chain guides are damaged or broken, it results in excessive movement of the chain and can do damage to surrounding components. More catastrophically, it can significantly disrupt the engine’s timing, causing the pistons to collide with the valves. That’s a full-engine rebuild waiting to happen.

This issue was primarily constrained to N20 engines manufactured between 2011 and 2015, as BMW redesigned the timing chain guides in January 2015. The redesigned parts have proven to last longer than the original parts and reports of N20 timing chain failure have significantly decreased since then. 

For more information, take a look at our dedicated BMW N20 Timing Chain Failure Guide.

Symptoms of BMW N20 Timing Chain Failure

  • Loud Whining from the engine
    • Typically, very loud and noticeable
  • Significant Scoring on Chain
  • Too Much Slack/Play

While N20 timing chain failure is most often attributed to failing timing chain guides, another common cause of N20 timing chain failure is a lack of proper lubrication. Running your engine when it is low on oil, or if the oil hasn’t been serviced in the proper interval, can lead to increased timing chain wear.

If you have some experience with BMW engines, you know that valve covers and valve cover gaskets are one of the most common issues across the board. The BMW N20 is no exception to that general trend. Like some of the other N20 problems on this list, BMW’s build materials are to blame. The BMW N20 engine uses a plastic composite valve cover (VC) and a rubber valve cover gasket (VCG). Over time, and with enough heat cycles, both the valve cover gasket and valve cover itself begin to degrade. 

Once the valve cover and/or gasket develop cracks they will begin leaking oil. Typically, this begins as a minor leak and may not be noticeable until it expands, or additional cracks develop. Obviously, it is a bigger deal if the valve cover itself develops cracks, as it is the more expensive part to replace. 

Unfortunately, cracked valve covers are a pretty frequent occurrence on N20s, especially when compared to other non-BMW engines. Generally speaking, the N20 valve cover gaskets need to be replaced around the 100,000-mile mark, and if you already have the valve cover off, it is worth replacing it around that time as well. That can save you an unnecessary repair in the future. 

Symptoms of Leaking N20 Valve Cover and/or Gasket Leaks

  • Visible oil leak
  • Burning oil smell
  • Smoke from valve cover area
  • Oil on spark plugs
  • Low engine oil light

Most of the time, a minor N20 valve cover/valve cover gasket oil leak won’t cause any serious drivability issues. However, if left for an extended period of time, a sizable VCG leak can cause your engine to lose oil at a pretty significant rate. Running your N20 with low oil for a long time can result in other serious issues like a failing turbocharger. Bad leaks will also result in smoke from the engine bay and a strong oil smell inside the cabin. Ultimately, it is better to take care of oil leaks sooner rather than later.

Oil filter housing gaskets are another common BMW problem that you simply can’t escape on many of the newer turbocharged engines, the N20 included. The N20’s oil filter housing gasket fails in a very similar way to how the valve cover gasket fails, heat and time. That isn’t abnormal, as all gaskets fail after a certain period of time. The issue is that N20 oil filter housing gaskets don’t tend to get a very long lifespan, with some N20 owners reporting that their OFHG failed as early as 30,000 miles. However, they typically last until around 75,000-100,000 miles.

In addition to leaking oil filter housing gaskets, some early model N20 engines had issues with the oil filter housing itself. In some 2011-2012 N20s, BMW opted to use a plastic oil filter housing. In some cases, the oil filter housing itself would crack, allowing coolant to mix with the engine oil. That could lead to overheating and other cooling-related issues down the line. The problem was severe enough that BMW issued a recall for all of the affected models to have their oil filter housing swapped out with a new aluminum one. 

Symptoms of Leaking N20 Oil Filter Housing Gasket

  • Visible oil leak from oil filter housing
  • Burning oil smell
  • Smoke
  • Low oil pressure

All of the most common symptoms of an oil filter housing gasket leak are almost identical to a valve cover gasket leak, albeit stemming from a different location. In most cases, you’ll be able to see the leak coming from the oil filter housing area.

The N20, and a number of other modern BMW turbo engines, like the B58 and S55, are known to have some pretty crumby charge pipes from the factory. The chargepipe is one of the most vital components in the turbo system, as it carries the turbo’s compressed air into the engine. From the factory, BMW uses plastic/polyurethane charge pipes, secured with C-clips. In most cases, at factory boost levels, the stock chargepipe holds up okay, although there have been reports of the N20 chargepipe cracking even at stock boost levels.

The other problem is that the factory N20 chargepipe isn’t secured to the throttle body very well, and they have been known to pop off, venting all of the turbo’s charged air into the atmosphere. Obviously, you’ll notice a massive performance drop if that happens, as the engine is essentially just a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder at that point. The problem is far more common for people running modified N20s pushing high boost. However, an upgraded chargepipe is good peace of mind.

N20 Problems & Maintenance Guides



In this article we’ll simply dive into a bunch of various questions and answers about the BMW N20 engine. If you are interested in learning more about the BMW N20 engine, take a look at our N20 Engine Page which covers everything from specs to popular performance mods to common…
Read More BMW N20 FAQ

We have the most comprehensive resources for N20 performance upgrades. This section includes some of the most popular, cost-effective, and value-focused modifications for the BMW N20 engine. Like many of the other modern BMW turbocharged engines, the BMW N20 is extremely receptive to modifications. As a result, it is possible, and relatively easy to make 350+ whp from the 2.0L BMW inline-4. From tuning information to performance parts suggestions, we have you covered as far as BMW N20 modifications are concerned.

It is also important to remember that modifications will affect different N20/N26 variants differently. For example, tuning will generally provide better gains for EWG N20s than PWG N20s. The same goes for high vs low compression variants of the N20. While all of the following mods are worthwhile regardless of which N20/N26 engine you have, expect some variation in terms of the listed performance gains.

Click on each modification to get a brief rundown of the mod, the benefits, and our best product recommendation. Additionally, we have full in-depth guides for a number of these modifications that you will find within the sections. Furthermore, a list of general performance and modification-related content can be found below, covering power limits, boost levels, and various other N20-specific topics.

An upgraded intake is often our first modification recommendation for anyone looking to gain some additional performance from their turbocharged BMW. An upgraded N20 is both a fantastic building block to begin a build, but also a good finishing touch for an already modified BMW N20. Regardless, it is a great value-for-money modification if you’re after a slight power, performance, and sound increase.

The goal of an upgraded intake is to maximize the amount of air entering the engine. More air flow equates to higher air pressure in the intake plenum which results in more combustibility and slightly more power. While an upgraded N20 intake alone won’t yield very noticable power gains, it will provide some additional benefits that you will notice right away. Faster turbo spool and throttle response are some of the primary benefits of upgrading your N20’s intake from a performance perspective. Others simply want to hear those intoxicating intake sounds a bit louder.

N20 Intake Upgrade Benefits

  • Approx. 5-10whp and torque when stock
  • Faster turbo spool
  • Increased air flow and less restriction
  • Quicker throttle response
  • Enhanced intake induction sound

Best N20 Intake

N20 Intake Guide

If you are looking for an N20 modifcaiton that will yield the best results for the lowest cost, it is impossible to beat a tune. As with most other modern BWM turbocharged engines, the BMW N20 can gain a huge chunk of horsepower from either a piggyback or flash tune. On an otherwise stock engine, a piggyback tune can yield up to 50whp and 100whp on an N20 with full bolt ons. A flash tune can provide similar results with the ability to fine-tune multiple engine parameters that can’t be adjusted with a piggyback tune.

If you aren’t familiar with the difference between an N20 piggyback tune and an N20 flash tune, an N20 flash tune (like BM3 provides) essentially rewrites the factory DME programming. This allows the tune to gain complete control of engine tuning parameters like boost, fueling, timing, and load.

The other popular option is an N20 piggyback tune. Unlike a flash tune which augments the factory DME parameters, a piggyback tune simply changes the boost parameters of the engine and allows the factory DME to sort out the rest. While some people argue that N20 piggyback tuning is inferior, options like the JB4 come with plenty of functionality and have the ability to switch maps on the fly.

Combined with other N20 modifications like a high-flow/catless downpipe, an upgraded intake, and fueling upgrades, a tune can turn your N20/N26 into a 350+ whp animal rather easily.

For more information about N20 tuning, we definitely have you covered. Check out our dedicated N20 BM3 Tuning guide to learn more about N20 flash tuning:

As the most important part of the BMW N20’s exhaust system, it makes sense that you’d want your N20 downpipe to be the less restrictive and best flowing exhaust component too. From the factory, the N20/N26 downpipe has an inbuilt catalytic converter that chokes exhuast flow right after the turbocharger. That is a problem for a few reasons. The main issue is that backpressure builds up right after the turbo, preventing it from operating at peak efficiency. It also limits exhaust flow from continuing into the rest of the exhaust system and out of the engine. An upgraded N20/N26 downpipe has the potential to free up some horsepower and torque while also increasing turbo efficiency.

You ultimately have two choices for upgrading your N20’s downpipe. You can opt for a high-flow downpipe that swaps the OEM cat for a high-flow version allowing for greater airflow. You can also go the catless downpipe route, which removes a catalytic converter altogether. There are pros and cons to each option.

High-flow N20 downpipes are more expensive and do not provide as significant of benefits as N20 catless downpipes. However, they will allow you to pass vehicle inspections in most cases. However, that isn’t a guarantee, as you’ll need a tune to clear the CEL caused by any downpipe upgrade and that might not be enough to satisfy the emission testing centers in your state. Catless N20 downpipes provide the most performance for the lowest price but will cause you to fail emissions testing without a doubt. You can generally expect around a 10-15 whp gain from a high-flow B58 downpipe and a 20-30 whp gain from a catless N20 downpipe with a tune.

Upgraded N20 Downpipe Benefits

  • 10-15whp with high-flow catted DP/20-30whp with catless DP
  • Similar torque gains
  • Quicker turbo spool
  • Better top-end performance
  • Intoxicating sounds

Best N20/N26 Downpipe

N20 Downpipe Upgrade Complete Guide

Ultimately, a BMW N20 front mount intercooler upgrade isn’t the best horsepower-per-dollar modification. With that being said, it is an important upgrade if you intend on doing any performance driving or if you plan on installing additional performance upgrades in the future. That is especially true if you have big mods planned like an upgraded turbo.

In most application, the factory N20 FMIC does a pretty good job at cooling the charged air from the turbo at factory boost levels. However, it only works well for a short period of hard driving and starts to underperform during sustained periods and after multiple pulls. At that point, as the turbo begins to rapidly heat, the factory intercooler can’t keep up and IATs skyrocket.

Since warmer air is less dense, performance suffers as a result. That phenomenon is often refered to as ‘heat soak’ and is precisely what upgraded N20 FMICs were designed to combat. In these scenarios, an upgraded FMIC has the ability to prevent the N20 from losing as much as 20-30whp over the stock N20 FMIC. That makes a huge difference on track.

Keeping intake air temperatures down also has multiple benefits in terms of engine health as well, as it significantly reduces the chance of knock/pre-detonation during hard driving. In addition to keeping intake air temperatures more consistent, upgraded N20 FMICs also improve throttle response and allow you to hit higher boost targets.

Upgraded N20/N26 FMIC Benefits

  • Lower IAT’s
  • More power
  • Higher boost targets
  • Better ignition timing
  • Reduce chance of knock/pre-detonation

For more information on upgraded BMW N20 front mount intercoolers, take a look at out comprehensive guide below.

N20 FMIC Upgrade Guide

As we briefly mentioned in the N20 common problems section, the factory N20 chargepipe is a known point of failure. That is true for a number of modern BMW turbocharged engines. A chargepipe is one of the most crucial parts of the N20’s turbo circuit, as it is responsible for getting the charge air from the turbo to the cylinders. If it fails or gets blown off the throttle body due to excessive boost pressure, none of the boost makes it to the engine.

While N20 chargepipe failure is more common on N20 engines that are running higher-than-stock boost pressure, it isn’t unheard of for the stock chargepipe to fail at stock boost levels. The factory polyurethane pipes simply don’t hold up for very long before failing. As a result, most N20 owners that have a chargepipe fail, or are planning on running higher than stock boost, upgrade their chargepipe to a sturdier aftermarket option.

Aftermarket N20 chargepipes are often made of aluminum, ensuring that you’ll never have a problem with them failing. Additionally, many aftermarket CPs also come equipped with bungs to allow for chargepipe water injection kits if you plan on doing additional fueling modifications in the future.

If you are interested in learning more about N20 chargepipe upgrades, take a look at our N20 charge pipe upgrade guide linked below.

Best N20/N26 Chargepipe

BMW N20 Chargepipe Upgrade Guide

Additional N20 Performance Guides

N20 Bootmod3 Tuning Guide

BMW N20 BM3 Tuning Guide – Info & Horsepower Gains

Bootmod3 (bm3) is one of the most popular tuning options for F and G chassis BMW models. Pro Tuning Freaks bm3 offers a simple web and mobile interface for easy flash tuning. Bootmod3 also offers plenty of OTS flash maps with tons of extra features and options. If you’re in the market for a BMW…
BMW N20 Turbo Upgrade

BMW N20 Upgraded Turbo Guide

The BMW N20 2.0L 4-cylinder is a great engine overall. They’re sporty, efficient, and fairly reliable engines. A tune and simple bolt-on mods can also push the N20 beyond 300whp. Those looking to push things to the next level will need to consider an N20 turbo upgrade. However, pushing the N20 engine too far doesn’t…
N20 Chargepipe Upgrade Guide

BMW N20 Charge Pipe Upgrade Guide

Factory charge pipes are a common failure point on many modern turbo BMW engines. A charge pipe (CP) is in part responsible for carrying charge air (boosted air) to the cylinders. Unfortunately, BMW decided to use a thin, weak plastic charge pipe. The N20 CP is prone to cracking and ultimately failing at higher than…
N20 Downpipe Upgrade Guide

BMW N20 Upgraded Downpipe Guide

BMW’s N20 engine comes from the factory with respectable power and performance. However, enthusiasts often look to simple bolt-on mods for impressive power gains. An upgraded downpipe is one of the best bolt-on mods for the N20. Removing the restrictive catalytic converter from the downpipe helps unleash the N20’s true potential. In this guide, we…
N20 Upgraded Intake Guide

BMW N20 Upgraded Intake Guide

Upgraded intakes are our first mod recommendation for people just getting into modding their BMW’s, but also for people looking to push crazy horsepower. An upgraded intake is the building block to further modification as it provides the engine with the additional air capacity needed for high-horsepower applications. Additionally, it’s a great bang-for-the-buck mod if…
N20 Upgraded Intercooler Guide

BMW N20 Upgraded FMIC Guide

We believe upgraded front mount intercoolers (FMIC’s) are one of the most under-rated mods for the BMW N20. Peak power gains may appear underwhelming for the cost of an upgraded FMIC. However, upgraded intercoolers are excellent on tuned and modded N20 engines. In this guide, we will discuss the many benefits of running an upgraded…

We have an extensive FAQ article that covers performance upgrades, power levels, general maintenance, problems and reliability, and more for the N20. We’ve included a few performance and reliability-related questions below but recommend reading our full FAQ guide for more extensive questions and details about the N20.

  1. How much power can the N20 handle?

    The N20 is capable of handling around 350-375whp on the stock block and internals. Anything above that and we recommend considering various internal and more advanced upgrades, especially forged pistons and rods. Overall, the N20 doesn’t have the best reputation in terms of power potential, at least when compared to other 6-cylinder engines like the N54 or B58. However, 350whp is still plenty of power from a 2.0L 4-cylinder.

  2. How much power and boost can the stock N20 turbo handle?

    While the actual limits of the stock BMW N20 turbo isn’t an exact science, it is generally concluded that around 20-22 psi is the safe limit on the factory turbo without sacrificing a ton of reliability and around 24-26 psi is the ceiling on the stock turbo. With that being said, there are always risks involved with running higher-than-stock boost pressure, so keep that in mind before cranking up the stock turbo to 11.

  3. How reliable is the N20?

    The BMW N20 engine is a pretty reliable engine. Early in its build cycle, the N20 was marred with a couple of serious issues including timing chain guide failure and oil filter housing cracks, but both of those issues were ironed out later. Other than those issues, the N20 faces similar issues to other engines in its class including oil filter housing gasket and valve cover gasket leaks. Overall, the N20 falls squarely in the middle of the reliability spectrum when compared with other modern BMW engines. It is more reliable than the BMW N54 and arguably more reliable than the N55 but less reliable than newer B-Series engines like the B48 and B58.

  4. When did BMW fix the N20 timing chain?

    BMW redesigned the N20’s timing chain guides in 2015 and timing chain issues were much less common on vehicles manufactured after that.

In-Depth FAQ Guide



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In this article we’ll simply dive into a bunch of various questions and answers about the BMW N20 engine. If you are interested in learning more about the BMW N20…
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8020 Media N20 Videos

Other Helpful N20 Videos

Outside Resources

At this point, we have quite a few guides on the BMW N20 – check out all of our N20 content below or use the tabs to find our articles on specific modifications, and so on. However, there is also a ton of good content elsewhere covering the N20. Check out a few of our favorites here:

All BMW N20 Engine Content

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BMW N20 Upgraded Turbo Guide

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BMW N20 Upgraded Downpipe Guide

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