The I-6 has been an integral part of BMW’s history for over a century, making it nearly impossible to describe the brand without mentioning the beautiful engine.
Until the end of the war, these engines propelled German fighter aircraft, and shortly afterward, a bigger I-6 sent a plane to a record altitude of almost 32,000 feet (9,754 m). After World War I, German aircraft manufacture was banned, so BMW shifted its focus to motorcycles and cars.
BMW’s first car was the Dixi, which was bought from Automobilwerk Eisenach company in 1928 and was their first car after World War I. The Dixi used a straight four-cylinder engine, and it had to be imported from England because there were no German engines powerful enough for the vehicle. This is why they decided to go with straight-six engines to use their existing production lines and reduce costs.
In 1931, BMW’s first real car was unveiled. However, it wasn’t until BMW’s 303 model in 1933 that the I-6 was first put to use in a vehicle.
In the late 1960s, BMW had a choice of two engines for its new 3-series vehicle. The first option was a straight 4 engine, which boosted fuel efficiency and high torque, but poor acceleration on hills and heavy vehicles. The second option was a straight 6 engine, which provided superior acceleration on hills and in mountainous regions of Europe, so straight-six was again a better solution.
Another iteration of the I-6 was launched in 1968 by BMW, which began to look more like a modern engine. The smoothness of the 12-counterweight forged crankshaft, backed by seven main bearings, was further increased by the MO6 family’s overhead camshaft.
BMW used and will continue to use the inline 6 engine for many reasons. Performance and stability are the clear, obvious reasons, but we think there is another important reason.
BMW is connected to the straight-six engine. It is a long relationship between them, and the fans actually like it! BMW is making a brand integration between its name and the straight-six engines. This long hood of the BMW is unique and creates the identity of the BMW.
Why do you think BMW is using straight-six engines? Tell us your opinion!