Engine BMW B38

The 1.5-liter BMW B38 3-cylinder engine series has been assembled since 2013 and is installed on cars with front-wheel drive like B38A15, rear-wheel drive like B38B15 and hybrids like B38K15. Also, these units are installed on the Mini: 1.2-liter B38A12A and 1.5-liter B38A15A.

B38 gasoline engines made their debut as part of the i8 coupe hybrid power plant, but conventional modifications soon appeared. By design, there is an aluminum block with plasma-sprayed steel and a closed jacket, an aluminum 12-valve cylinder head equipped with hydraulic lifters and direct fuel injection, Vanos phase shifters on both camshafts, plus a Valvetronic system and a timing chain drive. The engine is supercharged by a single water-cooled Continental turbocharger. It should also be noted the presence of a balancing shaft and a Bosch MEVD 17.2.3 control unit.

B38A15U0: 102 hp, 180 Nm. The engine was installed on:

  • BMW 2-Series F45 in 2015 – 2018;
  • BMW 2-Series F46 in 2015 – 2018.

B38A15U1: 109 hp, 190 Nm. The engine was installed on:

  • BMW 1-Series F40 since 2020;
  • BMW 2-Series F45 in 2018 – 2021; 2-Series F46 since 2018.

B38A15M0: 136 hp, 220Nm. The engine was installed on:

  • BMW 2-Series F45 in 2014 – 2018; 2-Series F46 in 2015 – 2018;
  • BMW X1 F48 in 2015 – 2017.

B38A15M1: 140 hp, 220 Nm. The engine was installed on:

  • BMW 1-Series F40 since 2019;
  • BMW 2-Series F44 since 2020; 2-Series F45 in 2018 – 2021; 2-Series F46 since 2018;
  • BMW X1 F48 since 2017;
  • BMW X2 F39 since 2018.

B38B15U0: 109 hp, 180 Nm. The engine was installed on:

  • BMW 1-Series F20 in 2015 – 2019.

B38B15M0: 136 hp, 220 Nm. The engine was installed on:

  • BMW 1-Series F20 in 2015 – 2019;
  • BMW 2-Series F22 in 2015 – 2021;
  • BMW 3-Series F30 in 2015 – 2018.

B38K15T0: 231 hp, 320 Nm. The engine was installed on:

  • BMW i8 L12 in 2013 – 2020;
  • BMW i8 L15 in 2017 – 2020.

Specifications

Production years since 2013
Displacement, cc 1499
Fuel system direct injection
Power output, hp 102 – 140
231 (hybrid version)
Torque output, Nm 180 – 220
320 (hybrid version)
Cylinder block aluminum R3
Block head aluminum 12v
Cylinder bore, mm 82
Piston stroke, mm 94.6
Compression ratio 11.0
9.5 (hybrid version)
Features Valvetronic
Hydraulic lifters yes
Timing drive chain
Phase regulator Vanos
Turbocharging yes
Recommended engine oil 0W-30, 0W-40, 5W-30, 5W-40
Engine oil capacity, liter 4.25
Fuel type petrol
Euro standards EURO 6
Fuel consumption, L/100 km (for 318i F30)
— city
— highway
— combined
6.7
4.6
5.4
Engine lifespan, km ~300 000

Disadvantages of the B38B15 / B38A15 engine

  • Engines until 2015 suffered from excessive axial clearance on the crankshaft and the thrust bearing collapsed at 50,000 km. And then the design was finalized.
  • The aluminum casing of the water-cooled turbine here is integral with the exhaust manifold and cracks from overheating, which leads to leakage of antifreeze.
  • Like all engines with direct fuel injection, the intake valves are overgrown with soot, which results in floating rpm and unstable operation of the power unit.
  • Weaknesses also include not the most durable catalyst and adsorber valve. Also, at high mileage, failures in the VANOS and Valvetronic systems are often encountered.

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