BMW N20B16 Engine Specs, Problems and Reliability

BMW N20B16 Engine Specs, Problems and Reliability

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By Scott Matthew

The dynamic N20B16 petrol 4-cylinder turbo engine has been in production since 2013, representing a driving force in select BMW 3- and 5-series vehicles specifically tailored for the Turkish, Greek, and Vietnamese markets with the 20i index.

Engine Installation in BMW Models

This robust engine found its place in several BMW models:

  • BMW F10 520i: Installed in models from 2013 to 2016.
  • BMW G30 520i: Continues to power models since 2017.
  • BMW G20 320i: Has been the engine of choice since 2018.


Production yearsSince 2013
Displacement, cc1598
Fuel systemdirect injection
Power output, hp143 – 170
Torque output, Nm220 – 250
Cylinder blockaluminum R4
Block headaluminum 16v
Cylinder bore, mm84
Piston stroke, mm72.1
Compression ratio9.0
FeaturesValvetronic III
Hydraulic liftersyes
Timing drivechain
Phase regulatordouble VANOS
Recommended engine oil5W-30
Engine oil capacity, liter5.0
Fuel typepetrol
Euro standardsEURO 5/6
Fuel consumption, L/100 km (for BMW 320i 2012)City: 8.2
Highway: 4.9
Combined: 6.1
Engine lifespan, km~200,000

Most Common N20B16 Engine Problems

While the N20B16 engine offers commendable performance, several persistent issues have been noted by owners:

Oil Pump Performance and Engine Wedging

One prevalent concern involves the insufficient performance of the oil pump, resulting in frequent instances of engine wedging. The loss of elasticity in the oil pump circuit often emerges as a primary cause of engine jamming.

Oil Filter Cup Cracks and Leakage

Another notable issue is the susceptibility of the plastic cup of the oil filter, often paired with the heat exchanger, to crack and cause leakage, potentially impacting engine operation and reliability.

Rapid Fuel Injector Contamination and Vibrations

Fuel injectors are prone to rapid contamination, leading to the accumulation of dirt and subsequent vibrations, affecting the engine’s smooth operation and performance.

Limited Lifespan of Components like Flow Meter and Idle Control Valve

Components such as the flow meter and idle control valve are known for their relatively limited lifespan, posing concerns regarding their durability and consistent functionality.


The N20B16 petrol 4-cylinder turbo engine stands as a hallmark of BMW’s commitment to delivering power, efficiency, and performance in select models designed for specific markets. Its continued integration across BMW’s lineup underscores its reliability and contribution to the driving experience in the esteemed 3- and 5-series cars.

While the N20B16 engine delivers notable performance, persistent issues such as oil pump performance, oil filter cup vulnerability, fuel injector contamination, and limited component lifespan necessitate meticulous attention and maintenance. Owners are advised to undertake timely checks and maintenance to ensure optimal engine performance and reliability.

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