Recap on 50 years of BMW Turbo Passion.



Thrilling duels, nerve-wracking wheel-to-wheel battles and sensational overtaking manoeuvres: No other race series is as action-packed as the DTM – and BMW’s success story goes back as far as the first ever race, which Harald Grohs won in a BMW 635 CSi in 1984. Discover the raw power of the touring car series in our web special.

Get the most important facts about the tracks and 50 years of BMW Turbo Passion.

The 2019 season marked a new chapter in the turbo era for BMW and the DTM. With around 100 hp more than with the old V8 suction engines, the new BMW M4 DTM is the strongest DTM car BMW has ever built. Even more top speed, even more pure racing: BMW has embarked on the next exciting chapter in the DTM.

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BMW Turbo Power is a motorsport success story – and has been for 50 years. In 1969, Dieter Quester won the European Touring Car Championship with the BMW 2002 TI. The first BMW Turbo in motor racing – the M121 – provided the necessary drive. In line with the Class 1 regulations, turbo technology has arrived in the DTM in 2019. To this end, BMW Motorsport has given the BMW M4 DTM a brand-new heart. The V8 engine is a thing of the past. In its place is a newly-developed turbo engine – the P48.


Despite the 50 years that lie between them, the two high-performance engines have a number of similarities: Both are straight, four-cylinder engines with a two-litre capacity and a turbo charger. In both the BMW M121 and the P48, the sensitive engine components must be protected by a heat shield from the heat emitted from the turbo charger. A mechanical injection pump supplies the engine with fuel in both cases.


The pressure, with which the combustion air is supplied to the engine, can hardly be compared any more. Nowadays, boost pressures of up to 2.5 bar are possible with more than 600 hp. However, the two engines still share their greatest similarity: Both are 100 percent BMW.


The exterior of the BMW M4 DTM is virtually the same as last year. The most striking modifications: The rear wing is far wider than that of its predecessor, while the number plate at the front and the second tailpipe, which was to be found on the left side of the car in the past, have been done away with. There have also been modifications to the aerodynamics. For example, the protrusion of the front splitter has been reduced by up to 90 millimetres. Two new components stand out inside the BMW M4 DTM: A firewall is now located behind the driver’s seat, making the car even safer. Furthermore, the BMW M4 DTM is now equipped with a rear-view camera “as standard”.


All in all, BMW Motorsport has built the most powerful DTM car ever in the BMW M4 DTM, modified in accordance with Class 1 regulations. With 600 hp and a top speed of up to 300 km/h, the BMW M4 DTM is accelerating into a new turbo era.

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The dawn of the turbo era in the 2019 DTM sees BMW Motorsport embark on the next chapter of a success story that already stretches back 50 years. A story plastered with courageous pioneering work, progress, and technical dominance – and one that has culminated in many successes. And that is not all: Turbo has long been a synonym for maximum sportiness, performance and efficiency. Turbo technology has given engines a huge boost, both on the racetracks of this world and in production models. BMW has taken what began in 1969 with the BMW M121 engine in the European Touring Car Championship and has consistently developed and optimised it over the course of half a century – both on and off the track.

BMW was the first European automobile manufacturer to begin production of a turbo. The Munich-based manufacturer was also the first engine supplier to triumph in Formula 1 with Turbo Power and, generating over 1,400 hp, produced performance figures that were unimaginable at the time. BMW Motorsport is also putting its faith in Turbo Power in the current endurance racing flagships – the BMW M6 GT3 and BMW M8 GTE. And now, the BMW M4 DTM is the most powerful DTM car ever built by BMW – thanks to turbo technology.

However, times have changed – and with it the technology. Nowadays, developers focus more on achieving maximum efficiency than maximum power. Despite this, the turbo still remains a thing of wonder. A sound that goes right through you. Technology that leaves drivers and fans in awe and has long since become the stuff of legends. In 50 years of turbo technology, BMW has enjoyed many highs. Then and now, Turbo Power made in Munich has become a hallmark of the brand. The BMW M4 DTM, with its BMW P48 two-litre turbo engine, is on its way to becoming the latest legend.

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BMW's turbo vehicles have always been ahead of their time, whether on the track or on the road. Many of the race cars are legends today and enjoy a fantastic reputation among fans. There is the BMW 2002 TI from 1969. At its wheel, Dieter Quester secured the title of European Touring Car Champion. At that time, the first BMW turbo in racing with the type designation M121 provided the necessary propulsion.

Half a century lies between this original turbo and the new P48 engine for the 2019 DTM season. Nevertheless, both engines have some similarities; both are four-cylinder in-line engines with two litres and a turbocharger. For both the BMW M121 and the P48, the sensitive components of the engine must be protected from the waste heat of the turbocharger with a heat shield. The engineers from the model of 1969 touched 275 hp. In contrast, the 2019 variant drives the BMW M4 DTM with over 600 hp.

Unequalled is the horsepower of another legendary turbo engine. The BMW engine in the Brabham BT52 – designed by Paul Rosche – had 165 kilograms for Formula 1 conditions, although was somewhat overweight. However, it made up to 1,400 hp in qualifying. "Exactly one does not know how much, the measuring scale of the engine brake stopped with 1,280 hp,“ said Rosche. The sheer irrepressible power of the BMW turbo engine catapulted Nelson Piquet into the top Formula 1 spheres in 1983, the Brazilian crowned the first turbo World Champion in history in the elite class of motorsport.

After Harald Ertl won the German Racing Championship in 1978, BMW is also fully into the turbo in the following year. The start is bumpy. Only for the third race can the PS package be delivered from Munich. On the sixth weekend follows the first victory. The title in the championship was no longer winnable. Much more importantly, Rosche and Jochen Neerpasch, managing directors of BMW Motorsport GmbH, discovered early that the potential for a Formula 1 engine was in the turbo engine of 1979. The basis for the entrance into Formula 1 and the later World Championship title was laid.

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BMW M Motorsport.


For almost 90 years, BMW drivers and teams have celebrated successes across the globe. In Munich, the home of BMW M Motorsport, the engineers work hard to ensure this success story continues. Whether in the IMSA or in numerous endurance classics, BMW M Motorsport will compete with top-class rivals once again in 2021.
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