In order to make the W16 and its successor, the W17, look as good as possible, BMW has partnered with the German automaker’s own engine maker, Wankel Engine, to make it all happen.
According to a press release from Wankel, the engine has been made entirely of steel, so it will be lighter than the stock engine and will cost less than the competition.
Wang Zhang, the company’s vice president of engine development, explained that the engine’s design is inspired by the look of a real W16.
“We had to find a way to make an engine that was lighter and cheaper than the market was asking for, and that was to make one from a steel rod, and so we used that,” Zhang said.
The W16, W17 and W16E engines are based on the W20 engine that Wankel used to make BMW’s supercharged V8 in the W15.
Wankel Engine used the same steel alloy as the V8s, so the W160 engine in the E30 is almost identical to the W14.
All Wankel engines have a 1.8-liter six-cylinder, and the W165 uses a 2.2-liter inline-six that produces 180 horsepower.
With the Wankel engine being built entirely of stainless steel, it means the engine is significantly lighter than most of the other parts on the market.
As such, Wankels own W160 and W170 engine are only slightly heavier than a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG.
There is no word yet on the price of the engine, but Wankel says that the W170 and W160E engines will cost $30,000 each, and W165E will be around $35,000.
To make the engine affordable for ordinary car buyers, WanKEls W160 engines will come with a six-speed automatic transmission, a front-wheel drive layout, and a 6.0-liter V8 engine with a peak power of 260 hp.
(It’s worth noting that the new W160s engine is a little more powerful than the engine found in the BMW E30s S63 sedan, so its a welcome upgrade for a budget-conscious buyer.)
The Wankel W160 E30 engine was also a major coup for BMW, and was the only engine in that car that was not sourced from a factory.
Now, Wanikels engine is being used to power the upcoming W16e.
It has been a while since Wankell has been working on a BMW engine, so this deal was an opportunity to finally make Wankel’s own engines a reality.
For more on Wankel Engines, read the companys press release.
You can find out more about the W1600e, W16i, W170, W160, and other W16 engines, including the W175e and W180e, over at Ars Technic.