BMW SULEV – What Is It? [Benefits, Problems, and the Warranty]

Because of the state’s high pollution levels, California has the most stringent car emission regulations. BMW is the first automobile manufacturer to introduce a technology that meets the state’s pollution criteria. SULEV is the name of this technology. What exactly is BMW SULEV?

BMW SULEV or Super Ultra-low Emissions Vehicle automobiles are built using SULEV technology. This technology is the automakers’ newest attempt to make their vehicles emit 90 percent fewer pollutants than regular gasoline-powered cars.

Not all BMWs are SULEV vehicles. The majority of BMW vehicles are LEVs. The acronym LEV stands for Low Emission Vehicle. It’s worth mentioning that the majority of BMW vehicles pass the regulator’s low-emission standards.

Continue reading to learn more about what SULEV on a BMW signifies, as well as the BMW SULEV warranty and BMW SULEV issues.

BMW SULEV – What Is It?

bmw sulev

SULEV stands for Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle. BMW and other automakers were compelled to create a technology that reduced emissions from their vehicles. This accelerated the advancement of such technology.

Also, SULEV is a classification system for vehicles that emit 90 percent fewer emissions than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. BMW was the 1st of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers to develop this technology.

BMW does not manufacture all SULEV automobiles. However, practically all of their vehicles are low-emission vehicles or LEVs. BMW’s whole model range is capable of meeting the law’s low emission targets.

SULEV technology has no effect on the performance of an automobile. This technology focuses on the evaporative system of the gasoline tank as well as other volatile vapor emissions, including car warranty. Therefore, it doesn’t have anything to do with engine performance.

How can you determine if your BMW is a SULEV vehicle? Look behind the hood to see if your BMW is a SULEV vehicle. The word ‘SULEV’ will be visible anywhere in the engine block of a SULEV engine. It’s a BMW N51 engine if you see this word. Your engine is a BMW N52 if you see the word ‘LEV’ instead. You may also know if your BMW is a SULEV or LEV by checking the VIN (vehicle identification number).

SULEV Technology – Why Did BMW Develop It?

Because of the abundance of dangerous particles in the environment, the concept of a super clean car engine was born in California. This state considered enacting a law controlling car emissions of particulates in order to keep its metro areas clean.

As a result, SULEV technology was created. On a BMW, what does SULEV mean? This term refers to a vehicle that emits extremely low levels of pollution. Only vehicles capable of emitting 90% fewer emissions are permitted to use this label. In the early 2000s, it swiftly became the industry standard.

The BMW engineers in Bavaria, Germany, immediately stepped up to the plate. Eventually, they developed SULEV technology, which addresses the challenge of 90 percent lower emissions for automobiles. They began installing it in their BMW E46 3-series in 2003.

SULEV Vehicles and How BMW Developed Them

BMW was the first to meet the SULEV requirement when it was adopted in California. They did not, however, create a completely new engine. They understand that the law only requires them to meet the new, more stringent emission standards.

Instead, they modified their current vehicle lineup. BMW’s first overhauled engine was the renowned M54. This was the go-to model at the time, allowing BMW to make the necessary improvements. This engine was the simplest for them to convert into a SULEV.

BMW renamed the motor the M56 when it was reworked as a SULEV. They employed it as a power source for SULEV-compliant vehicles in the United States. However, as time passed, BMW discovered various flaws in the M56.

Because of the emission standards, the M56’s design is more complicated than the M54’s. However, it shared many of the same flaws as the M54. The M56’s problems, on the other hand, are more expensive to fix.

BMW 3 Series Lineup w/ SULEV

bmw sulev review

SULEV engines are found in a number of BMW automobiles. The models in the various series have evolved throughout time. However, rear-wheel drives are the best in terms of overall performance and fuel economy.

Different body types and powertrains are available for the BMW 3 series. The Gran Turismo hatchback, the wagon, and the sedan are among them. The BMW 4 series, which includes a convertible and a coupe, is also available.

Rear-wheel drive is standard on all BMW sedans. The xDrive is offered in the all-wheel-drive variant. The 8-speed automatic transmission is another standard feature. For individuals who wish to be more active when driving, there are 6-speed manual models available. The 340i, 340i xDrive, 320i, and 328i all have manual transmissions for the same price.

How Does a BMW Car Become a SULEV?

If a BMW car is built with this technology and meets the regulator’s strict emissions laws, it is classified as a SULEV vehicle. It will also include the following features:

1. Intake System

The air box of a SULEV car’s intake system has been updated. It also comes with an extra carbon-lined filter. This filter prevents extra hydrocarbon from entering the atmosphere and polluting it. This system also includes more components and more difficult installations.

2. Fuel System

SULEV technology features a completely closed fuel system with all components integrated. It has a closed gasoline tank with an integrated fuel pump and a ‘long-life’ fuel filter. So, if the fuel filter or pump breaks, you must replace the tank and everything inside it.

3. Engine Cooling

There are also different components in BMW SULEV automobiles compared to regular cars. A SULEV car’s radiator, for example, is different. It features a manganese dioxide coat that is unique. An integrated sensor is also placed into the radiator’s core. If you utilize a traditional radiator in a SULEV vehicle, you will receive codes that will only cause you confusion.

4. Exhaust System

SULEV cars differ from conventional vehicles primarily in their exhaust system. At the end of the exhaust manifold is a catalytic converter. Before it can reach its maximum efficiency, this catalytic converter must be warmed up.

As soon as the system reaches its maximum operating temperature, it is designed to burn the greatest amount of residual particles possible.

Features and Specs of the BMW 328i xDrive SULEV

The 2016 BMW 328i xDrive SULEV 4-door All-wheel Drive Sedan model is one of the most popular automobiles in the BMW SULEV lineup. It’s from the BMW’s 328 series.

Its specifications and features are as follows:

Essential Specs

  • Drive Type – All-wheel drive
  • Transmission – 6-speed manual w/ OD transmission
  • Engine – 2L gas engine, I-4
  • HP – 240hp at 5,000 RPM
  • Torque – 255 lb.-ft. at 1,250 RPM
  • Gasoline Fuel
  • 15.8 gallons fuel tank capacity
  • 22 mpg city, 34 mpg highway (EPA mileage estimated rating)
  • 900-pound payload
  • 19.2 inches turning radius

Standard Features

  • Seat trim: Sensatec leatherette
  • 17in. silver aluminum wheels
  • ABS & driveline traction control
  • Front air conditioning and dual-zone automatic
  • Windshield wipers (rain-sensing)
  • Rear air conditioning with separate controls
  • Heated mirrors
  • LCD monitor (1st row)
  • AM/FM – HD/Satellite-prep and seek-scan radio
  • Driving lights – front fog
  • Remote keyless entry – keyfob for all doors

In terms of drivability, the BMW sedan and wagon are as good as you’d expect from a BMW. Nothing in the BMW’s lineup compares to the Gran Turismo in terms of comfort. It has better stability than a tall crossover.

With its 2-liter turbo engine, the 328i model offers a precise manual transmission. Also, it has a top speed of 60 miles per hour in under 5.7 seconds. At 1,250 RPM, maximum torque is achieved. With the basic 8-speed transmission, this car performs admirably. If you desire faster shifts, switch to Sports mode.

The 340i is faster than the 328i since it can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds. Driving Dynamics Control is standard on all models, allowing you to select among Comfort, Eco Pro, Sport, or Sport Plus modes. The default setting is Comfort.

For most automobile buyers, the 328i appears to be the best buy. It boasts the best price-to-mileage ratio, as well as the most available power. Here’s a look at the 2016 BMW SULEV 328i in action. This video demonstrates the main specs and features that make this SULEV automobile a good and safe vehicle to drive:

So now that we’ve looked at what SULEV means on a BMW, let’s look at some BMW SULEV issues.

Problems with BMW SULEV

While BMW SULEVs have proven environmentally friendly, their effort to do so has led to several issues. The following are some of the most prevalent BMW SULEV issues reported by owners:

1. BMW SULEV Warranty May Not Be Honored by Dealers

When the fuel pump of a BMW SULEV with only 48,000 miles failed, the owner had a dilemma. The dealer has no knowledge of the warranty, and he estimates that it will cost $8,130 to repair it. However, the car’s current value is only around $11,000.

The problem is that they can’t fix the fuel pump without changing the tank, which is made of stainless steel rather than plastic. As a result, they had to haggle with the dealer in order to have their warranty upheld. Some dealers will claim that the warranty isn’t covered by them. They want to avoid paying a hefty repair bill.

If this occurs, you must insist that the warranty be honored. And, as one BMW SULEV owner discovered when arguing for his warranty rights, geography has no bearing on this warranty.

2. Expensive Repair Costs

specs and review of bmw sulev

BMW car owners have discovered that SULEV repair costs sometimes exceed the value of their vehicles. However, the majority of the parts are covered by the SULEV BMW warranty. This guarantee, however, is not honored in all states.

3. SULEV Cars Have Harder Revs

Some BMW SULEV owners compared the revs of their non-SULEV cars to the revs of their SULEV automobiles. They discovered that non-SULEV revs are easier. With their SULEVs, they didn’t notice the turbo kicking in as it did with their non-SULEVs.

4. Tank and Pump Are Dealer-Only Parts

SULEV pumps and tanks are exclusively available through dealers, according to some BMW SULEV owners. At $6,000 a pair, they’re not cheap. They looked for more economical parts and came across one for $5,500. However, customers must cover the cost of delivery and must install the units themselves.

Warranty of BMW SULEV

SULEV-equipped BMW automobiles are covered by a special warranty. If you are unaware of this BMW SULEV warranty and something goes wrong with your BMW’s fuel system, needing repair or replacement, the dealer or BMW will leave you holding the bag.

All BMW automobiles equipped with SULEV technology come with a 15-year/150,000-mile warranty. That implies you can use this warranty if your SULEV BMW car has less than 150,000 miles on it and if something goes wrong with it that is related to emissions.

However, be warned that some BMW SULEV owners will have to go through a “needle’s eye” to secure this warranty. Why? Repairing this SULEV technology, or anything associated with it, is extremely expensive, as previously stated. It’s the same with its spare parts.

Another thing to keep in mind with the BMW SULEV warranty is that it is not honored in all areas in the United States. California and New York are the two states that honor it. Check Google for information on other states.

Conclusion – Review and Specs of BMW SULEV

SULEV technology is used in BMW cars that are labeled as BMW SULEV vehicles. This technology was created by BMW in order to manufacture cars that are more environmentally friendly. If a BMW car, or any other car for that matter, is equipped with this technology, it will emit 90 percent fewer pollutants than regular gasoline-powered vehicles.

If you decide to purchase a BMW SULEV vehicle, be aware of the following common issues:

  1. BMW SULEV Warranty May Not Be Honored by Dealers
  2. Expensive Repair Costs
  3. SULEV Cars Have Harder Revs
  4. Tank and Pump Are Dealer-Only Parts