I've been playing around with our new 335i and found a few interesting bits. One thing I noticed, after much datalogging, probing and head-scratching is its boost control system. It's pretty unique. I haven't seen anything like this employed before in any turbo application, twin turbo or otherwise.
Unlike other turbo systems (evo included) which have a positive mechanical wastegate pressure (that keeps the wastegate normally shut); the wastegates on the turbo are designed to remain fully extended in its natural state. This means if you disconnected all forms of boost control, the 335i runs 0psi of boost. On the other hand, if you do this to an EVO, it will run 11psi of boost. To get more boost in the EVO, the factory boost control solenoid bleeds off the wastegate pressure so the wastegate stays more shut. If the wastegate signal hose, for some reason, were to pop off or rupture, the wastegate would get no boost signal, and you'd get an engine-grenading overboost condition.
With the BMW, to get more boost, it regulates a *VACUUM* signal to pull *CLOSE* the naturally open wastegate. During normal off-boost driving, the wastegate is fed 10" of vacuum which keeps the wastegate partially open. During WOT, but before full boost is reached, the wastegate is fed 20" of vacuum, which completely closes the wastegates for maximum boost response. Once full boost is reached, the wastegate sees 3-5" of vacuum used to regulate the wastegate opening for sustaining the desired boost. Once fuel cut is reached, the clever folks at BMW decided that boost needs to go to 0psi so as to not result in a big, uncivilized "bang bang bang" against the rev limiter. To do this, it cuts all vacuum to the wastegates and they go fully open (no boost!).
The upside to this approach, as i see it at least, is as follows:
1) During start-up, the wastegates are open and the turbos are effectively bypassed. This means that much of the hot exhaust coming out of the engine doesn't go through the turbine wheel and cool off. Instead, it goes right out the wastegate and right into the catalyst. This gets them up to temp quicker and makes the boys at the EPA happy. This also means that BMW can push the cats back downstream a little bit instead of cramming them right up against the turbo where backpressure effects are most deleterious.
2) There is no way to induce an overboost since the natural state of the wastegate is fully open. In other turbo cars, something as simple as a wastegate line rupture will cause the car to overboost.
3) Its just cool engineering.
The downside to this approach, as i see it at least, is as follows:
1) It requires the use of a separate vacuum tank that needs to be smuggled under the hood somewhere. This takes up a little bit of space and costs extra money. Not much but we all know how OEMs like to shave off every extra bit of material and cost.
2) It confused me for a good part of the morning.