The BMW 803 was BMW's attempt to build a high-power aircraft engine by "coupling" two BMW 801's back-to-back driving contra-rotating propellers. The result was a 28-cylinder 4-row radial engine, like the contemporary American Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major, but unlike the American engine, due to cooling concerns, the 803 engine was liquid cooled.
With no common crankshaft all of the accessories had to be powered by one engine alone, in this case the rear engine. The supercharger itself used up several hundred horsepower, so the rear prop ended up delivering considerably less power than the front one.
The engine weighed a staggering 2,950 kg (6,490 lb) dry, and 4,130 kg (9,086 lb) fully loaded, displacing a massive 83.5 litres. For all this weight it delivered 3,900 PS (metric hp) (2,868 kW). Although this made it the most powerful German engine design, its power-to-weight ratio was not at all impressive, at about 0.60 hp/lb, comparing rather poorly with other large designs like the Junkers Jumo 222 at 1.04 hp/lb. Specific power was likewise poor, at about 34.4 kW/l, compared to the 222's 40 kW/l, as was specific fuel consumption, at 380 g/kWh (0.63 lb/hp·h), comparable to late generation turboprops.
As with most coupled engines, the 803 never really worked right, and did not enter production.
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