VANOS (Variable Nockenwellen Steuerung) is an automobile variable valve timing technology developed by BMW in close collaboration with Continental Teves. VANOS varies the timing of the valves by moving the position of the camshafts in relation to the drive gear. This movement varies from 6 degrees of advanced to 6 degrees of retarded camshaft timing.
VANOS is a combined hydraulic and mechanical camshaft control device managed by the car's DME engine management system. The VANOS system is based on a discrete adjustment mechanism that can modify the position of the intake camshaft versus the crankshaft. Double-VANOS adds continuous adjustability to the intake and exhaust camshafts.
VANOS operates on the intake camshaft in accordance with engine speed and accelerator pedal position. At the lower end of the engine-speed scale, the intake valves are opened later, which improves idling quality and smoothness. At moderate engine speeds, the intake valves open much earlier, which boosts torque and permits exhaust gas re-circulation inside the combustion chambers, reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. Finally, at high engine speeds, intake valve opening is once again delayed, so that full power can be developed. VANOS significantly enhances emission management, increases output and torque, and offers better idling quality and fuel economy.
VANOS was first introduced in 1992 on the BMW M50 engine used in the 5 Series. 
First double VANOS system appeared on S50B32 engine in 1996. Later, BMW added "double" VANOS to its M52tu series of inline 6-cylinder engines, which changed the mechanism from fixed position operation to continuously variable, and added the same functionality to the exhaust camshaft, on a number of its cars. Double-VANOS (double-variable camshaft control) significantly improves torque and emissions since valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts is adjusted to the power required from the engine as a function of gas pedal position and engine speed. On all BMW engines that use single VANOS, except S50B30, the timing of the intake cam is only changed at two distinct rpm points, while on the double-VANOS system, the timing of the intake and exhaust cams is continuously variable through a range of ~40 crankshaft degrees for the intake, and 25 degrees for the exhaust. The advantage of double-VANOS is that the system controls the flow of hot exhaust gases into the intake manifold individually for all operating conditions. This is referred to as "internal" exhaust gas re-circulation, allowing very fine dosage of the amount of exhaust gas recycled.
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