Rolls-Royce celebrates 25 years of excellence with its mtu Series 2000 and Series 4000

Posted on October 27, 2021

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  • The two best-selling mtu engine series celebrate their 25th anniversary
  • Carbon-neutral operation possible from 2023 by using sustainable fuels
  • Over 320  million operating hours

With more than 100,000 engines sold, and with over 320 million operating hours under their belts, Rolls-Royce’s mtu Series 2000 and Series 4000 engines are a real success story. Rolls-Royce is now celebrating the 25th anniversary of these engines which have been setting new standards in their class for a quarter of a century. Rolls-Royce Power Systems has already shipped 52,000 Series 4000 engines and over 65,000 Series 2000s, which are used all over the world in mobile and stationary applications and impress customers with their reliability, efficiency and ever-decreasing fuel consumption and emissions.

When MTU Friedrichshafen (as the company was then known) unveiled the engines at the SMM shipping show in Hamburg in October 1996, they impressed the experts right away. The Series 4000 diesels were the first of their kind to feature common-rail injection as standard – even before this technology became de rigueur in the automotive industry. “The engines were far ahead of their time, and have since been regarded as the industry standard,” said Otto Buecheler, who has been involved in the development of these engines from the very beginning and is now in charge of development for mtu Series 4000 marine engines.

Tomorrow’s internal combustion engines

“Not only can these engines look back on an impressive history, they’re also going to help take Rolls-Royce Power Systems into an even more successful future,” said Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems. Both the Series 4000 and the Series 2000 are to be certified to run on sustainable fuels from 2023. “Sustainable fuels are putting carbon-neutral mobility and power generation well within reach, even using internal combustion engines,” added COO Dr Otto Preiss.

Emissions driving R&D

High performance and high reliability with low emissions are at the forefront of ongoing development work. Most recently, Series 4000 engines for yachts and commercial vessels have reached the pinnacle of emissions regulations with EPA Tier 4 certification. The fact that these emission limits vary depending on engine application and country of use is an additional challenge for developers. “We’re constantly enhancing these engines, and if you look at a Series 4000 or Series 2000 engine today, we’ve redesigned most of the components to meet the higher requirements in terms of power output, consumption and emissions,” said Otto Buecheler. Nevertheless, the engines have retained their typical look and external dimensions, because one thing has always been important to the engineers: the appearance of the engines, and thus the interfaces to customer applications, were to change as little as possible to enable older vehicles to be repowered with new engines.

Diversity makes these engines unique

What makes the Series 4000 engines unique to this day is their versatility. They are used in generator sets for generating electricity, and in haul trucks, luxury yachts and locomotives. The smaller Series 2000 also has a lot going for it, including its wide range of potential uses. Like its big brother, it powers yachts, ferries, construction site vehicles, haul trucks and gensets, which require lower power ratings. The Series 4000 is available with 8, 12, 16 or 20 cylinders, and with power outputs ranging from 720 to 4,300 kW. The Series 2000 is available in 8, 10, 12, 16 or 18-cylinder configurations, and with power outputs ranging from 452 to 1,939 kW. The two engines share a common platform which allows them to be configured easily for their respective applications.

The diesel that’s also a gas

The gas-powered version of the Series 4000 was launched in 1999, just three years after the diesel – as a stationary engine for power generation. The gas-powered Series 4000 made its début in mobile marine applications on 1 July 2020. Since then, it’s been powering two ferries in the Netherlands run by operator Doeksen. The mtu gas engines come in considerably below the limits imposed by current emission standards (IMO III) even without exhaust gas aftertreatment – indeed particulate mass is below detectable levels. They emit zero sulfur oxide and only small quantities of nitrogen oxides.

Use in hybrid systems for more efficient propulsion and drive systems

In future, one focus of engine development work will continue to be minimizing pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to releasing the engines for sustainable fuels that enable CO2-neutral operation, the increasing use of the 2000 and 4000 series engines in hybrid systems is also an important development goal. In fact, extremely efficient propulsion and drive systems can be achieved by adding electric motors and battery banks. “The Series 2000 and Series 4000 are not just successful products right now, we also want to move with them into climate neutrality and refine them so sustainably that we can celebrate their half-century in 25 years’ time,” concluded Schell.

Further information on these series plus background details, portraits and supporting information can be found on the anniversary page at

Press photos are available for download at

About Rolls-Royce Holdings  plc

  1. Rolls-Royce is at the forefront of propulsion and energy solutions that connect, power and protect society. We are committed to making our operations 'net-zero carbon' by 2030. We joined the UN's Race to Zero campaign in 2020 and have committed to ensuring that our new products are net-zero by 2030, and that all our products are net-zero by 2050.
  2. Rolls-Royce Power Systems is headquartered in Friedrichshafen in southern Germany and has approximately 9,000 employees. The product portfolio includes mtu-branded high-speed engines and propulsion systems for ships, power generation solutions, heavy land and defense vehicles, rolling stock and vehicles used in the oil and gas industry, as well as diesel and natural gas systems and battery containers for mission-critical, standby and prime power requirements, combined heat-and-power facilities and microgrids.
  3. Rolls-Royce has customers in over 150  countries, including 400+ airlines and leasing companies, 160 armed forces and navies, and over 5,000 energy and nuclear power customers.
  4. Annual revenue in 2020 was £11.76  billion, £1.25  billion of which was invested in research and development. The company provides assistance to a worldwide network of 28 university technology centers, giving Rolls-Royce engineers a direct link to cutting-edge scientific research.
  5. Rolls-Royce Holdings  plc is a publicly traded company (LSE:RR., ADR: RYCEY, LEI: 213800EC7997ZBLZJH69).


Silke Rockenstein Spokeswoman Trade Media
+49 7541 90 7740