BMW’s naturally-aspirated M group engines are legendary. From feisty four-cylinder engines and sonorous straight sixes, the Munich-based manufacturer has evolved its line-up to high-revving V8s and shrieking V10s. That’s all about to change – for the sake of saving the planet…
By Kyle Kock
Emissions standards have become increasingly stringent in the developed world and global concerns about high fuel consumption have sparked a mass “engine downsizing” attempt by manufacturers to clean their acts up.
According to a report by , M division chief executive Ludwig Willisch confirmed that the next generation M3 (due in the next four years) will be forced to ditch its current 309 kW 4,0-litre V8 in favour of a turbocharged six-cylinder unit.
Willisch hasn’t indicated if the new six-cylinder engine will feature a single or twin turbos, but did reveal that it will not be based on the 3,0-litre twin-turbocharged inline-six currently doing service in the 135i and 335i.
According to a report, the first engine change is likely to take place in the M versions of BMW’s X5 and X6 ranges. A new twin-turbocharged 4,4-litre V8, which will be more powerful than the 5,0-litre V10 in the current M5/M6, has also been earmarked for the next-generation M5 super saloon.
Some reports suggests power outputs in excess of 400 kW and 700 N.m of torque for the new powerplant. The next M5 is only due in two years’ time, but an BMW M division insider told that its engine will be “more than a tweaked version of the standard 4,0-litre V8”…. In fact, the seven-speed M-DCT double clutch transmission from the M3, brake generation and BMW’s thermal electric generator technology should also be incorporated.
A high performance M-badged 1 Series will also make production, and though it isn’t likely to be named M1 out of respect to the 30-year old mid-engined icon, BMW executives are confident it will succeed the first generation E30 M3 with a turbocharged four-cylinder unit expected to produce in excess of 200 kW.
Audi was out of the starting blocks quite early in bringing forced-induction into the “maximum power, minimum emissions” game (evident with the S4. BMW isn’t far behind, and Affalterbach’s boss Volker Mornhinweg is on record that Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division will simultaneously boost power and cut emissions.
Evidently, the European power game is far from over. In fact, the Big Three German luxury car manufacturers (and any others who care to enter the melee), are determined to be the fastest, AND the greenest, on the block.