Having caught a glimpse of the 5 Series-flavoured next-generation 3er, the desire to find out just what will power the upcoming M3 has reached fever pitch. With speculation having brought forth theories ranging from a V6 to tri-turbo straight-six, the latest news now suggests that a twin-turbo straight-six will be the engine of choice.
One thing’s for sure, with BMW's large-scale movement towards lower displacement the normally-aspirated 4,0-litre V8 powering the current M3 will not feature in the new car when it emerges towards the beginning of 2014.
According to a report in Autocar, the next M3 will feature an all-new twin-turbo straight-six. This 3,0-litre unit is currently undergoing development at the firm’s M division will reportedly share little, if any, commonality with the company’s N54 and N55 turbocharged units, which feature in a number of models. The report further states that such features as the cylinder heads, engine management system, con-rods and pistons will be unique to this particular powerplant.
The final outputs are about as open to speculation as the nature of the new engine, but it has been suggested that it will exceed the 309 kW and 400 N.m of torque generated by the current 4,0-litre V8. At the launch of the hardcore M3 CRT saloon, BMW’s M development boss, Albert Bierman, hinted at a power output figure in the region of 335 kW. The torque figure is of particular interest, with the report hinting that it may climb up to as much as 540 N.m.
The aforementioned findings are as plausible as those preceding it – adding to the anticipation – but there are still many questions left begging. Will BMW actually attempt to inject even more power into its next M3 in a bid to take on Mercedes and Audi in the never-ending horsepower war between the Teutonic trio, or will the company go the 1 M Coupe route and focus more on lighter kerb weight and a no-frills, purist driving experience? We’ll have to wait (as frustrating as that may be) and see…