The latest BMW 330i engine develops 190 kW and it is expected that the future M3 will be powered by a 310 kW 4,0-litre V8, but there are reportedly other high-performance powerplants, including a 246 kW twin-turbo petrol unit, in store for the E90.

The latest BMW 330i engine develops a whopping 190 kW and it is expected that the future M3 will be powered by a 310 kW 4,0-litre V8. However, there are other high-performance powerplants in store for the E90 lineup - including a 246 kW twin-turbo petrol unit.


CARtoday.com reported on Monday that the 3 Series' new 2 996 cm3 six produces 190 kW at 6 650 r/min and, thanks partly to a magnesium crankcase, is 10 kg lighter than the old motor. Another technical highlight is the introduction of the Valvetronic system, working in conjunction with Double-Vanos and new lightweight camshafts. Included amongst the numerous detail improvements is an electric water pump drawing only 200 watts, which is about one tenth of the power absorbed by a conventional engine-driven pump. The 330i is claimed to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 6,3 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 250 km/h.


However, the 330i is unlikely to remain the most powerful model (with the exception of the M3, which is due in 2007), for the duration of the E90's life cycle. CARtoday.com reported last year that BMW was considering an updated version of the 200 kW 3,6-litre Valvetronic V8 (which currently does duty in the 735i) for the E90. Prototypes of the V8-powered E90 saloon have been spotted but the V8 is by no means guaranteed, insiders say, despite it being a logical model to take on eight-cylinder Audi and Merc rivals.


And, according to a British source, BMW is also working on a twin-turbocharged 3,0-litre six-cylinder powerplant that will be fitted to coupé, saloon and estate versions of the new 3 Series.


The turbocharged 3,0-litre straight six is said to produce around 246 kW - 56 kW more than the new 330i and just 6 kW less than the current's 3,2-litre M3. Apart from Vanos variable valve timing and Valvetronic, the new powerplant reportedly uses two turbochargers - one operating at lower engine speeds to boost low-end torque with the other extending power at the top end.


Badged the 335i, the new model could be fitted with a new double-clutch gearbox (instead of a sequential transmission) and bolt from zero to 100 km/h in under six seconds before going on to a limited top speed of 250 km/h.


It is unclear whether the 335i or 335d (fitted with the European-market 535d's twin turbocharged three-litre diesel engine) will be offered in South Africa. Many BMW fans will be keeping their fingers crossed, no doubt!