Words are being exchanged that BMW’s in-house performance tuner, M GmbH, will most probably let the 4.0 litre V8 from the current M3 lose, to make way for a turbocharged 6 cylinder engine to power next M3, although the cylinder arrangement of the new engine is unknown, meaning it can either be arranged to form an inline 6 or a V6. An inline 6 may prove to be lighter, but V6 is more space friendly.
The next powerplant would be completely new, and not just an updated version of the current 3.0 litre 6 cylinder engine found in the 335i and 135i. An executive from BMW also commented that new engine may not even produce as much horsepower as the current 4.0 litre V8, but the key is to achieve high a power to weight ratio, with lightweight design implemented into the construction of the engine and the body structure.
The usage of a V6 configuration is currently being debated internally as according to BMW M president Ludwig Willisch, a V configuration would allow a more compact installation compared to an inline-6. It looks like BMW is beginning to abandon all that it used to be famous for in favor for things that make more sense.
First went the pure normally aspirated line-up, then soon even the M models will go turbo, beginning with the X5 M and X6 M. If the new M3 ends up having a V6, you can expect the V6 to trickle down the product line replacing the I6 engines. What next, a switch to front wheel drive? Probably not until another competitor does so, but it would be a sad day for RWD purists!
The next high performance 1 Series, on the other hand, will most probably feature a twin-turbocharged 4 cylinder motor. This high performance 1-Series that will not feature the M designation will be positioned as a baby M3, and will offer what the classic E30 M3 offered during its time, which is a cracking motor in a small body.