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Car & Driver attempts to predict the future M3 – Our response to this

Featured Posts, Rumors | February 10th, 2010 by 18
2010_bmw_m3_sedan

Looking ahead, the popular magazine Car and Driver attempts to predict the future of the just as popular, BMW M3. The recent rumors around the …

2010_bmw_m3_sedan

Looking ahead, the popular magazine Car and Driver attempts to predict the future of the just as popular, BMW M3. The recent rumors around the brand are placing the future M3 into the “turbo world” where all the M cars will be equipped with turbo-based powerplants.

The subject of a naturally aspirated vs. a turbo-engine has been long debated and the purpose of this article is not to continue that endless confrontation.

So, let’s begin with C&D’s take on the future M3.

BMW has gone direct-injection and turbo crazy, an obsession that should manifest under the hood of the next M3 as a hairier version of the turbocharged six BMW uses elsewhere. That twin-turbo 3.0-liter now makes up to 335 hp in new higher-performance versions of the Z4 and 3-series, and a single-turbo six good for 300 horses replaces the twin-turbo in most other applications. This frees the twin-turbo’s output to head for the moon. Having crossed the 400-hp threshold with the V-8 in the current M3, BMW isn’t likely to go back.

Less than 400 hp is possible, however, if the engineers at M decide to go really crazy. We anticipate an overall lightening of the M3 in its next generation, and if that weight-loss plan is particularly successful, we could see a turbo four-cylinder installed in the next M3. The first M3 was powered by a four-cylinder, and if sufficient performance levels can be achieved in a lighter car, there’s a possibility BMW would go back to a four-pot—which would further slash loads of weight from the engine room. And less weight means less power to achieve the same performance—not to mention better handling.

Pretty fair statements so far and they are certainly on the right track…..with some things. While there is no doubt that the future BMW M3, codename F32, will indeed feature a turbo engine, the odds of seeing a four-cylinder turbo in there is very slim. Even if BMW somehow manages to keep the weight of the next M3 as the same levels as the current one, or even lower by using more carbon fiber elements, the four-cylinder engine will most likely be reserved for a different model……and our bets go on the BMW M1.

Now the question is: will it be the M1 based on the current 1 Series Coupe? Or another M1 to come out the distant future? The E82 based BMW M1, or whichever name will carry, is rumored to be powered by an updated/upgraded N55 engine by the M Divison, but moving to a new 1 Series design in the future and aligning with BMW’s goals to produce smaller, more efficient but still powerful cars, we expect to see an upgraded four-cylinder turbo engine in that particular M1. This automatically fills up a spot right below the M3 and naturally the next model will have to maintain its superiority.

But will it be with a six-cylinder turbo engine or just another upgraded V8 twin-scroll as seen in the X5M/X6M?

The possibilities are indeed vast and truth is that BMW holds the key to this riddle, but we expect to see the BMW M1 Concept at the Geneva Motor Show and based on that, to learn more about the future of M divison.

But here is another thought we have. What if the future BMW M3 will be powered by a high-rev engine  based on the twin-scroll N55? What if we are going to see another “S” labeled engine, but based on the “N” technology?

Is it feasible? Would it work?

Time will tell, but judging based on their track record, BMW is known for pushing the envelope and constantly innovating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=825975013 Carlos Perez

    ill spect a 480 hp turbo inline six and less weigh than the actual one

  • :p

    They should make an I6 similer to the 911 turbo. 500hp+ will rocket this car into ~3.5 second territory

    • Doug

      You mean…. a boxer engine? Or…?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1055790044 Alvin Wong

        I think he just means a straight six that puts out similar performance figures as the 911 Turbo’s flat six.

        • :p

          Exactly.

        • Doug

          Well… what would make it more similar to a 911 turbo than a 335i ?

  • kcsnayud

    uh usually the m3 is 100hp less than the m5 the m5 is gonna have 578 so m3 is probably gonna have 480

  • badger

    As long as BMW continues its Inline 6 to have V-8 power, and V-6 emissions any engine will satify future BMW owners

  • bmwm6

    ooh watch out cadillac your CTS-V is destroyed not that is possesed a threat anyway

  • Doug

    You could combine the high-rev I4 turbo with an electric motor…

  • Babken

    It’s too early to make any predictions.

    • viper

      wow I was hoping ud say something more ridiculous than just being neutral

  • _Auday_

    Weight saving is always a step in the right direction IMO, but how much would they save between I4, I6 and V8. The S65 is already at 200kg which is light enough compared to the M3 total weight of 1690kg. So the weight saving should be focused on the car not the engine.
    my guess is that it would have an I6 turbo and it wont be high revving because once you pass 6000RPM the matrerials and maintinance cost will grow exponentially and BMW being the “money smart” comapny as they are these days cant afford that.

    • Doug

      Probably, if they saved “almost* enough weight to use an I4, the additional savings from using an I4 could make the last bit of difference. I doubt they would take the risk of greening the “pure” M cars too much.

      How are they saving this weight on the body, anyway, fiber-reinforced steel?

  • wazon8

    To be honest I wish M3 e92 stayed with N/A high rev engine. Best option would be improved version of actually applied 4.0 litre V8 going along with mass reduction gaining from extended use of carbon and aluminium. Unfortunately, I preditc that it won’t be the way that BMW will go along. It’s a pity, but I hope that the changes that will be made in inline 6 will be satisfying enough.

    Inline four sounds totally implausible to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1055790044 Alvin Wong

    Engine design won’t really matter as I’m sure BMW will come up with something amazing and mind blowing. They always do.

    I just hope they make the next M3 lighter. BMW’s are starting to take on too much weight and no matter how much power or suspension you do, weight will always prevent you from getting the best performance out of the car.

  • L1ndja

    I have 2 options in mind :
    1st (most plausable) 3.0(or 3.2) inline 6 twin scroll engine with about 440-480hp.
    2nd(not that plausable) a 2.0 inline 4 quad turbo engine with anything between of 350-450hp
    I also think that any of these engines will be matched with weight reduction and several efficient dynamics programs and i think that there is also a possibility that some sort of electric motor will be added.
    I am sure though that the Engine in the new M3 will be the most exciting and maybe even the best engine as the (4.0 V8 of the e92) was in its time.

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