BMW M CEO: “The naturally aspirated engine is not dead yet”

BMW M | August 17th, 2012 by 8
Friedrich Nitschke Portrait 19 fotoshowImageNew 49eae22b 620215 750x500

In an interview with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, BMW M CEO Dr. Friedrich Nitschke revealed some of the future plans of the M …

In an interview with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, BMW M CEO Dr. Friedrich Nitschke revealed some of the future plans of the M division. Among many topics being discussed, the one that stood out again is the comparison of turbocharged engines versus fans’ darlings, naturally-aspirated units. Surprisingly enough, the M boss says that “The naturally aspirated engine is not dead yet,” despite the current advantages of turbo engines in terms of efficiency and power output.

Dr. Nitschke concludes that at the moment turbocharged powerplants make more sense.

A number almost never revealed in official statements is the M cars sold every year. In 2010, the M division sold nearly 16,000 vehicles, but just a year later, the company saw an increase to 19,000 units. For 2012, the Motorsport group has even higher ambitions: 20,000 units sold, not including the new M Performance Automobiles lineup.

Friedrich Nitschke Portrait 19 fotoshowImageNew 49eae22b 620215 655x436

Another “hot topic” these days is the weight of new M cars. Every single one of the new vehicles that came to market carried a larger mass, and the concerns is that future models will continued down this path. M boss says that the sport division “has to live with the base,” and despite this, the M engineers managed to keep the M5 or M6 at a comparable mass with the top model from AG production cars. Dr. Nitschke is also confident that in the years to come, M will be able to reverse weight spiral. In other words, expect carbon fiber to play an important role in construction of cars and parts.

So why the weight increase though? As we mentioned before, the weight gain is direct proportional with the global safety regulations and requirements. All the auto manufacturers are working hard to reduce weight while continuing to meet all standards. M boss also said that they have a little more freedom than their colleagues in the mass production.

Is the “new” M division more progressive than ever before? “There is of course the question of how far we can electrify the powertrain,” said the BMW M CEO in response to a possible hybrid or electric M cars. “We work closely with colleagues from BMW i and one thing is certain: a full electrification will not work for us because the components necessary for the performance would simply be too difficult.”

So that leaves us with a potential M hybrid. Dr. Nitschke does not exclude this possibility in the next few years, but nothing to announce at the moment.

Recently BMW made waves in the engineering world with their innovative tri-turbo diesel engines that power some of the new M Performance Automobiles. While currently the M folks still manage to achieve performance requirements with two turbochargers for gasoline units, if a need arises for more power, another turbo may be added.

BMW supercar. THE question that always comes up. “We are currently investigating this segment. However, there is no decision at the moment,” concluded Dr. Nitschke. Our take on this: stay tuned and save some money in the next 5 years.

8 responses to “BMW M CEO: “The naturally aspirated engine is not dead yet””

  1. I wish they would build an M1 with a NA straight 6 with 300-400hp and just focus on weight reduction and an intimate driving experience. We want simpler cars again!

  2. Roland Renno says:

    I really hope BMW would come up with a supercar fiited with a normal aspriated engine 4.0 litre revving at 9,000rpm and delivering around 550hp.

  3. Larry Watson III says:

    There is a fairly new material called CARBON CARBON in which pistons can be made without rings and no cylinder wall scuffing, can you imagine finally and engine that would last 2 million miles… don’t worry you’ll get your in line sixes back in production with 1000 HP and 10,000 RPMS soon.

  4. LaMa says:

    not dead yet. this means we got an another 2 years of na engines and then its dead.
    the M3 is the last engine imho in the US that’s not a turbo.
    All other engines are turbo’d !!! 100% soon will be. not dead yet… sure… emphasis on the “YET”

  5. Jim says:

    How about the manual transmission. I’d much rather have a manual, turbo M3 than a NA M3 that’s missing a third pedal.

  6. Mr Bean says:

    Why can’t they go back to making naturally aspirated, rear wheel drive, straight-six engines with a proper manual gearbox?

    Any old idiot can put a turbo 2-cylinder engine into a car to pass the economy tests, but only skilled engineers can do that with a 3 to 4-litre, straight-six, n/a, RWD, manual car. BMW’s are some of the most skilled engineers in the world. Come on, BMW! Make an effort!

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