At the moment, the current BMW M140i, a fan favorite among BMW enthusiasts, is a great little sports car but it’s isn’t a proper performance car. Sure, its 340 hp from its 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six helps it get from 0-60 mph in about 4.5 seconds and that’s quick. But it’s more Audi S3 quick, rather than Audi RS3 quick. There’s word, though, that BMW wants to push the M140i upmarket in terms of performance and have it take on the faster Audi.
The Audi RS3 is the primary target apparently, which is more powerful and quite a lot faster than the current M140i. With a 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder, the RS3 makes 400 hp and gets to 60 mph in about 3.7 seconds. So it’s a little rocket ship.
Now, BMW might have a hard time reaching that with the M140i, which is why this move upmarket might not happen. The reason that’s tough for BMW is the layout of the M140i. It’s going to be front-wheel drive-based this time, likely with all-wheel drive as-standard, so that means BMW needs to use a transverse engine layout, rather than its typical longitudinal layout. The only engines BMW has that are compatible with this chassis layout are little turbo three and four cylinders.
We’ve heard that the next BMW M140i will use a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, likely a tuned version of the B48 engine in most current Bimmers, which will make around 300 hp. That’s not enough to take on the 400 hp rocket-sled that is the RS3. So we’re not so sure BMW will be able to tune that engine up to make enough power to break into the three-second range to 60 mph.
If the new car is significantly lighter than the old one and can push around 350 hp, with all-wheel drive, it should be able to be faster than the old car. But faster than the RS3 or even the Mercedes-AMG A45? That’s a tough one.