The current BMW M3 is available only as a coupe or convertible, powered by a 4.0L V8 with 414 horsepower but when the next generation arrives sporting the look of the newest BMW 3 Series, it will be powered by a turbocharged inline 6 engine. The folks from BimmerPost spoke with Mr. Ludwig Willisch, President of BMW North America, who confirmed that the next generation BMW M3 would pack an inline 6 and not the V6 that was rumored to be the next M3 engine. Mr. Willisch did not go into any further detail but he did confirm that the company had been looking at a V6 but instead would go with a new inline 6.
Rumors indicate that the next generation BMW M3 (F80 sedan) will feature a twin- or even tri-turbo configuration with an output somewhere in the range of 450 horsepower. If you look at the previous increases in power from generation to generation, there were increases of 48 horsepower from the first (E30) to second generation (E36), 93 horsepower between the second and third generation (E46) and 85 horsepower from the third generation to the fourth/current generation (E90) M3. If the next generation (F80) BMW M3 “only” packs 450 horsepower, it will pack just 36 more ponies than the current V8 model so if Ihad to guess – we would expect the power to be at least around the 470 range. This would allow the lightweight sport sedan to take a good shot at the likes of other high performance sedans like the Dodge Charger SRT8 and the Cadillac CTS-V.
The BMW M3 entered the world as a high performance 4 cylinder car in 1986 but by 1992, the M3 was powered by an inline 6 cylinder engine and it was that engine which became synonymous with the M3 name. From 1992 to 2006, the BMW M3 used a variety of high revving inline 6 engines to become one of the most well known performance models sold in the world; competing with (and often beating) models featuring larger engines with the relatively small BMW 3.0 and 3.2 I6 mills. However, when the 2007 BMW M3 was introduced it did away with the I6, instead using a new 4.0L V8 to churn out 414 horsepower and 295lb-ft of torque. The V8 M3 continued to be one of the top performance models in the world but some diehard BMW enthusiasts were unhappy that the German automaker had gone away from the I6 engine that had been such a big part of the M3’s success and popularity.
BMW purists will likely be happy with the reintroduction of the inline 6 engine to the BMW M3 and the continual increases in braking, suspension and chassis performance capabilities should make the new M3 an incredible sport sedan – regardless of how much power the new turbocharged 6 cylinder engine offers.