Of all the things that have hampered performance over the last two decades, vehicle weight is at the top of the list. Automakers have responded by putting more power under the hood to make up for the extra pounds, and BMW is as guilty as the rest – particularly with its M cars. The first (E30) M3 came packing a 2.3-liter four-pot and was able to put out an astonishing (at the time) 212 197 hp. When the E36 came along a few years later, the cylinder count increased by two and stayed that way through the E46 generation until today, where the new E92 M3 is motivated by a 4.0-liter V8 outputting more than double of the original, but also weighing considerably more.

So what's the next step? BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer is at least aware of this fact and mentioned to Auto Motor und Sport that he'd like to see the next batch of M cars lose a few cylinders, while simultaneously dropping the pounds. He points to the twin-turbocharged inline-six in the 135i, 335i and 535i as a good indication of what the future might hold, particularly in the case of the M-badged variants that would make more use of forced induction rather than upgraded displacement and higher cylinder counts (not that they could get much higher). We can only dream, but with emissions standards increasing across the globe, it's the next logical evolution of the performance breed.

[Source: Auto Motor und Sport via TTAC]