• Mar 27th 2008 at 12:55PM
  • 33
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]


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  • 33 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Actually the 2.3L S14 engine in the M3 made only 192 HP with a catalytic converter and 197 without. It was the 2.5L stroker Evo model that made around 220 hp.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The S14 2.3l in the e30 M3

        early standart e30 M3 Coupe and Convertible
        2,3l 192hp 143kW with cat
        2.3l 197hp 147kW without cat

        late Euro standart e30 M3 Coupe and Convertibel
        2.3l 212hp 158kW with cat
        nearly 10% of the standart e30 M3 production used that engine 1,500 of all 18,000 e30 M3 build (incl special editions and Evo´s)

        M3 Evo I (505build) Coupe
        2.3l 197hp 147kW

        M3 Evo II (500build) Coupe
        2.3l 220hp 168kW

        M3 Europameister (Europen champion 148build)
        2.3l 192hp 143kW

        M3 Cecotto (505 build)
        2.3l 212hp 158kW

        M3 Sport Evolution (600 build)
        2.5l 235hp 175kW
      • 7 Years Ago
      Finally, the concept of downsizing reaches the high end -- and not a moment too soon. The new M3 weighs THREE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIX POUNDS!

      Give us back our 333 HP 3.2-liter six (perfect size, layout, and cylinder count) and stuff it back into the E36 chassis. 0-60 in 4.5 seconds was fine.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Are you serious about that weight? Its only 400lbs lighter than the significantly larger Dodge Charger.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I am indeed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      German cars are heavy. Is this some sort of suprise?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Bring it on.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I wonder if this has anything to do with the new S4 being a 6? Can BMW come up with something original? Oh wait, theres iDrive!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      All I have to say is the "old" 3.0L inline six-powered E46 M3 had one of the most insane exhaust notes ever and is a total blast to drive. Bring back a similar engine!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I love the straight six anyway, Bring it on.
      • 7 Years Ago
      BMW most definitely subscribes to the "no replacement for displacement" theory. It's pretty shameful actually, especially for a company that made the 2002.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yes please! The M3 is a fabulous car, but the creeping weight and driver isolation have really come to a head with this latest generation. The sucker feels *big.* Glad BMW realizes it's time for the pendulum to swing the other way.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's about time. The E30 M3 was perfection. It's about time they got back to making relatively lightweight M cars... especially the M3.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Maybe BMW finally realized their cars are too damned big! The 1 series would be insane with a turbo 4 and a 300 lbs weight reduction.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The E92's V8 is 33 pounds lighter than the E46's inline six, so it's not the cylinders. Look, if you want a light car, buy a Caparo or a Lotus. The days of sub-3k pounders are over; airbags, driver aids, greater rigidity, all this stuff adds up.

      The E36 M3 weighed ~3250lbs, the E46 weighed ~3400, the E92 weighs ~3500 (someone correct me if I'm wrong). The E30 was a great little car, but the M3 (or even the 1) will never be that car again, no matter how much we stamp our feet.

      Since the E36, the car has seen increasingly better power to weight ratios, with fuel economy staying relatively flat, to say nothing of better balance, safety, etc. I dunno, this "cars are too heavy" argument isn't without merit, it just ain't gonna happen.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So besides cutting the cylinder count, are they gonna cut weight and price too?
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