• Mar 19, 2009
With new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards looming on the horizon, automakers are in the process of developing engines that strike a balance between ultra-efficiency and high-performance. Aware of the challenges ahead, BMW has begun development of the next generation 3 Series and 1 Series, both due for a redesign in 2013, and according to Ludwig Willisch, BMW's M division CEO, new turbocharged engines are on the horizon for the next M3 and 1 Series M (not, we repeat not, to be dubbed the M1).

A turbo'd six-cylinder will likely replace the 4.0-liter V8 currently fitted to the M3, although BMW hasn't decided if it will use a straight-six or a V6 powerplant. Willisch told Motor Trend that the new engine won't be based on the current 3.0-liter inline six currently employed on the 335i and 135i, and it's still too early in the development process to say which configuration will be used. BMW recognizes the inline-six's light weight is a plus, but packaging constraints may required the use of a V6. Either way, the next M3 will be wider, but Willisch insists, "Engines don't need to be more powerful for the next car. As long as you have lighter weight, you have better performance." Although the idea of a V6-powered Bimmer will surely send the marque's faithful into bouts of rage, weight reduction is the future, and to us, it's music to our ears.

As for the 1 series, there won't be an M version per se, but BMW's in-house tuning division wants to recapture the magic of the original E30 M3 by developing a smaller, lighter coupe to slot in below the next M3. As reported previously, a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder will likely power the new coupe, and according to Willisch, the automaker is aiming for something that puts out around 300 hp and weighs around 2,860 pounds (think RWD VW GTI).

Traditionally, the M variants arrive about a year after the new models are introduced, so expect the next M3 and 1 Series M to debut sometime in 2014.

[Source: Motor Trend]


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  • 40 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hoping Diesel Turbo'd fours and sixes could power future BMW M machines
      mda571
      • 5 Years Ago
      The more things change, the more they stay the same.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks like CAFE is having its impact on a global scale. Makes Ford's decision to build 750,000 EcoBoost (GTDI) engines a smart move and a little ahead of BMW. To meet emissions and Cafe rqmts, you'll see more auto makers moving to this same conclusion - drop V8's in favor of Turbo DI I4 and V6's - I guess Ford really does have a better idea, slightly ahead of the competition too!
        • 5 Years Ago
        And, what about Saab's 2.0 and 2.3 liter Turbos. They make a nice little engine, even though it wasn't originally theirs. My 9000 Aero makes 225 HP, 258 lb-ft (from 1900 RPM to redline), and gets 30 MPG. I'd love to see an engine similar to that in an e30-type car. Something that weighs less than 3000 lbs, and that's RWD.

        On another note, my dad's e30 M3 is the single best handling car I've driven. I haven't driven everything, but that car and its 200HP 4-cyl is more fun than the numbers make it out to be. Truly a classic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Greg Aryous: Looks like you're forgetting the twin-turbo in the 335's and 135's Bmw was well ahead of the game there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "1 Series M"? I for one welcome our new awkward moniker wielding overlords?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Audi/VW have done all sorts of good things with direct injected turbos (TFSI). And BMW is known for advanced valve timing technologies. I see nothing wrong with this.
      (yay, I'm an armchair engine designer)

      Alex:
      By future ///M machines you mean SUVs and CUVs, right?

      Behold the dilution of a badge. :(
      Carlos
      • 5 Years Ago
      A turbocharged 4 cylinder 1 series has me salivating. I know this sounds like heresy but I'd like to see BMW introduce a TTV6 for their M3.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "recapture the magic of the original E30 M3 by developing a smaller, lighter coupe to slot in below the next M3. As reported previously, a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder will likely power the new coupe, and according to Willisch, the automaker is aiming for something that puts out around 300 hp and weighs around 2,860 pounds (think RWD VW GTI)."

      I normally don't have much regard for BMW products, but I'm gonna keep an eye open for this one!
        • 5 Years Ago
        that would be about 500 lbs less than the GTI and 100 more hp

        think porsche cayman s
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fine by me. The E30 M3 used a four-banger, and it's personally my favorite of the whole M3 line. I will be watching out for this 1 series M, for sure.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder what fan reaction will be like in a few years IF BMW has to drop the inline 6 for a V6?
        • 5 Years Ago
        'I wonder what fan reaction will be like in a few years IF BMW has to drop the inline 6 for a V6?'

        Torches, pitchforks and a noose.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lots of whining and complaining. I'll be among the first and the loudest.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't have a problem with any of those plans. As long as they keep the weight down, as they seem to be keen to do already, things should be good! and as long as they can match the salt-flats-flat torque curve of the 4.0L V8
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good good for turbo i6 and lightness, it's what the m3 used to be and should always be.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There is no replacement for displacement... again, I'm all for lightweight cars, but big powerful naturally aspirated V8 and V10s would also have a place in my heart.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "There is no replacement for displacement"

        This is a German sports coupe NOT a muscle car. With smaller displacement cars like the TT-RS providing better acceleration and significant weight savings (500lbs) vs the current M3, it wouldn't hurt BMW to take a FI approach, provided they pair it with a return to light, driver focused cars - not the ugly gimmicky products which have lead to their largest profit decline on record.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "There is no replacement for displacement."

        Ha! My Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo is a 4L straight 6 and puts out 270kw & 530Nm, more than the 6L V8 in the Holden Commodore SS... as it uses less fuel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        the v8s and v10s are perfect in the m6 and hefty m3

        a bmw without at least the option of a inline 6 would take some getting used to
        • 5 Years Ago
        "There is no replacement for displacement"

        Wasn't that just marketing spin designed to cover up the fact that big block V8's only kicked out 200 hp. Much as I love big engines, I'm sure that these turbocharged replacements will sound almost as good and pull just as well, the 335i does anyway.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @zamafir

        Turbo boost acomplishes exactly the same think as more displacement, that is burning more mixture without increasing the rpm, it only does it in a less efficient manner.

        GT-R engine produces (almost) 500 hp but weighs 50% more than LS7, ocupies far more space with all the piping, it is more expensive, and guess what? it consumes more fuel as well.

        And please give me a break with TT RS performance, this sort of car looks good in photoshoots, but nobody will notice it at the track.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really have to strongly disagree with this.

      So many posters accusing the M3 for being overweight and bloated. But have any of you actually driven one?

      I've driven a couple of M3's. And I don't mean I took em for a spin around the block. I flogged them on the windy backroads.

      I never thought a car could have dual personalities. But with the press of a button can turn a smooth, comfortable highway cruiser into a screaming supercar. Overweight? This car moves like an athlete.

      The car sold itself, and I have not been able to get it out of my head. It is the best car I've ever driven. Now that the incentives are so good I'll finally be putting one in my garage.

      I don't want a lightweight, turbo'd M3. Save that for the 1-series super sport.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed.
        As an ardent fan of the S2000, I will say that even though small, turbo'd, torquey engines are really good; the feeling of a high-revving N/A unit is pure ecstasy. This is why I dont want a twin-turbo M3, but a high-revving I6.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am actually inclined to agree, but looking to the future, they need to stop adding weight at some point, or the laws of physics will finally kick in. Each generation handles better, but also has less road feel.

        Personally I'm very strongly opposed to dropping the inline-6, but if they can retain the smoothness with a V6 or inline-4, go for it...
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