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BMW M3 Competition Package – Click above for high-res image gallery

The writing's been on the wall for some time, but the fate of naturally aspirated M cars from BMW is all but sealed: forced induction is the future and the next M3 will come equipped with a turbocharged engine.

With next year's new emissions standards looming on the horizon, every automaker is looking to improve its fleet-wide fuel economy, and that means performance vehicles will be some of the first to undergo an EPA-mandated makeover.

For BMW, that means turbocharging and start-stop systems, two technologies that will boost the fuel economy of the all-new M5 by up to 25 percent when it goes on sale next spring.

Looking over BMW's current crop of M products, one vehicle stands alone in the induction department, and a source within BMW has told us that the E90/E92 M3's V8 will be the last naturally aspirated engine fitted to an M vehicle. While nearly every automaker has made tremendous strides to nearly eliminate turbo lag, the linear, low-end grunt of a turbo can't compare to the high-revving thrills of an NA powerplant. But the future is here and the future is forced induction.


  • BMW M3 Competition Package (02/2010)
  • BMW M3 Competition Package (02/2010)
  • BMW M3 Competition Package (02/2010)
  • BMW M3 Competition Package (02/2010)
  • BMW M3 Competition Package (02/2010)
  • BMW M3 Competition Package (02/2010)
  • BMW M3 Competition Package (02/2010)
  • BMW M3 Competition Package (02/2010)


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hate intrusive government regulation, but blaming the government for the addition of forced induction is somewhat lame and deceitful. The writing has been on the wall for natural aspiration since DI stratified-charging was made reliable and cost-effective. I love naturally aspirated engines as much as the next guy, particularly the old 2.5L V6s from FIA Class 1 competition, but the benefits of turbocharging have been growing exponentially during the digital age whether it's electronically-controlled boost, variable turbo impellers, or DI.

      We have plenty of reasons to lampoon regulators, but the adoption of turbochargers isn't one of them. Besides, technology may ultimately resurrect natural aspiration if "KERS" systems take a major leap. If a 2.4L six-cylinder engine can make 350hp (with KERS boosting) do you need a turbo? Would you pay a premium to get a turbo if the benefits were negligible?
      hpffallon
      • 3 Years Ago
      Check out the new video Horsepower Freaks released last week on the M3 turbo and EMS. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxEl7yFllWM&feature=player_embedded
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sad to see another NA engine go. It makes me wonder NA engines will soon be a rarity in the future.
      • 3 Years Ago
      That blue color makes for the best looking E92 BMW I've seen. Usually I prefer E36 or E46.

      BMW cars are going nuts.

      BMW motorcycles are veering away from me, as well.

      That seems to be BMW's M-O now... don't do things uniquely well... do them the same way as everyone else, just a bit more.

      The F10 M5, 335i, etc... may be fine cars. The S1000RR is a fantastic bike by the stats.

      But what about someone who wants a 1-series coupe that would be a 3-door mini-6-series. Or who wants a DOHC R1200RS half-faired street-sport boxer motorcycle with a duolever front end...

      What they have done uniquely is fading, as they chase sales stats for revenue.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I guess I won't be buying an M car anytime soon then.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Whatever lol, if you really want a V8 just get the Mercedes Benz C63,now thats a crazy nutter V8. Anyways,dont have much to say about BMW right now,it becoming a Beetle company aka you either Love it or Hate it their cars,no between,that were things are going. Anyways,still like the M3.
      • 3 Years Ago
      That seems like a big shift in what M cars feel like. I wonder how the diehard M fans will react.

      Also, the present is forced induction. The future is electric.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Porsche has proven that there's harmony in offering NA and Turbo powerplants. BMW should consider doing the same.
        • 3 Years Ago
        While this is true, the diehard Porsche fans and driving enthusiasts would likely buy a GT3/GT3RS over a turbo. Same thing goes for BMW and their M division.

        The GT2/GT2RS are there too, but I still desire a GT3 more than a GT2.
      • 3 Years Ago
      OR they could go back to smaller NA engines and the whole world would be a better place:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag3htsxHpHs&feature=related
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yes, we know turbos make more sense and provide nice usable torque curves. But that's not why buyers still pick the M3 over the 335is or 1M. It's the feel of the V8, the noise, the overall package.

      RIP NA M3, you will be missed.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Amen, which is why I'm glad I ordered mine a month ago -- should be here in a month or so!! :-D
        • 3 Years Ago
        Well if we are going as far back as E46 and older.. I also think the S54 is a delightful engine as well, almost as nice sounding as the S65.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Thought the NA V8 was one of the highlights of the E92 M3. What a shame.
        • 3 Years Ago
        M3s didn't have V8s until 2008.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good. The current 335 kicked major butt, and outperformed the previous gen NA M3. Turbos ROCK!
        • 3 Years Ago
        But the current M3 rapes its butt and is a very special car. Besides, the BMW M division was known for exclusively making high revving NA sports sedans and coupes with their own unique engines. Now we have the X6M, the most pointless car/suv blend in the world. Turbocharging is just an excuse for ///M to simply borrow the engines from "mortal" BMW's and tweak it slightly, and where is the originality in that? If I wanted a torquey turbo BMW, id get the 335i, but now what is the point of an M3 which just has a little more boost? Regardless of your perspective, the death of natural aspiration performance cars is sad.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Uh. What? Why was I downvoted for this? Have you guys been in a 335i? It kicks the old M3s ass all over the place!
      • 3 Years Ago
      "the linear, low-end grunt of a turbo can't compare to the high-revving thrills of an NA powerplant."

      Hm... pretty sure that one is backwards there, captain.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Who describes a turbo as being "linear"?

        Clearly the sentence is both backwards and ill-conceived, despite the million and one semantic arguments that can be made to twist it whichever way you choose.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Negative. If you have two engines (one FI and one NA) of equal displacement (say 3.0L I6) and equal peak power (say 300hp for 100hp/L), the NA will have less area under the torque and power curves, chiefly in the lower regions where its intake and exhaust manifolds are not optimally configured for power.
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