BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

  • BMW M3 CRT
  • BMW M3 CRT

BMW M3 CRT – Click above for high-res image gallery

The BMW M3 has grown cylinders over the years like a pubescent pre-teen grows in height. What started out with an inline-four then grew into a straight-six for two generations before packing a V8 into the current model. The next one is expected to set to drop a couple of combustion chambers and go back to a single bank, but don't think for one minute that'll mean a drop in performance.

According to the rumormongers at AutoExpress, the next-generation M3, due sometime around 2014 after the new 3 Series comes along, will pack – wait for it – a triple-turbo straight-six. The innovative arrangement will reportedly include two conventional spools powered off exhaust gases and a third electric turbocharger. Total output could be around 450 horsepower – a bump over the current V8 model's 414 hp – with even more carbon fiber bits than the CRT edition pictured above to help keep weight down.

Not exciting enough? BMW's M division has plenty more in the cards, potentially including an oft-rumored new M1 supercar and, once the 1 Series M Coupe is done its production run, a lightweight CSL version. An M version of the Z4 is also under consideration, but of course nothing final until the cars make their debuts.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 85 Comments
      Mad_Science
      • 4 Years Ago
      BMW's new Chief Powertrain Engineer in the M group, Xzibit, was unavailable for comment.
      Justin Campanale
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm glad the M3 is returning to an i-6. There really is nothing as smooth and fun as a BMW straight 6, especially with turbos.
        airchompers
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Justin Campanale
        I think Honda inline-4s are smoother. Which is black magic. And honestly, you need to the be space shuttle not to be one upped by Honda's engines.
          You guy
          • 4 Years Ago
          @airchompers
          Hondas sound like lawn mowers, dude. Bimmers sound rather nice.
          m.russell16
          • 4 Years Ago
          @airchompers
          Ya or to diminish the name of being either an old person, or a rice burning gear head
      Darnell Robeson
      • 4 Years Ago
      one word to everything I just read...WOW
      Rotation
      • 4 Years Ago
      Don't reprint internet hooey please. Not only don't electric turbochargers make sense, but they aren't even turbochargers, they'd be superchargers.
        jollyroc87
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        An electric Turbo is not a supercharger, a supercharger is a purely mechanical device run off of the engine through a belt. What an electric turbo is, I have no idea, I can't imagine it being en electric driven compressor as that would only increase the parasitic losses without increases power compared to a normal supercharger, so we will see
          Rotation
          • 4 Years Ago
          @jollyroc87
          No. A supercharger is any device that increases the amount of the charge beyond what would otherwise be drawn in by the intake stroke. Even a turbocharger is a supercharger. So yes, an electrically driven impeller that compresses or accelerates the intake charge is a supercharger. However, since it is not driven by exhaust gases, it is not a turbocharger.
        Tom
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Exactly ... no need to help sites that invent news just to drive up traffic. Second point is apt as well (turbo : supercharger :: square : rectangle).
        You guy
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        I don't think they're a supercharger or a turbo, if it runs on electricity, its called an "air compressor"
      ledouxralph
      • 4 Years Ago
      damn nice!!!!!!!!!
      OptimusPrimeRib
      • 4 Years Ago
      Imagine if McLaren used this for it's next supercar like the F1's S70/2 used two E36 sixes joined at the crank? that would be one serious motor.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 4 Years Ago
        @OptimusPrimeRib
        Screw that, join them at the output shaft...triple turbo straight 12!
          You guy
          • 4 Years Ago
          @KaiserWilhelm
          Except the car would have to be the length of a 70s Cadillac...
      cpbraun
      • 4 Years Ago
      Explain this to me. Obviously BMW is perfectly capable of squeezing 450hp out of a straight six with no turbos, much less three. Do they keep adding more turbos in order to keep costs and reliability in check? Is an engine with more conventional parts and tons and tons of turbos easier/cheaper to build than a great engine with heavy duty (read: racing) internals and more conventional induction?
        Chris O.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @cpbraun
        Easy explanation... BMW is NOT capable of getting 450hp out of a NA I-6, running on street gas, with a regular warranty, at anything resembling a competitive price point. The N53 (with DI, no less) doesn't even make 280hp. With the volumtric efficiency of their best NA I-6, displacement would need to increase to nearly FIVE LITERS, in order to have the output you are describing - and that's assuming that the VE would remain the same (which it doesn't). The only NA engine that BMW has ever had in a production car that's even close to what you're describing, is the N73 - and that's a V12, not an I-6. Turbos, plumbing, intercoolers, etc. all add complexity and cost, but you have to realize that an engine is basically a glorified air pump with a combustion component. Getting more fuel into the engine isn't the issue, since you only provide fuel to stay within the AFR envelope that you have with the air flowing through your intake. Since the efficiency (not to be confused with mileage) of modern gas engines all fall in a pretty narrow range, there's a pretty tight relationship between fuel and air consumed and total power output (regardless of the configuration and displacement of the engine) around stoich +/- 10%. Sure different configurations have different friction/pumping losses, but you're better off using as light and production-ready configuration as you can. So... that means that throwing turbos on an engine is going to be a better production bet than either creating a 15,000RPM powerplant (good luck on the valve gear), or an I-6 with pistons the size of coffee cans (goodbye VE and clean emissions).
        • 4 Years Ago
        @cpbraun
        [blocked]
      Pete K
      • 4 Years Ago
      Perhaps that third electric turbocharger is not powered by electricity, but is used to generate electricity... http://green.autoblog.com/2010/08/31/mitsubishi-heavy-industries-develops-hybrid-turbocharger-to-gene/
      adam512
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes back to turbo's! They did seem to dissappear for a bit, The last properly turbocharged cars I can remember (excluding the GT-r) is the Supra Twin turbo and others from the early 90's late 80s era
      livn2xs
      • 4 Years Ago
      porsche yes !!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 4 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      jonnybimmer
      • 4 Years Ago
      I know it's just a rumor, but ya know those folks who hate any technological progress because "it's just another thing that can break"? In this case, they may have a point. Of course, considering how BMW switched from a (at the time) highly praised duel turbo set up to a single turbo set up with their 335i, I HIGHLY doubt they'll just jump to 3 turbos. Man, just thinking what that engine bay would look like is a nightmare.
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