Rumor: New BMW M3 to feature a 3.2 liter six-cylinder tri-turbo

Back in July, UK magazine AutoExpress and other BMW sources hinted at the possibility of a new tri-turbo engine to power the next generation BMW M3. At the time, the rumormill churned out that there will be a new, fresh 3.3 liter six-cylinder with triple turbochargers, one of them being powered by electricity.

According to a source close to BMWBLOG, the tri-turbo powerplant is the front-runner for the new M3, but one variable remains unknown: an inline-6 or a new, unexpected V6. While the inline-6 is a “smoother” powerplant, it is larger in size since it needs to be leaned over for height reasons. The rumors around this new powerplant are backed up by the upcoming BMW X6 xDrive50i which will feature for the first time a tri-turbocharged diesel engine.

In late 2009, former BMW M CEO and new BMWUSA boss Ludwig Willisch said a V6 has the possibility to move the engine downwards. ”

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“[Related to new M3] The question is will it be a V-6 or an inline six. And we simply are looking at the best solution for the car. The V-6 has the possibility to move the engine further downwards, towards the bulkhead, whereas the inline six is lighter. But as it looks right now, in order to have the right power output, we have to do a lot of work on the test beds to see where we can go. Engines don’t necessarily have to be more powerful for the next car. As long as you have lighter weight, you have better performance. You still need the performance our customers expect. If you have a lighter car, you need the power somewhere in the neighborhood of the current M3.”

The tri-turbo diesel engine is said to like an inline six-cylinder with 3.0 liter displacement and three turbochargers. The power of this engine will peak around the 400 horsepower mark. Our in-house Technology Editor Hugo Becker shared his impressions on the technology that might go behind the design of a tri-turbo engine.

To remain competitive on the market and satisfy those customers craving more than just the driving experience, BMW plans to offer close to 450 horsepower in the new power unit. BMW will launch the F3x M3 in late 2012, but it remains unknown if a sedan variant will be present in the M3 family.

We will continue to dig out some information and will update the article if necessary.


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