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BMW Ms Getting Four-Cylinders?

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Today's BMW M3 does some wonderful things with a V-8 engine -- but enthusiasts, owners, and now apparently, even management think that the M cars need to get back to their small-engine roots.

Motor Authority reports that the German automaker's CEO Norbert Reithofer has some interesting plans ahead for all of BMW, not just the M cars. For the mainstream Bimmer lineup, Reithofer wants to eliminate diesel V-8 engines entirely.

But for the M cars the changes could be more drastic. Instead of moving up into V-8s and V-10s, Reithofer hinted that he'd like six-cylinder turbos, like those found in the 3-Series and 1-Series, to power future M cars. To go along with the downsized engines, the cars would also have to become lighter, which would help reduce emissions and fuel economy as well.

The original M3, if you remember back 20 years, was a flyweight powered by a four-cylinder engine. Times have changed -- and as I said in my M3 review from last summer, the new M3 is certainly faster than before, "but is it better?"

What do you think? Tell us in a comment if you'd rather see the M cars stay the way they are, or get lighter and smaller.
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Comments (19)
  1. First of all, I would like to see them get more affordable...I'd love a 4cyl. BMW coupe that had the best of both worlds, e.g. performance and economy, should I wish to feather the throttle.
     
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  2. The original E30 M3 was hardly a flyweight, at least by the standards of the day, but it was fairly light. The engine was its soul, but in many respects was the weakest part of the vehicle - it was rough and coarse and none too flexible.

    A vehicle with the overall utility of the BMW E30 would be a wonderful thing, but when the market and the regulators demand 72 airbags and a Pinocchio nose for pedestrian collision protection and electronic nannies that sniff your backside to make sure you wiped before the car will let you step on the gas and climate controls that allow you to set the temperature for the nine cubic inches of air around your left ankle and a thousand other things that add weight and cost and detract from utility, it's easy to see why the present 3-series is nearly a thousand pounds heavier.

    The E30 had none of those things and E30 owners would say they were better cars for the lack of them.
     
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  3. A return to four cylinder cars? Where is the glory in that? I am saying that tongue in cheek, of course. BMW has shown itself capable of building any sort of engine for cars. Whether they can lead their buyers to drinking that type of kool-aid is another story.

    Oh, wait, we are talking BMW buyers, aren't we? Yeah, they could power those things with hamsters wearing little blue and white sweaters and the BMWzombies would buy them.
     
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  4. The M series needs bigger engines, not smaller. What is BMW thinking??!
     
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  5. LIGHTER IS BETTER!!!
     
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  6. "The M series needs bigger engines, not smaller. What is BMW thinking??! "

    The real question is: What are you thinking?
    Did you just wake up from the 60's?
     
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  7. Just imagine if you had a small light car like the E30 and a small boosted engine like an evo....
     
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  8. Inline 6 cylinder Turbo is the way to go, they should develop a better 6 cylinder turbo that could boast around 500HP to combat against the big V8's but not downsize to 4.
     
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  9. I think that if BMW can make the smaller, high performance engines, and put them in lighter weight cars, and keep some kick ass handling...........BRING IT ON!

    I mean, high performance, great handling, and better economy, I'm in!
     
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  10. JEM has it exactly right - the whole auto industry has been going 'gizmo crazy' for the last 10 years, but BMW has been a particularly notable offender. iDrive ... need I saw more?

    It's a sad day when a Mercedes gives driver and passenger a more unadulterated experience than a BMW, but we've entered into those days. Once the Ultimate Driving Machine, BMW has so many electronic assists, sensors, and what have you that now it's simply the Ultimate Machine.

    Thank God they at least seem to be getting away from the Chris Bangle 'inspired' designs. Now if the rest of the German auto industry would stop needlessly creasing their sheetmetal as well we'd be on to something (I think there must have been something in the Federal Republic's water supply in the early 2000's - perhaps an Al Queida plot to ruin the Westerm world's sense of taste).
     
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  11. To me engine size doesn't matter. What matters to me is efficiency and driving dynamics. If they can have a turbo 4 or 6 that meets the performance needs and get better mileage than an 8 then fine. If the 4 or 6 would use just as much gas to match the performance of the 8 then what difference does it really make?

    As far as weight - they should have been focused on weight reductions all along. One thing I was really impressed by with the C6 Corvette is that GM managed to keep the weight down compared to the C5. Yet the new M3 is over 200lbs heaver than my E46 M3.

    A turbo 4 M3, putting out 360/300 weighing about 2700-2900 lbs would be awesome. The ceiling should be 3000lbs max.
     
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  12. If BMW can build M2 series with 2000-2300lb and 2 liter engine, very much the same as 1969 2002 size/weight class. A tubo 4 cyl will make it flies. It will be
    in the ALpha GTA, Lotus elan/Europa nimbleness.
     
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  13. As long as performance does not suffer, I do not care if there is a V8, a turbo V6 or a bi-turbo R4 under the hood.
     
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  14. I hope this is wrong, I don't want to see BMW M's become humbled, dumbed down, and compromised! They're a small percentage, the M range, and they wouldn't effect any average, economy or C02. Even if a range with smaller cylinders are introduced, let it be in addition and not to replace the V8s and V10s!

    Greater cylinder counts are better for the image, and lesser, smaller engines have to work harder to maintain loads and demands. Also, fours, in any shape or form, are lumpier and buzzier and lack the smoothness and confidence of the larger power-plants with greater cylinder amounts.

    BMW's, especially the M range, are not about humility!
     
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  15. For me the 135i is the strangest car in their line up.

    They should have pushed the 1series from the start into the direction of nimble handling, and small pockey engines in the first place. now it is too close to the 3-series.

    And just boring. i drove a few, and it is not what it should be. Which is also shown in the sales.

    They did a much better job at the mini...
     
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  16. In our CAFE-strickened world, lighter will be a part of any future model plan. I have faith that performance will be preserved in any M-badged vehicle, but I do wonder at what cost?
     
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  17. Surely all so-called performance cars are now far too heavy. I can't see BMW making a lighter car when they can throw in a few dozen more electric motors or computer controlled nothing in particular. Maybe they'll make the 1 Series a little less like a 1970s van to drive, probably not.
     
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  18. Mazda is showing the way. It has always held the "weight is the enemy." We'll see how the new M3 stacks up against the RX-8 in ALMS GT where they are now taking the measure of the 911s with a 1.3 liter rotary. All of the performance guys know that weight is a killer as far as performance goes. The M3 weighs 600+lbs. more than a Corvette today, 800-900 more than a Cayman S. Sure, with all of the electronic gizmos, it is fast and handles very well, but as pointed out, it one simply wants speed, the C63 is the way to go... point and shoot, no need to push the M button or others. Speed channel had a M3 test of sorts with Boris Said, Tommy Kendall, John Andretti, etc. and even they had a tough time figuring out the best settings to get the car to handle and go fast. Enough Said.
     
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  19. As Peter N. said on March 29th, the real future
    is shrink it. I drive 2 beemers and his design
    would be my next one! Simplify, lose weight,
    keep quality and performance= the future.
     
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