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BMW M Engines Going Turbo

2009 BMW X6

2009 BMW X6

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Citing tougher emissions regulations, better fuel efficiency, and greater torque production from a smaller package, "well placed Munich insiders have said" that naturally aspirated BMW M engines will gradually give way to turbocharged units, said the U.K.'s Autocar. The new M engines will be based on the current twin-turbo inline six and twin-turbo V-8 engines in the BMW lineup, but will make more power than their regular-duty brethren and significantly more torque than the M engines they are set to replace.

Currently, M engines are a 4.0-liter V-8 in the M3 and a 5.0-liter V-10 in the M5 and M6. Both engines favor very high RPM horsepower over big torque numbers, consuming plenty of gas along the way to their peak outputs. According to Autocar, the newest M model, the xDrive M, based on the BMW X6, will have a twin-turbo V-8 that should match the M5's V-10 at 500 hp, while making considerably more torque than the V-10 (rumored at up to 516 pound-feet). This should give the newest M model, even with its considerable heft, a 0-60 mph run of under five seconds.

A BMW official said that the new turbocharged engines should match or exceed current M performance, while delivering "much better consumption." The M division is also testing stop/start functionality, regenerative braking, and a gas/electric hybrid drivetrain for installment on future models.--Colin Mathews

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