Would you like to see a four-cylinder M3?

BMW F82 M4 and E30 M3

At the recent press launch of the new M3/M4 it emerged that the next-generation models could be powered by a four-cylinder engine. The original E30 M3 was fitted with a 2.3 litre four-pot, of course, filled with as much character as it was power, so this wouldn’t be anything new. But since then we’ve seen a six cylinder engine and V8 powering the M3, before a return to a 3.0 litre straight six in the new models.

Marketing, as much as the chase for greater power, would have influenced M GmbH to increase cylinder count in previous models. And in a funny way if there is a return to a four-cylinder engine for the hero models, marketing forces could once again be at play.

Speaking to at the launch of the F80/F82 Carsten Pries, BMW M Division Head of Product Management, said: “We do not start our design process with a power output in mind. We have a set of characteristics that a new model must meet. For sure, you could see a future [M3] powered by a four-cylinder engine.”

He went on to explain that the trend for reducing weight in future models could mean a four cylinder is sufficient for the next-gen M3, which would not be launched until 2020 or thereabouts.

“Performance can be boosted with more power, but if we are to address issues like emissions and consumption, we have to look more at weight. We decided in this generation to address the [upward] weight spiral,” added Pries.

“If we have a car with less mass, it is foreseeable that the targets we set could be reached with a four.”

Fast forward to 2020 and you can see it now: “The new M3: So light we could reduce the size of the engine and still make it faster!”

Similarly, if the marketing boffins felt that the buying audience wouldn’t go for a smaller engine you can bet the next-gen M3 will be powered by a six. So what do you think, would you be happy if the next M3/M4 was powered by a four-pot? Can four-play be better than six?


2 replies on “Would you like to see a four-cylinder M3?”

Hmm. I don’t like the sound of a 4 cylinder. 4 is also not as silky as 6s.

The day of the big engine is over, CC’s are diminishing, but on the flip side we have fantastic turbos and superchargers these days, so we don’t lose horses.

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