Picture credit score BMW
That automobile above is the unique BMW M3. Below its hood lived 4 mighty cylinders of fury, every working arduous to scream to a 7,250 RPM redline with out even needing the assistance of a turbocharger. It was a mighty machine! However we haven’t seen four-cylinder M vehicles in a while, and it appears like we might not once more.
The BMW E30 M3 is spoken about in hushed (and never so hushed if you happen to’re round Invoice Caswell) tones…
BMW is targeted on its six- and eight-cylinder M vehicles, and so a smaller four-cylinder M engine isn’t within the plan—whilst rivals like AMG experiment with smaller engines on their hotted-up vehicles.
This information involves us from Automobile Recommendation, which caught up with M Division chief Frank Van Meel on the Frankfurt Motor Present final week. This counters suspicion in recent times that BMW would go under six cylinders on vehicles just like the M3 and M4:
“We’re actually proud of our six-cylinder [engines] as a result of for BMW and BMW M that’s our heritage engine. We began with six-cylinder within the M1 so it has an extended historical past. BMW is a six-cylinder inline firm and, for us, it’s an iconic engine,” Van Meel mentioned.
“If you happen to take a look at it with a four-cylinder, I don’t see traits that I would love on an M automobile, on a small displacement turbocharged four-cylinder engine. I wouldn’t do a four-cylinder standalone turbocharged with excessive efficiency, since you all the time have the attribute that if you need excessive efficiency you lose the low-end torque and also you lose the general driveability you need to have from the automobile.”
Emphasis mine, as a result of that is an attention-grabbing instance of how the M Division—and BMW’s engines typically—has developed. For the longest time, M vehicles had been high-revving, naturally aspirated affairs that began to get actually enjoyable whenever you wrung them out. The inline-six and V8 M3s positively had this high quality too.
However recently the complete BMW lineup has been turbocharged, and whereas fashionable M vehicles are very fast and have a ton of low-end torque, that revvy character isn’t actually a factor anymore.
I feel there have been a number of causes for this. Turbocharging and downsizing is widespread now for effectivity causes, and shedding stratospheric RPMs is a symptom of that. Plus, I’m positive your common M purchaser—the sort who buys an M automobile as a result of it’s the costliest three or 5 or no matter, not as a result of they do observe days—welcomed low-end grunt over truly having to work for pace.
I additionally dispute Van Meel’s assertion that inline-sixes alone are the “heritage engine(s)”, as a result of BMW has an extended historical past of cool four-banger vehicles. These embody the 2002, 2002 Turbo, 318is, the aforementioned E30 M3 and lots of extra.
Anyway, Van Meel follows up by including that there received’t be a hybrid M powerplant anytime quickly both, largely for weight causes. From the story:
“With the present technology we see ‘E’ motors which can be nonetheless not sturdy sufficient for M functions, and if you happen to take a look at plug-in hybrids, it can add 2-300kg – which, for a automobile like an M3/M4 with 1500kg – would put that utterly out of steadiness and we couldn’t rebalance that in direction of a typical M philosophy.”
Greater than honest. Understanding how BMW does enterprise, I feel an electrified M automobile received’t occur till it completely has to.
So I can see each side right here. On one hand, downsizing doesn’t all the time work out nice, and it’s good to see BMW sticking with bigger engines in its efficiency vehicles. On the opposite, it could be good to see another person experiment with high-strung four-cylinder motors. The CLA45 AMG actually isn’t missing in enjoyable for being small, and neither are the most recent scorching hatches from makers like Honda, Subaru and Ford. A loopy 4 within the subsequent M2 can be a compelling proposition if it helped maintain weight down.