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BMW won’t introduce three- or four-cylinder M performance engines


BMW’s M division boss has said the Munich brand will stick to six-cylinder and V8 engines for the future 

While performance carmakers such as Mercedes-AMG have committed to using smaller and more-efficient engines for the future, BMW is standing firmly against that idea. 

The head of BMW M division, Franciscus van Meel, is strongly opposed to the idea of having small-displacement powertrains, telling Carbuzz that “we’re not going to do any three-cylinder engines”. 

“We’re not even going to do four-cylinder engines in high-performance cars. I know there are other companies that are doing that, but we’re not going to do that,” he said. 

BMW M2 2022 engine bay
The new 2023 BMW M2’s twin-turbocharged straight six engine

Many companies are shifting to smaller engines and hybrid tech  

The most obvious manufacturer is Mercedes-AMG, who has officially announced the new C63 S E Performance – the first time we will see a high-performance C-Class without a V8 or six-cylinder engine. Instead, AMG will fit a hybrid turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine also found in the A45 S sold in Australia. 

But it’s not just AMG being a trendsetter. Toyota has made a greater push for the use of turbocharged three-cylinder engines found in the GR Yaris and GR Corolla that make just as much power as their four-cylinder counterparts. 

Toyota GR Corolla 2023 engine bay
Toyota has opted for high-output three-cylinder engines

And while not technically the highest performance, under the BMW banner Mini has been using turbocharged four-cylinder engines since the second-generation R56 Mini hatch. 

BMW’s future plans for powertrains 

Looking at BMW’s future products, the automaker is trying to hold on as long as possible when it comes to using larger displacement engines. A good example of this is the new BMW XM that utilises a hybrid V8 engine setup. 

BMW M4 CSL engine bay 2023
The BMW M3 and M4 will likely retain their six-cylinder engines for some time

It’s likely that the next generation of BMW M2, M3 and M5 will all use hybridised versions of their current engines with a greater focus on electrification. 

BMW has said that the second-generation M2 is the last non-electrified M car to be launched, so expect the future M3 and M4 to use some form of hybrid setup. 

As for the 1 Series, BMW’s M division has said that there won’t be a 1 Series M product. Instead, the role will be filled by the current M135i, a halfway M car.

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