The ideal formula for the engine designer: 8 x 500 = 4,000.
Eight cylinders, four litres capacity. Specifications of this kind alone make the dream of the engine designer come true on the new power unit. Quite simply because combustion chambers displacing 500 cc per cylinder are acknowledged as ideal. A similarly powerful six-cylinder, therefore, would inevitably have deviated from this ideal geometry of a genuine sports engine. The V8, on the other hand, in its dimensions, filling quantities, the number of components and in its weight, represents the optimum concept in both theory and practice.
High-speed engine concept entering a new dimension.
The designers and engineers responsible for the new power unit have nevertheless remained faithful to the high-speed engine concept so typical of BMW M. Indeed, they have even raised this concept to an unprecedented level, the new V8 reaching maximum engine speed of 8,300 rpm, a figure so far seen only in motorsport engines and a handful of exotic, hand-built cars. To this day,hardly any engine designer or engineer responsible for a series production engine has dared to enter this terrain.
The high-speed engine concept is however a traditional forte of BMW M GmbH's high-performance natural aspiration engines, generating enormous power and performance from high engine speeds. This avoids the conventional wisdom of simply increasing the size of the engine or using a turbocharger, often involving an undue increase in weight and fuel consumption.
Through the high-speed engine concept, the engine development specialists at BMW M GmbH thus ensure that the spontaneity of the engine, its instan-taneous response to the driver's wishes, reflects the great demands made of an M Car and its overall concept. And so, in its performance potential, the development of power, in its dimensions and weight, the V8 power unit is a typical BMW M engine through and through.
Taking Formula 1 as a role model and paving the way through BMW M engineering.A further significant point is that the eight-cylinder boasts all the features and qualities so typical of BMW M, such as double-VANOS, individual throttle butterflies, and high performance engine electronics. At the same time the number of cylinders, the high-speed engine concept and the low weight clearly indicate that the engineers responsible for the new eight-cylinder have been inspired by another eight-cylinder - the unique engine featured in the BMW Sauber F1, the engine currently raced by the Team in the highest realms of motorsport. And indeed, the two power units share a number of features not only in their basic technological principles, but also in their production methods and materials clearly borne out by the transfer of technology from motorsport to series production.
One difference, however, will always remain: The BMW M3 is required to offer outstanding performance not only on racing weekends and therefore features a high-performance power unit fully suited for everyday use and reliability on all roads, in all kinds of weather, and in years of tough motoring the world over.