This might seem obvious to some people--BMW is one of the few remaining automakers famous for putting all six cylinders in a row, not in a V -- but various reports of patented V-6 engine designs forced us to consider the possibility of living in a world where a M3 boasts a turbocharged V-6. Considering BMW's success with mounting two turbochargers in the valley of its V-8 engines, some sourcessuggested the engineers in Munich could just lop two cylinders off the block and send the engine to market.
Not so fast: Bimmerpost managed to get BMW North America President Ludwig Willisch to go on the record at a recent gathering, and Willisch put the rumors to rest: the M3 will get an I-6 – something it hasn’t had since the present-generation model debuted in 2007. Willisch said that while a V-6 was proposed and considered, it was later ruled out in favor of an inline design.
With engine shape out of the way, all that's left is to figure how BMW will escalate power. Patents suggest that BMW is working on (or has completed) an electric turbocharger, which could lend itself to a biturbo or triturbo setup, where the electric turbo provides boost just off idle and at low speeds, and hands boost duty to either one twin-scroll turbo or two larger turbos.
Considering that the current M3's 4.0-liter V-8 engine makes 414 horsepower, expect the new model to produicesomewhere close to 450 horsepower, all the while decreasing carbon dioxide emissions and increasing fuel economy. Expect to hear more about the car between over the next twelve months, as the next-gen M3 allegedly has a target release date of late 2013.