No More High-Revving Naturally Aspirated Engines For BMW’s M Cars

BMW M cars are what I like to call a little bit of motoring magic. Cars like the M3 and M5 take driving pleasure to whole new levels, not by being the most focused, but by offering the sweetest balance between performance, comfort and usability. But what’s really set them apart in the past few years were the engines.

BMW’s M division has always had a strict philosiphy for its M engines. Flexible, fast-revving and with racecar-like rev-limits, BMW’s M engines really were racecar engines for the road. But alas, things must change. With the current state of technology, companies like BMW are realizing that to be able to give customers the performance they want, they are going to need to focus their attention on efficiency.

While a thrill to drive, BMW’s current lineup of engines are hardly fuel-sippers. The 4.0-liter V8 in the new M3 gets about 22mpg on the highway (and you’re babying the thing here) and its big brother, the M5, struggles to get a laughable 10mpg in the city. Something had to change. So recently, BMW management has announced that they are ditching their current M engine program in favor of more efficient twin-turbo engines of smaller displacement.

The first of these new engines will be a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 said to easily match the current 5.0-liter V10 M5’s 500-hp while providing a ground-shaking 516ft-lbs of torque! The engine will first debut in the new X6 xDrive M in a bid to compete with the Mercedes-Benz ML63 and the Porsche Cayenne GTS. According to some initial estimates, this combo should be good for a sub-5 second 0-60mph run and a top speed of 155mph (electronically limited). We are finally starting to see 5,000 pound SUV’s run with supercars from just a few years ago, which is crazy.

With BMW abandoning their current high-revving engine philosophy in favor of more efficient smaller displacement turbo motors, this could make the current and past M cars highly desirable vehicles. Whether or not the next generation of turbo M engines will deliver the visceral feeling of the current naturally aspirated units remains to be seen. There is just something magical about a 4.0-liter V8 revving to 8,500rpms.

Source: Auto Week