- Credit - BMW UK

BMW has no plans for a four-cylinder M Car in the near future

The man in charge of BMW’s M Division say’s there are no plans to downsize the companies halo models to a four-pot motor

4y ago

The likes of Mercedes AMG and Porsche have been downsizing their hotter models recently by fitting super powerful four-pots, M Division boss Frank van Meel has confirmed that the German carmaker has no plans to follow suit.

Speaking to Australian press in Munich, van Meel confirmed that the iconic straight-six M power engine as first seen in the iconic M1 will not be going anywhere in the near future saying “We started with six-cylinder in the M1, so it has a long history. BMW is a six-cylinder inline company and, for us, it’s an iconic engine.”

The M Car that started it all, the M1 - Credit - BMW

The M Car that started it all, the M1 - Credit - BMW

One other very important reason for sticking with this heritage according to van Meel is that he doesn’t envision a four-pot giving an M badged model the same drivability as a six-cylinder saying “I don’t see characteristics that I would like on an M car, on a small displacement turbocharged four-cylinder engine.” Going into further detail by saying that he also feels any four-cylinder would result in a loss of the trademark characteristic of low-end torque available from the straight-six motor.

We can take from this that BMW intends to keep its trademark straight-six motor as they feel that any further reduction in the cylinder count is not something that can be replaced by massive turbo trickery alone.

How an M Car should be used - Credit BMW UK

How an M Car should be used - Credit BMW UK

What could be on the cards instead is a potential future for part electrification as electric motor/battery tech advances with van Meel stating “So, at the time-being, it’s a dilemma – but we are working on that with our project ‘i’ colleagues to have a look at the next generation of battery cells, regarding weight, power, density and range to find the right tipping point to say ‘now it makes sense to go in that right direction’… but today is not the right time.”

Surely this a strong statement from BMW signifying that it’s determined to go its own way even in the face of ever-tightening emissions regulations. Just think, an electronically assisted twin-turbo powered M3 could be a very exciting prospect for the future, just as long as its got a straight-six under the bonnet.

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Comments (6)

  • Looking at a list of BMW M Cars the I4 in the original M3 does seem something of an aberration. However, if they ever go back to producing a lightweight track-focussed car there's no reason a four-pot wouldn't be a suitable engine.

    I'm not a particular fan of four-pots mind.

      4 years ago

    "3 Cylinders is all what performance cars need nowadays" Say BMW engineers.

      4 years ago
    • Apart from all the six and eight cylinder M cars.... also the 3-pot is an 'i' branded car and not M Division

        4 years ago
  • And Ferrari said they won't build a SUV

      4 years ago
  • How long before 90% of cars are triple/4 cylinder hybrids where we order via internet as all will drive the same? We pick our 5 favourite cars and they programme fake engine noise to match

      4 years ago
  • Easy to say when you churn out so many cooking 4-pots elsewhere in the range.

      4 years ago