Reports of a return to six cylinders - along with a tri-turbo - for the next-generation M3 have been circulating for some time. Now, the latest reports suggest BMW has at last settled on the number six - and also the letter V.
Moving away from its traditional lightweight inline-six philosophy, the German carmaker is believed to be looking at the potential for handling improvements by positioning a smaller V6 closer to the bulkhead.
Speaking with enthusiast website BMW Blog, BMW USA boss Ludwig Willish reportedly confirmed that the new M3's development team is weighing up the pros and cons of staying in-line, or going for the vee.
"The V6 has the possibility to move the engine further downwards, towards the bulkhead, whereas the inline six is lighter," Willish said.
"Engines don't necessarily have to be more powerful for the next car. As long as you have lighter weight, you have better performance."
Willish added that as long as the next M3 is lighter, the company can focus on ensuring the new engine produces power "somewhere in the neighbourhood" of the current M3. The new six would reportedly produce around 331kW.
The new engine will reportedly produce somewhere between 260kW and 295kW - compared to 225kW for the current X6 xDrive40d's 3.0 litre in-line six.
The tri-turbo diesel is expected to make its international debut early next year.
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