Autoweek has the scoop on the M division abandoning naturally aspirated engines. We’ve heard rumblings about this for the past couple of months but this is the first time it’s been even remotely on the record. Here’s an excerpt:
Tough emissions standards worldwide and soaring manufacturing costs in Germany are behind BMW’s decision to switch from high-revving, naturally aspirated engines in its M high-performance vehicles to turbocharged direct-injection powerplants, beginning as early as next year.
The move, which could alter the character of BMW M models, places question marks over the immediate future of the M3′s 4.0-liter V8 and the M5′s 5.0-liter V10. Both engines will make way for forced-induction engines in coming years, according to high-ranking BMW sources.
The first M vehicle to make the move to the new turbo powerplants is the X6 xDrive M, which will challenge the Porsche Cayenne GTS and the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG.
Set to appear next June, the X6 xDrive M will be the first model to run BMW M’s new twin-turbocharged V8. This engine is also earmarked for the next-generation M5, due out in late 2010.
“In terms of overall performance, the new engine doesn’t give anything away to the powerplant we run now, but it delivers much better consumption and lower emissions,” a senior BMW M official told AutoWeek.