300+ HP From BMW\’s New 3 Cylinder? Possible According to the Head of M

It ‘s all theoretical of course but when asked about BMW ‘s new 1.5L three cylinder architecture the head of BMW M was unusually candid about the possibilities. According to an interview Dr. Friedrich Nitschke gave to Car and Driver the new engine is capable of more than we initially thought. Quite a bit more.


Here ‘s the full quote:

The three-cylinder is an attractive engine. It is possible to reach around 185 to 200 horsepower per liter in a forced-induction three-cylinder and we have 1.5 liters of displacement. Such an engine, which, by the way, sounds very similar to a six-cylinder engine, would have over 310 horsepower. And we are not even at the limit there. Generally speaking, I could imagine such an engine.

What this means for future BMWs is very unclear. We ‘re not even if this level of tune will ever see an official light of day. But to know its possible is interesting indeed. Could we see a front wheel drive 300+ hp BMW eventually? And do we really want that?

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  • Roland Renno

    Well it’s too interesting but no one would like a front-wheel drive.

  • les

    300hp from 1.5 liters sounds interesting. Does that also mean that BMW could make an 3.0 I6 with 600hp?

  • Mini Vanilli

    To me what sticks out most in this article is the comment that it would sound like a 6 cylinder…to me THATS whats missing from the new turbo 4! Everybody is all up on power ratings but until a turbo 4 puts out a sound close to my NA inline 6 128i with BMW performance exhaust Ill stick with the 6, thanks…

  • Dr Obnxs

    2014 MB CLA450 AMG: 360 HP 2.0L turbo I4 with 330+ ft-lb of torque. The production small turbo benchmark has already been set by BMWs biggest rival.

    • Dr fritzerg

      Who told you it’s the benchmark? More powerful don’t mean benchmark at all

      • Dr Obnxs

        Excuse the choice of words. However you want to call it, BMWs biggest rival has a four-banger that has some very impressive specific output numbers indeed. What’s BMW gonna say “No, our engine design isn’t capable of the same level of power per CC as MB.” That’s never gonna happen!

        One can read the announcement in two ways: One is that it’s a stand-alone statement of the capabilities of the new motor. The other way is that it’s a statement in response to the very high specific output announcements of their chief rival.

        I choose to think it’s a bit of both.