Yes we said “V “6. According to a roundtable discussion documented by Motor Trend the M Division is looking to downsize the current M3 drivetrain from a V8 to a Six cylinder and introducing either single or twin turbos. Normally a six cylinder would mean an inline six, the heart and soul of BMW ‘s drivetrain across all products. However because of packaging M is seriously looking at creating a V angled six cylinder.

Of course the M Division is just weeks away from debuting it ‘s first modern turbo-charged powerplants in the X5 M and X6 M. That turbo V8 will also be fitted to the next generation M5 and M6 due in about two years time.

According to BMW it ‘s new efficiency standards from both the US and the EU governments along with higher fuel prices are the driving factors behind this.

But dropping cylinders and maybe even a little power isn ‘t always a bad thing if it comes with less weight. And that gets much more interesting when you start to consider the next generation 1 Series. That ‘s the story M seems to be hinting at with this latest info. Here ‘s a quote from the Motor Trend piece:

>We ‘ll see no M version of the current 1 Series, coupe or otherwise. Willisch says M is looking to recapture the spirit of the four-cylinder, E30 M3 with the M version of the Mk II 1 Series. One fellow journalist noted that M fanatics refer to the E30 (pictured below left) as “the real M3. ”

> “So do we, ” M Division CEO, Ludwig Willisch replied. “At least it was the first one, and it ‘s so much fun to drive. And if you just look at the spec sheet, you ‘ll say, ‘it really won ‘t move. ‘ Twenty years ago, it was fine and now you need at least 420, 450 horsepower in order to have decent acceleration. But once you drive it, you ‘re really impressed because you can brake later, you can corner faster. ”

>How far along is a turbo M four cylinder? “At the very beginning. This would mean a twin turbo four cylinder in a car that is below the M3. We are working on it, but only as business cases are concerned, as solutions are concerned. Because you ‘re looking at a car in the neighborhood of 1300 kilos (about 2860 pounds, roughly equal to a VW GTI). And you would need at least 300 horsepower. I would love to have a car like that in our range. It would also be a good thing to get the interest of younger customers again. This would only be a story for the next 1 Series, so you ‘d be looking at 2014 or so. ”

But what about this V6 M3? It just doesn ‘t jive with our notion of BMW let alone the M Division. Again here ‘s Willisch ‘s point of view:

> “The question is (for the next M3) will it be a V-6 or an inline six. And we simply are looking at the best solution for the car. The V-6 has the possibility to move the engine further downwards, towards the bulkhead, whereas the inline six is lighter. But as it looks right now, in order to have the right power output, we have to do a lot of work on the test beds to see where we can go. Engines don ‘t necessarily have to be more powerful for the next car. As long as you have lighter weight, you have better performance. You still need the performance our customers expect. If you have a lighter car, you need the power somewhere in the neighborhood of the current M3. ”

Interesting times call for interesting solutions. Let ‘s just hope that the vision that M was created on all those years ago isn ‘t forgotten. It would seem that the ideas are in the right place. Let ‘s hope the execution matches that.