BMW's M GmbH performance division has long fancied itself the keeper of the purist faith: For decades, no turbocharging, automatic transmissions or SUV derivatives were allowed. All those taboos have been broken in recent years, but down the road, the patience of hard-core aficionados will be tested even further.
M division chief Friedrich Nitschke hinted in an interview that he is considering M-engineered derivatives of BMW's upcoming front-wheel-drive compact vehicle architecture. The platform will be fitted with three-cylinder engines.
Nitschke said "the three-cylinder is an attractive engine" and said a 1.5-liter high-performance unit could easily reach 310 hp or more -- "and we are not even at the limit there."
He added that a three-cylinder sounds almost like a straight-six -- a traditional BMW engine design that strikes a chord with enthusiasts.