BMW floating the idea of having a V6 instead of an inline six-cylinder unit for the next-generation M3

BMW Blog has the scoop on what will lie beneath the hood of the next-generation M3 model - which will follow the 2012 3-Series slated for launch later this year.

A 450 PS (331 kW / 444 bhp) tri-turbo 3.2 liter six-cylinder? Well, we already know of the tri-turbo 3.0 liter diesel unit.

According to a BMW Blog source, the triple-turbo engine being developed is the front-runner for the next M3. Undecided, apparently, is the issue of whether it will be an inline-six, as BMW has traditionally built, or a new V6 configuration that will save space under the bonnet.

Here's what BMW USA chief Ludwig Willisch told BMW Blog of a possible V6 back in 2009:

"[Related to new M3] The question is 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."

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