An electric motor would add low-end torque, but on the flip side it would also increase weight.

BMW has made it crystal clear it won’t downsize to a four-cylinder engine for an M car despite the approach taken by rivals Mercedes-AMG to sell an array of “45”-badged compact models. The man in charge of BMW M’s division, Frank Van Meel, told Australian media the inline-six is here to stay since it’s an “iconic engine” and has been around since the days of the legendary M1 launched way back in 1978.

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The main reason has to do with the lack of low-end torque of a four-cylinder engine, which greatly affects performance. As such, it wouldn’t be suitable for a full-on M car. But things could change in the future as a four-banger could still find its way inside the engine bay of a BMW M model as long as it will be a part of a hybrid powertrain. Adding an electric motor would solve the issue with the low amount of torque available in the early rpm range, but adding electrification to fix the lag problem would generate an issue: extra weight.

With the current technology BMW has at its disposal, it wouldn’t make sense to do a hybrid M car, let alone one of the plug-in hybrid type. Van Meel explains a plug-in hybrid M3 Sedan or M4 Coupe would weigh a considerable 200 to 300 kilograms (441 to 661 pounds) more, which consequently would greatly hamper performance as well as handling.

As a refresher, BMW M recently took the wraps off the new M5 to mark the premiere of xDrive on the performance midsize sedan. An optional Competition Pack has already been announced to dial up the sportiness even further. Further down the line, an M8 in both coupe and cabriolet flavors will be out, while juicy rumors concerning the possible return of the beloved M1 have sadly been refuted by company officials.

Note: 2003 BMW M3 CSL pictured.

Source: Car Advice

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