The switch to EVs is already happening, and emissions regulations are tightening for combustion-powered cars. Some automakers have downsized engines to three- and four-cylinder units in their performance vehicles. However, not every automaker is taking this path, and one holdout will be BMW M.
During a media preview for the 2022 BMW M Fest, brand boss Franciscus van Meel said that M has no plans to produce three- or four-cylinder high-performance models. According to CarBuzz, Meel said that he was aware of other companies doing that but reiterated that it wasn't something the brand would do. And it's not.
Gallery: 2023 BMW M2
The brand stuck its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine into its new 2023 M2. The powertrain produces 453 horsepower (333 kilowatts) and 406 pound-feet (550 Newton-meters) of torque, and it lacks a hybrid component. This will be the brand's last non-electrified model, but BMW M won't pair the electrified setup with three- or four-cylinder engines.
The future move to a hybrid setup might bum some enthusiasts, but they should welcome the added efficiency and performance. The Mercedes-AMG C63 underwent downsizing for the 2024 model year, with the automaker adding a plug-in hybrid component and installing a four-cylinder engine. The setup produces an eye-watering 671 hp (500 kW) and 752 lb-ft (1,019 Nm) of torque. Mercedes claims the luxury sedan can hit 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 3.3 seconds.
While BMW M won't be building three- or four-cylinder performance cars, it will be building electrified ones. The BMW XM makes 644 hp (480 kW) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque from its twin-turbo V8 hybrid to start. Spy shots of the next-gen M5 appear to show the car with a plug-in hybrid setup, and the next-generation M3 will arrive as a full EV riding on the automaker's Neue Klasse architecture.
Unlike others, BMW M might be sticking with six- and eight-cylinder engines, but it can't avoid complete electrification. While the automaker hasn't put announced a timeline as to when it'll become a completely electric car brand, BMW hopes that 50 percent of its sales will be electric by 2030.