Its name alone spells out the epitome of ultimate driving pleasure:
the BMW M3. And now the new version of BMW M GmbH’s most successful
high-performance sports car bears out this claim once again, at the same
time providing a thrilling answer to the question asked by so many sports car
fans around the world whether a further improvement is still possible at all.
And the answer is yes – for the new BMW M3 offers more in every respect. This applies not only – but particularly – to the power unit: After 15 years and two model generations, the trendsetting six-cylinder has now found its successor. The new BMW M3 is entering the market with an eight-cylinder power unit – more cylinders, larger capacity, more power, higher engine speed. And it is fair to say from the start that this will also mean an even more thrilling experience on the road.
The benchmark the new power unit was required to exceed could hardly have been greater: BMW’s 3.2-liter straight-six has gained fame and admiration the world over, receiving a long list of awards and prizes. Acknowledged several times as the “Engine of the Year” and developing a supreme 333 bhp in its last version, this power unit made the BMW M3 not only the ultimate performer in the segment of high-performance sports cars, but also a genuine best seller.
The fact still remains, however, that everything has its time. And now the time has come for the six-cylinder to bow out and leave the stage. The time has come for the advent of the new V8 in the new BMW M3.
The specifications of this new high-performance power unit alone clearly confirm the enormous progress this engine has to offer. Engine displacement is 3,999 cc, maximum output is 420 bhp. Peak torque of 295 lb-ft is just as impressive as the top engine speed of 8,300 rpm. So clearly, the new BMW M3 is striking out for the top right from the start through its thrilling performance.
Ideal Dimensions for Performance at its Best
Displacing 500 cc per cylinder, the new V8 power unit meets the ideal concept of the most demanding engine designers right from the start through its engine dimensions alone. And the other design criteria – all the way from the engine’s dimensions and filling capacities through the number of components to the weight of the engine – likewise represent the very best achievable today.
Over and above these qualities, the new eight-cylinder offers all the typical M-tuned features of BMW’s regular production cars such as double-VANOS, individual throttle butterflies, and high-performance engine electronics.
At the same time the number of cylinders, the M high-speed engine concept, and the low weight of the engine clearly prove that the responsible engineers, in creating this power unit, were inspired and guided by the eight-cylinder featured in the BMW Sauber F1. For the new engine has many features in common with the latest power unit highlighted by BMW in Formula 1, with various technological concepts and principles, production processes and materials carried over from the Formula 1 engine to the drivetrain of the new BMW M3.
In terms of specific output, the new V8 significantly exceeds the benchmark of 100 hp per liter acknowledged as a convincing sign of sporting power and performance. But even so, power is not everything. Rather, the dynamic driving experience provided by a car depends to a great extent on its acceleration and handling, resulting, not least, from the weight of the car and the actual thrust of the engine. The thrust or traction acting on the drive wheels, in turn, results from engine torque and the overall transmission ratio.
The M high-speed engine concept allows optimum transmission and final drive ratios further enhancing the impressive thrust and power of the engine. Indeed, BMW M’s engineers have found a new dimension in developing the engine of the new BMW M3, with the eight-cylinder achieving maximum engine speed of 8,300 rpm.
The second factor crucial to thrust and performance on the road, engine torque, amounts to a mighty 295 lb-ft at 3, 900 rpm on the new V8 power unit. And about 85 per cent of the engine’s maximum torque is available throughout the enormous engine speed range of 6,500 rpm, with 251 lb-ft available from just 2,000 rpm.
Engine Block Straight from BMW’s Formula 1 Foundry
The engine block of the new eight-cylinder comes straight from BMW’s light-alloy foundry in Landshut near Munich, where BMW also builds the engine blocks for the Company’s Formula 1 racing cars. The cylinder crankcase, in turn, is made of a special aluminium silicon alloy, conventional cylinder liners being replaced by hard silicon crystals. The iron-coated pistons, finally,
run directly in the uncoated, honed cylinder bore.
High engine speeds, compression forces and temperatures cause extreme loads acting on the crankcase. Hence, the crankcase is compact in its dimensions and comes in torsionally resistant bedplate design ensuring very precise crankshaft bearing and running conditions. The relatively short, forged crankshaft is likewise very stiff in terms of its flexural and torsional qualities, but weighs only 44 lb.
Innovative Exhaust System
Through its design and configuration, the exhaust system for the new V8 power unit optimizes the cylinder charge cycle, ensuring an optimum surge of power and torque at all times. And again, this component has been designed and built from the start for consistent lightweight qualities.
The exhaust manifolds are made in an internal high-pressure remoulding process, the desired contours of the stainless-steel pipes being shaped from inside under pressure of up to 800 bar. The result is extremely thin walls measuring just 0.65–1.00 millimeters (0.0256–0.0394´´ ) in thickness, optimizing flow conditions with minimum resistance, light weight, and optimum response of the catalytic converters.
Exhaust emissions are cleaned by no less than four catalysts and the engine naturally complies both with the European EU4 standard and the US LEV 2 requirements.