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Scott Turnpel
10-02-1999, 10:21 AM
This is a rumor (no flames please)<p>BMW is testing a 3.8 liter variant of the former M5 I-6 engine for the upcoming E46 M3. That engine used a larger and heavier block (than the 3.2L M3 currently uses) so BMW is experimenting with a lighter block. Estimates say power will be 365 hp (vs 340 for the former M5) and 305 ft/lb of torque (vs 295 for the former M5). The torque figures are impresive for a stright six, and torque delivery is said to be impresive all throughout the rpm range, but better than the 3.2L engine at the very top end (95% all the way to the 7800 rpm limit).<p>There is disagreement inside BMW as to the need to invest in this engine ($$$) versus using a less expensive modification to the tested 4.4 liter V8. In favor of the V8 are those that say MB has already put V8's in their 3-series equivalent and that BMW will eventually have to use V8's to keep up.<p>Those against the V8 and in favor of the new ($$$) engine say that this engine will have much better performance at high rpms than the V8 (more torque than the V8 from 6000 to 7800 rpms). One source says the first prototype was slightly slower than the V8 prototype in acceleration, but much faster in two tracks they tested it on.<p>It seems we will have to wait and see what happens!<p>

10-02-1999, 11:53 AM

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