Future M cars to go turbo?

M cars have always been naturally aspirated, but this may change soon if Autoweek can be relied upon. The popular car magazine is reporting that BMW, which has been adding turbochargers to its top-line non-M branded cars in recent years, will use them to boost power in its top-performance M models for upcoming generations.

The current M3 has left behind its inline-six engine for a powerful, high-revving V8, and while no one appears to be complaining for BMW's M division having increased performance in a lighter, more accommodating engine design (it's four-cylinder depth is shorter and therefore can be positioned further back behind the front axle for better weight distribution), fuel economy issues are causing the Bavarian automaker to rethink its plans. After all, its larger cars are V10-powered, and while most buyers in this league are most likely not as concerned about pumping as much premium into their M5 and M6 gas tanks as they require, it's only right that the automaker does something to ease the pain.

Then again, Autoweek cites the expense of producing such highly technical powerplants as BMW's reasoning behind its direct-injection turbocharged engines, although environmental emissions issues are also an important reason. Both Audi and Mercedes-Benz have turned to turbochargers for the same reasons, relatively inexpensive power and much better fuel economy when not on the throttle.

Turbos are better for tuning as well. Aftermarket suppliers have already shown this by tweaking BMW's 3.0-liter six to match the M3 V8 for horsepower and torque.