Wednesday, March 7, 2007

BMW M3 Concept Steps Out

GENEVA — BMW's performance-car ranks received a major boost at this year's Geneva auto show with the unveiling of a so-called concept version of the new M3.

BMW M3 ConceptBMW M3 Concept 2BMW M3 Concept 3The fourth generation of the German carmaker's motorsport-inspired coupe, due to hit North American showrooms in early 2008, marks a major departure from earlier M3 models by carrying a V8 engine for the first time — a move that gives it double the cylinder count of the original M3.

BMW is saying little else on the engine, preferring to wait until closer to the new M3's planned unveiling in production-car form at September's Frankfurt auto show before spilling more detailed specifications. However, Inside Line sources confirm the compact 4.0-liter power plant is closely related to the 5.0-liter V10 used in the larger M5, with a 90-degree cylinder-bank angle and four-valve-per-cylinder configuration together with the company's patented double Vanos variable valve timing system. The new M3 is said to have 420 hp, up by 77 over the outgoing 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder-powered third-generation M3. This places it on a level footing with Audi's RS 4 with its 420-hp 4.2-liter V8. Another rival, Mercedes-Benz's upcoming C63 AMG, is said to be getting a 450-hp 6.2-liter V8.

Based on the latest 3 Series coupe, the new M3 is differentiated from its lesser two-door siblings by a largely all-new body featuring, among other modifications, a lightweight carbon-fiber roof — a development designed to lower the car's crucial center of gravity and provide it with even sharper handling than its heavily lauded predecessor.

© Source: article on insideline
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