The engine downsizing trend evident throughout the new, sixth-generation BMW 3-series line-up is also set to be a feature of the successor to today’s BMW M3.

This new performance flagship will reach the UK in coupé form during the first quarter of 2014. When it does, it will forgo the existing M3’s naturally aspirated 4.0-litre V8 in favour of a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine that is currently under development at BMW’s M division, on the outskirts of Munich.

See spy pics of the new BMW M3

The new unit is also scheduled to be used in a successor to the BMW 1-series M Coupé, but in a lower state of tune. The engine has been described to Autocar as being heavily differentiated from the company’s existing twin-turbocharged ‘N54’ and twin-scroll turbocharged ‘N55’ 3.0-litre engines.

Features that have been identified as being unique to the new M Power engine include the management system, induction system, cylinder head, pistons and connecting rods.

Although it is still early days, BMW M insiders suggest that the new six-cylinder engine will produce more power than the existing 414bhp V8, despite its smaller capacity.

At the recent launch of the hardcore M3 CRT saloon, BMW M development boss Albert Biermann hinted at an output in the region of 450bhp from the new unit.

Read about the BMW M3 CRT

This move is aimed at providing the next M3 with the performance to match the Audi RS5 and recently facelifted Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.

But whereas the existing M3 makes do with 295lb ft of torque, the 2014 model is set to pack as much as 400lb ft for further performance gains.

Greg Kable

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