In the next stage of the build-up to one of the most hotly-anticipated cars of the year, BMW has announced the first official information on the V8 engine that will power the new M3 coupe. It has also released pictures of the ground-breaking motor, and you can feast your eyes on them in our gallery.
Just as Autocar anticipated in our Geneva motor show report on the car, the new M3's 4.0-litre V8 will develop 414bhp and 295lb ft of torque. Although that's marginally less torque than Audi's RS4, it's sure to give the M3 a decent footing from which to challenge the V8-powered Audi, although it's likely to be a good 150lb ft down on the forthcoming Mercedes C63 AMG.As ever with BMW's M-Division though, it's the detail that really blows you away. As it's derived from the M5's 5.0-litre V10 screamer, the M3's 4.0-litre V8 is equally high-revving; it develops peak power just below 8000rpm, and revs to 8300rpm – that's 50rpm faster than the M5's engine.Peak torque, meanwhile, arrives at 3900rpm, which is much lower than the 6100rpm the M5's V10 requires to serve up max twist. Better still, 252lb ft of it is on tap from just 2000rpm, which should make the waiting game that M5 and M6 drivers play for maximum urge less of a factor for M3 drivers.
The oily bits
Possibly the most astounding fact of all, and the one that must silence all critics of Munich's decision to go with eight-cylinder power over six for the new M3, is that BMW has managed to make this engine weigh less than the straight six that powered the last M3. Yes, you did read that right; this 4.0-litre engine is actually lighter than the 3.2 you'll find in the Z4 M Coupe.With an aluminium-silicon alloy crankcase, and silicon crystals in place of conventional cylinder liners, it tips the scales at just 202kg, and because it's shorter than the old six-pot, it can be mounted further back in the engine bay to the benefit of overall weight distribution.The motor features an individual throttle butterfly for every cylinder, variable double-VANOS mechanical valve timing, two separate oil pumps, two interconnected oil sumps – it even features the brake energy regeneration just introduced to the standard range of BMW cars.The new M3 will be shown at Frankfurt in September; UK sales should start before the end of 2007.