"What we'd like is more focus on lightweight engineering." -Matt Collins
BMW's M cars are not what we'd call featherweights. Sure, the big, bruising twin-turbocharged V8s deliver a lot of power, but the fact of the matter is that more weight often equates to less fun.
Which is why we're so excited over a recent sit-down the blokes at Top Gear had with BMW's product manager for small and medium cars, Matt Collins. The chat led to talk of the M3 Coupe replacing M4. Collins confirmed that, yes, the new M4 would be turbocharged. The new engine will also be a six-cylinder, which should make purists happy.
But what really peaked our interest was the talk of weight savings for the M4. Collins told Top Gear, "What we'd like is more focus on lightweight engineering." It gets better, TG also reports Collins as saying, "The philosophy will be around delivering performance through improved use of materials - lightweight alloys, lots of carbon fibre etc - rather than simply trying to make the engine more powerful to move the same kind of car, or scaling it back too far so that it loses its M3 roots." This left us smiling.
Citing the experience gleaned from the i3 and i8 projects, including the use of carbon fiber, lead to talk of a lightweight, hardcore M4 - a car that could, perhaps, wear the letters C, S and L on the back. Collins followed the party line, though, stating in the interview, "There are no plans at the moment to build a lightweight CSL version of the M4, but there weren't any plans to do the last-generation CSL either. We have to see what the customers think, and if there's potential for an even more lightweight version, we'll do it."
As for availability, Collins indicated that BMW's past schedule of bringing out an M variant about 18 months after the debut of a 3 Series Coupe, should hold up for the 4 Series and M4. If that timing is true, we can hope to see a production M4 at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.