The engine of the highly anticipated next-generation BMW M3 has been revealed in a series of spy images that appear to show a twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder unit.

SONY DSC

Rumours of a straight six with three turbochargers have been circulating since the German manufacturer unleashed the 3.0-litre triple-turbo diesel powerplant in the BMW 550d, X5 M50d and X6 M50d models to launch its M Performance sub-brand.

But the photographs of the new BMW M3's engine show only two pipes feeding the intercooler, indicating a twin-turbo set-up with a water-to-air intercooler similar to BMW’s twin-turbo V8 in the M5.

We’re not sure of the displacement of the new engine at this stage, however, with signs suggesting the next-generation M3 could feature a 3.0-litre unit or may mark the return of a more powerful 3.2-litre set-up.

Either way, it’s safe to say the new BMW M3 will be quicker than the current V8-powered model, although it’s doubtful the soundtrack will be quite so intoxicating.

The new BMW M3 is expected to be revealed sometime next year, with the production car tipped to reach showrooms either late in 2013 or in early 2014.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7Yq_IKyb9s

 

Check out the new BMW M3 testing at the Nurburgring Nordschleife.