Triple-Turbo BMW X3 M In The Works: Report

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2011 BMW X3

2011 BMW X3

File this one in the "highly speculative" category for now, but also in the "highly tempting" sub-folder. For those familiar with the absolutely stunning performance of the BMW X5 M and X6 M, the idea of a smaller, lighter, triple-turbocharged X3 M is breathtakingly cool.

Yes, that was three turbos mentioned. As crazy as it may sound, that's the rumor flowing out of the U.K. via CAR today. The three turbos will be piped into a massaged version of BMW's familiar straight-six--likely meaning a 3.2-liter displacement--and will generate a claimed 449 horsepower.

So how would the three-turbo setup work? With one electric turbo and a pair of the usual type. Electric forced-induction setups are typically used to supply low levels of boost pressure at idle and very low rpms, because it can be driven independently of engine speed or exhaust flow. While it's not explained in the source article, the most likely use would be to provide a baseline level of boost with minimal parasitic losses, thereby allowing larger primary turbos to be used without the accompanying turbo lag that would otherwise be present.

Even more interestingly, the same engine is tipped to power the next-gen M3. The power figures line up surprisingly well with previous reports, though the idea of three turbos appears to be new to the mix.

Like we said, highly speculative, but at the same time, very interesting. Let us know what you think about all this below.



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Comments (3)
  1. I am not shocked they would do an M of the X3 after they did it to the X5 and X6, even though I personally think it is a dumb idea, I am however a bit skeptical of the triple turbo engine mentioned

  2. I don't see a limitation in the number of turbos that can be attached to an engine: the Bugatti has four turbos with four inter-coolers. I don't have a doubt that three turbos will result in power increase with smaller cylinder size; but I don't think more turbos will reduce fuel usage (they cause the engine to rev faster thus to intake more fuel) and I don't think they will increase heat efficiency either (they recirculate hot gases that will produce an excess of heat wasted). Even if the additional heat production can be handled and cooled it will not be converted to usable work. So multiple turbos may be an alternative to higher engine power power in smaller sizes but not better fuel mileage or heat engine efficiency...

  3. The number of turbos was not my issue Burke, I am skeptical about them putting it in this vehicle first, when this engine would be better suited for the next gen M3, so I am skeptical when it is mentioned for an X3 M.

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