The smart money has always been on an in-line six but, speaking to Bimmerpost, BMW's US boss Ludwig Willisch has finally confirmed that the F80 M3 will get a straight-six and not anything with a vee configuration.
What is also certain is that the next M3 saloon and new M4 coupe will feature turbocharged power, with two or three turbochargers, and at least one of which could create its boost electrically.
No doubt we will find out more in the coming months, but for now all we can say with much authority is that we can expect a final power output of around 450hp when the car finally does appear in around a year and a half's time.
Who at BMW came up with that stupid M4 idea? Totally pointless.
Not really, especially if you consider that they're attempting to up-sell into China. Since 4 is "one better" than 3 in their model range, it means a 4-series is superior to a 3-series, and therefore more prestigious. For a country that doesn't really "do" coupés at the moment, it's important to explain to them that they are both different, and better.
It also fits with the rest of the range; the 5 series coupé is (more or less) the 6 series, and if they ever did a sports car with engines from the 7 series it would be the 8 series again. I guess the new 1 series will spawn a 2 in due course.