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BMW considering fewer cylinders for M range of vehicles?

When BMW launched the first-generation M3, it was equipped with a four-cylinder engine. The next two generations saw the use of an inline-six, and today the M3's cylinder count totals eight. The same story can be told for the M5, which has progressed from a six-cylinder all the way to todays V10 setup. But it looks as though BMW's M line could be returning to its original formula of less cylinders and lighter weight.

In an interview with Auto Motor Und Sport, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said that he would like to see fewer cylinders used in the German automaker's M line and the rest of its vehicle lineup.

Reithofer directly addressed the company's diesel V8 -- which is popular in Europe -- saying that it would likely be replaced by a more efficient twin-turbo inline-six.

Reithofer also indicated that smaller, forced-induction engines could be the future of BMW -- such as the new twin-turbo six currently used in the 135i, 335i and 535i.

If BMW can develop smaller engines that maintain or even increase performance while lowering overall emissions and fuel consumption, it should be a win-win for everybody.