• Apr 27th 2009 at 10:27AM
  • 24
With new CAFE regulations looming on the horizon, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are considering bringing four-cylinder models back to the States. BMW's development of new four-pots have been widely reported over the last year, with the automaker confirming work on a direct injected, twin-turbocharged four, likely to be fitted on the next generation 1 and 3 series, due to arrive in 2012. The new mill is also slated to be equipped on the X1 and X3, and according to the automaker, the powerplants will deliver the same output as the current in-line sixes, but with better fuel economy and lower emissions. However, the development of an all-new engine is expensive, and BMW will pass along the cost to consumers, despite BMW's claim that buyers aren't willing to pay for advanced technology.

As for Mercedes-Benz, aside from the 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel that debuted on the E250 Bluetech concept, little is known about the automaker's plans for four-bangers in the States. Although the concept, unveiled at the New York Auto Show, was equipped to an E-Class, don't expect a gasoline-powered four to be fitted on a future E – the new engine will likely find a home in the C-Class and GLK CUV sometime in the next few years.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]


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  • 24 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      @IK

      "because north american roads are different
      and we spend a lot more time in our cars than the other peoples
      imo, our demands are reasonable and fair'

      The Germans are driving 4cyl cars at 90-100mph on the freaking autobahn. Our highest posted limits are in the 75-80 range. So, why do our cars have to have more power than theirs?

      We do spend a lot more time in our cars in part because we spend so much time driving at 40mph on crowded highways during rush hour where power makes no difference at all.

      So what makes our demands reasonable and fair? Put another way, why does an effing Camry V6 need as much power than a mid-sixties E-Type Jag (260), why does an Acura TL need more than a Ferrari GTO (300)?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Audi has had 4cyl here for years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Is "drug" the past-time of "drag"? :P

        • 6 Years Ago
        Random House says that drug is "nonstandard" as the past tense of drag. Phew. I'd hate to be standard, i'd be relegating to using an f150 as my daily driver, or the camry.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They were shmucks to bring big engines in the first place.
      Why pay so much for an entry level car?
      *********************thecarnerds.com****************************
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why don't they just make E-85 version? It will give them a good mpg boost for CAFE standard. And that's how big-3 gets out of panelty tax...
      • 6 Years Ago
      The problem isn't engine displacement, but weight. The 1 and 3 series are just too heavy to get decent MPG for compact cars as they are.
        • 6 Years Ago
        its true, the cars are just to heavy
      • 6 Years Ago
      its crap that great cars have to be wattered down in the name of CAFE standards... there is nothing wrong with pushing the envelope with technology but BMW and MB do that without CAFE standards and make great cars...

      we still wont get the D cars and one or two MPG isnt a great deal for losing the soul of a car...
      • 6 Years Ago
      What I don't understand is why Americans are so stinking power hungry. There are PLENTY of four cylinder BMWs in other parts of the world. They just have more humble output. Like the 320i which has 170hp. My 1994 325is has a straight six with about 175hp, and it's plenty to get me on the highway or pass a semi. Not to mention its just a blast to drive. Why is 170hp not enough these days? Heck, there's the 318i which has 143hp, which is still enough for most people.

      Do we honestly need 250bhp out of our four cylinder models? I know the cars are porky and won't seem "fast" enough for people... but come on we use them to drive to work. They can still offer us the 335i for those of us who "need" the extra power.

      Offer Americans a NICE car, with all of the amenities and luxury features their looking for, and then put a small, fuel efficient 4 pot in it, and call it a day.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Part of the problem is that we were, and to a certain degree are transmission deficient.
        The BMW 5-series didn't get a 5 speed auto [GM 5L40] until the 2000.5 model year.
        If you compare the 2000 528i 2.8 I6 (m52tu) with 4 speed auto against the 2001 525i 2.5 I6 (m54) with 5 speed auto. The new engine/transmission combination, is just as fast with better mileage.
        If you compare the 2.8 I6 / 4auto against the 530i 3.0 / 5auto, the 3.0 (also m54) it is faster and gets slightly better mileage.

        When the E60 5 series came out (2004 model year), BMW could have leveraged the advantages of the ZF 6 speed auto and offered the 2.2 liter inline 6 (m54) in addition to the 2.5 & 3.0 versions. perfect with 4.1 axle ratio, enough power to hit 130mph traditional governed BMW top speed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I just don't see how our roads are that different. My wife's Saturn has 124hp (which is probably more like 104hp now, after 130,000miles) and it gets us around Ohio just fine. The 320i weighs about 20% more than our Saturn, but has almost 40% more power. Explain that to me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        my wife's altima with the 2.5, 170 hp motor is plenty. it can go 80-90 mph easily
      • 6 Years Ago
      If, instead of a lower powered inline 6, BMW offers a 2.0T with ~220HP and a 6 speed manual in the next 1 Series and they can keep the weight under 3,200 lbs., I'm a likely buyer.

      That said, I'd *much* rather have a small displacement inline 6 with the same power. Even Audi's much improved 2.0T in the new A4 -- which is light years smoother than the old 2.0T that still rattles around in the A3 and GTI -- is no match for an inline 6.

      If BMW were to stuff the current 2.0T into the current 1 Series, would it really get much better mileage than the current 128i? BMW's NA 6s are pretty fuel efficient -- the 128i is rated at 18 City / 28 Highway with a 6 speed manual. Unless those figures can go up substantially, what's the point of repalcing that engine?

      If the next generation 128i could drop 100 lbs., have slightly better aerodynmics and they could tweak the engine/transmission just a bit, 20 City / 30 highway seems very doable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      BMW currently doesn't meet CAFE, they just pay fines instead. MB does the same thing. Why should new standards make any difference?
        • 6 Years Ago
        GM has been selling Saab 4 cylinder entry lux vehicles for ages and they have always met CAFE, (sometimes with credits but still). On the other hand, even though BMW and Mercedes never meet CAFE and continually have to pay fines, they have gotten a consumer and press public relations free pass. I'm convinced that GM's PR and advertising is a big part of their downfall.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nobody likes their $30,000 car to sound like a piece of farm equipment, the inline six should always be the standard on a US model BMW, those who buy them want the best and not the best for the Left. Leave the four bangers for the Mini. However BMW is coming out with a three cylinder engine that is said to sound almost like their inline sixes,(yeah right) for the new one series. It will fire its three cylinders, 120° apart on one revolution then rest on the second revolution, and it will be highly turbocharged.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Saab has been ahead of its time with 4 cylinder turbos for how long now? They were the pioneers. They were ahead of the game with hatchbacks too. It's so sad that they had to add V6's to please the US market and now V6 sales are declining. And it's even more sad that GM couldn't leverage Saab's niche. Oh well, that's why I bought an '08 which is ironically an Aero V6 turbo even though I actually intended to buy a loaded 4 cylinder turbo.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Four-cylinder, eh? I'm guessing it'll be in the 1-series first. I smell a new tii.
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