• May 11, 2009
The next 1- and 3-Series cars from BMW, as well as the Z2 roadster, are rumored to be getting a new range of turbocharged three- and four-cylinder gasoline engines as part of BMW's push to cut emissions and fuel consumption. Of the five powerplants reportedly in development, three are 1.35-liter three-cylinder motors developing between 163 hp and 241 hp, with the two 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engines putting out 273 hp and 321 hp, respectively. Sky Motoring says that the four-pots will be reserved for "more upmarket models."

While a 3-Series with a 3-cylinder engine has a certain poetry, it does give one pause. If Sky Motoring's numbers are correct, however, the top end 1.35-liter motor would put out 11 more horsepower than the current 3.0-liter in the 328i. That's a lot of power for such little displacement, and with brand perception issues in the U.S., who knows if we would even get the engines – after all, we don't get any of Mercedes' CGI mills. From where we sit, though, the smaller, lighter engine with its commensurately fewer moving parts could also help bring the sticker price of the 1-Series down – one of the major factors that has prevented it from gaining traction in stateside showrooms.

In any case, the new BMW engines are said to be at least two years away, so we look forward to getting more clarifying information in the meantime. Hat tip to Owen!

[Source: Sky Motoring]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      BMW the motor company has lost it's touch with taking short cuts to turbocharging pretty much every car. in comparison to M-B
      • 5 Years Ago
      Demnnnnnn
      Sign me up
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wait, wouldn't dropping a cylinder mean they were devloping an I5 too?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was afraid of that too. :shudder:

        I can't wait to sample BMW's take on a modern turbo Four, though, if the sweet, revvy NA 1.8 in the 118i is any indication.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Heh, that's what I thought.
      • 5 Years Ago
      There's no reason BMW can't make fewer cylinders compelling. We've got a 6cyl 3 series wagon, a 4cyl turbo Saab 9-5 wagon. Each have their virtues, but it's no argument that the Saab is WAY faster (is should be with 65 more hp) and always more efficient *and* it's larger. I totally applaud BMW for leading on getting cylinder count down. We don't need that much power to still get around and have fun.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sure the I3 won't come to the US, but the I4 will. And they will have a 6 cylinder too.

      But maybe not an I6 - instead it could be a V6. That's what might be next I think.

      There are already vague rumors of a V6 in the next M3. I think they may also kill the I6 across the board and replace it with a V6 which shares an architecture with the new I3. The I6 has packaging benefits as well. I hope I am wrong, but we shall see. I'm sure plenty of people say it can't happen but lately BMW has been rewriting all their rules and changing their tune from what they've said before. Nothing is off the table.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah, because odd numbered engines run so smooth.
      • 5 Years Ago
      But how would a 3 cylinder sound?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Depends on the crankshaft design. It would be good if it sounded like a Triumph Speed Triple. Just so it does not sound like the 98 Chevy Metro I used to have for commuting. However, I was able to coax as high as 58 mpg out of that little guy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        haha! Exactly! I had a 92 metro....thrashy little guy. I imagine that BMW will make it sound much better...and the sound of the turbo is always a plus.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh man have you heard a Triumph Daytona? They sound incredible, they remind me of Porsches flat 6
      • 5 Years Ago
      4-cylinder cars generally sound rubbish. Turbo woosh overlaid makes them sound even more neutered.

      The death of the straight-6 and its sound would be a crime.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't wait for a 4 cylinder BMW. Then again, my bank account would prefer I do so I guess thats a good thing...
      • 5 Years Ago
      It seems ridiculous that people in the U.S. are so image conscious that they would hesitate to buy a 3-cylinder BMW, but Europeans are fine with it? What's wrong with people in America?

      So shallow.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually we blow our healthcare money on the military to protect everyone else. Hello Canada? Hello Japan? Hello Korea? Hello Germany?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Take care of the world? Only in your eyes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I simply would not be interested in a 3-series that didn't have an inline six.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Damn straight!
        For better mileage, BMW could use the ZF 8hp30 transmission with the N52 valvetronic engine.
        If BMW needs to cut displacement, say if 3 liters is too large, drop the stroke and make a 2.7 liter version 230+hp, 200+ ft-lbs.

      • 5 Years Ago
      E30 reincarnated!
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