• Jul 21, 2009
About half the vehicles BMW sells worldwide come equipped with four-cylinder engines, yet the German luxury car maker's single biggest market doesn't sport a single four-banger in its entire lineup. BMW hasn't sold a vehicle with a four-cylinder engine in the U.S. in over a decade, but company vice president of US engineering Tom Baloga told Bloomberg that the trend won't likely continue.

The U.S. government is mandating fuel economy averages of 35.5 mpg by 2016; a number that will shrink engine sizes for most automakers. BMW's overall fuel economy for the 2008 model year was reportedly 26.5 mpg, which means the Munich, Germany-based automaker has a lot of work to do to achieve that number. And since customers have come to expect a certain level of performance from BMW, Baloga says the company will have to increase fuel economy without hurting performance. To keep performance levels high, we expect to see more turbocharging and direct injection in future models.

Interestingly, BMW already meets 2016 U.S. fuel economy standards with its model lineup in Europe, but team Bimmer reportedly doesn't plan to fill out the bulk of its lineup with oil burners. BMW already has diesel powerplants in its 335d and the X5 in the States, though, so we wouldn't be surprised to see more diesels in the years to come.

[Source: Bloomberg]


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  • 46 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      It sounds to me like they are just planning to replace the current 230hp-265hp naturally aspirated inlne sixes (N52B30) with turbo four cylinders that will achieve similar (or perhaps better in some cases) performance. This will complete the transition to a powertrain lineup that consists only of turbocharged engines. There is already the turbo I6 (N54, and N55 soon), V8 (N63), and the V12 (N74) is imininent. The natuarlly aspirated V8s and V10s (the N62 and S65, and S85) will be gone after the current generation of cars that use them is gone (E70 X5 pre-LCI, E6x 5/6 series, E9x M3 and E6x M5/M6). So the I6s will be the only naturally aspirated hold outs (assuming they remain for more than the next few years) and it is only natural that a turbo I4 will replace them.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Man, wouldn't that be weird?

        BMW used to hate turbos, and they might end up with a car lineup with nothing /but/ turbos.

        To me, that's weird. It doesn't matter, but still...
      • 5 Years Ago
      MemphisNET, BMW could have used Rover if they still had the rights, but they don't anymore.
        • 5 Years Ago
        BMW still owns a bunch of the old British Leyland brand names, including Triumph and I believe Austin. But BMW doesn't need added brands unless they truly are using GM as a business model.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The only reason I'm not driving a BMW -- the only one -- is because there's no 4-cylinder turbo option. Their sixes, sweet as they are, just guzzle fuel and I can't justify that anymore. To me, it's just wasteful and the new BMWs are far too bloated compared to the ones that made the brand.

      Besides, it doesn't make a bit of sense to offer something like the 1-series but price it right there with the 3. They'd sell incredibly well with a 4-cylinder.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If BMW has integrated direct injection & compact valvetronic with the turbo engine (N55), how about direct injection / valvetronic sans turbo.

      Keep the inline 6, that is BMW's stock in trade.

      • 5 Years Ago
      People complain too much about 4 cylinders. If they make a reduced-weight car with a weak engine, I'd be set.

      The car would be quick because it's light, gas mileage would be high because the engine doesn't need to do as much work, and it would be cheaper because they have to use less metal for things (unless they decide to use carbon fiber on everything to reduce the weight, but quite frankly, only super cars do that).

      Fast, light, great gas mileage, cheap price, BMW styling and amenities... I JUST CAME
        • 5 Years Ago
        Um...first...ew.

        and second...sounds like a Honda Civic. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Get the 1-series down to 2800 lbs, then put a DI NA 180 HP 2.0L in it, should go just fine.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You've heard of turbos, right? Y'know, the things that embarrass V8s?
      • 5 Years Ago
      DO NOT WANT... unless they're turbocharged or diesel.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "BMW already has diesel powerplants in its 335d and the X5 in the States, though, so we wouldn't be surprised to see more diesels in the years to come."

      I know BMW probably does not care about price, but that 335d starts around 44k(?). Now granted it may come with more standard equipment, but that is a 10k difference from the starting petrol version.

      I think a smaller 4 cylinder in a 1 series would be a fun. And keep it around 30k.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We have a 1.8T in our Audi A4 and with a exhaust and re-flash, that thing moves for such a heavy car with tall gearing.
      That is the great part about small turbo engines, they are easier and relatively cheaper to mod.
      With the right exhaust, they sound great. Along with the A4, I have a Miata with a header and borla and it is not a fart can sound, but a nice deep rumble. Not a small block, but certainly something that a car guy can appreciate.

      I was excited about the 1 series when it was announced, but the car looked like crap, weighed a ton and cost too much. You could get a CPO E46 M3 for the cost of a loaded 135.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Ligor

      The Ecotec was designed mostly by the Opel division, which is really German. Whenever Detroit manages to get something "right" (i.e., halfway competent) it is almost always outsourced to Japan or Europe (i.e., the Ford Fusion cribs pretty much everything mechanical from the Mazda 6.)
        • 5 Years Ago
        LS--

        Detroit (not syonymous with "American" anymore, a big part of our domestic industry is now Japanese and German transplants) makes very, very good big-ass, body-on-frame, V8, RWD-based cars and their derivatives (SUVs and pickups). Everything else they fail at.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, if you assume everything good was done by people outside the US, then yeah, it looks like Americans can't do anything right.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it possible that BMW could launch an 'entry' brand for North America? Same platforms such as the 1, 3 and 5, different sheet metal, and exclusive use of 4cylinders? Mini's aren't fast or powerful but the handling and dynamics are fantastic. Why not extend that to a more mainstream vehicle like C and D class vehicles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That alot won't help them with CAFE regs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        they already have one, it's called mini.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No that is not possible if BMW AG is interested in keeping the BMW brand profitable. Don't get me wrong I'd love a cheaper source for small (relatively speaking), practical RWD cars, but it would not likely make financial sense for them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You want a German 4 banger turbo with 200hp that goes 0-60 in 6 seconds get a VW.

      You want a German 306hp twin turbo 6 that goes 0-60 in 4.6 seconds get a BMW.

      World of difference.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I should have said 'a car with'.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or, you know, a naturally-aspirated BMW inline 6 that goes 0-60 in 6 seconds, like the 328i?

        Your post doesn't make any sense.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good call BMW, I love the 2.0 liter turbo in my Audi... Still has good pep, gets great gas mileage, and the insurance isn't bad.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Rich- My 20Turbo A4 costs about the same per month as my Mazda 5 mini van. So I disagree with your guess.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The most pressing issue is sales: A4 turbos outsold the V6 six-to-one and their sales haven't plummeted like BMWs have (they even cancelled the V6 and intro'd the 2.0T on the A5). Modern buyers get the benefits of turbo fours now and appreciate the value they offer. With continued economic uncertainty, it's going to get very, very difficult for BMW to survive without the larger volume sales turbo fours will provide.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just wait until the insurers cotton on to the word "turbo". You'll be screwed; just like drivers in the EU.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Meh, I think they need to remake the inline 5 cylinder 2.2 liter turbo found in the URS cars. That engine... with direct injection... maybe a few other tweaks.... such a glorious engine. Audis most reliable performance powerplant. :)

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