2012 BMW 3 Series

Peter Nefischer, head of engine development for BMW, has said the automaker is currently working on developing three-cylinder engines to be used across the company's vehicle line. The powerplants would likely be different than the one found in the BMW i8 and wouldn't be partnered with an electric motor. Instead, engineers would turn to forced induction to maintain acceptable power levels. Nefischer said engineers have gone as far as possible with current engine technology, and the next step is smaller, more powerful variants.

So, when can we expect to see a three-cylinder 3 Series hit the streets? According to the report, the vehicle could be here in two years. BMW has already demonstrated the sort of gains that can be made by dropping cylinder count. Just look at the F30 328i with the vehicle's impressive power and fuel economy as an example. Will BMW bring 3 Series to the table with half the cylinders of the tried-and-true I6? Stranger things have happened.
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