BMW slashing production of big engines, shifting to four cylinders

In many parts of the world, the majority of BMWs are sold with four cylinder engines running on either gasoline or diesel. Unfortunately in recent years American consumers have not had the privilege of opting for these powerplants. That's a situation that may soon change though as BMW begins a significant shift in production to smaller engines. The company has already dropped the 6.0L V12 from the lineup in the new 7-series that's coming to the U.S. next spring. Demand for V8 engines in Europe has plummeted recently, leading BMW to scale back production to only one four-day-a-week shift.

Even the inline six cylinders that have long been the icon of BMW engines are seeing slackening demand. The Munich engine plant that produces them will be switched over to four cylinders beginning in 2011. As engines get ever higher specific output due to technologies like direct injection and turbocharging, the need for larger engines is fading and we may see four cylinders back in U.S.-bound BMWs soon.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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