That the inexorable movement of downsizing engines would eventually hit the low end of the market is no surprise. With turbo 6 cylinders supplanting V8s and fours taking over for sixes, the current fours are likely to be replaced by boosted twins and triples in the near future. Volkswagen and Fiat are known to be working on the former and BMW and Mercedes are evidently developing three-cylinder units. At the Stuttgart automaker, three cylinder engines are expected to appear in the A, B and C-Class in the coming years. Mercedes is apparently planning a 168 hp turbocharged 1.2-liter triple for the C-Class.

Over in Münich, the next generation 1-series is already being developed to cope with the vibrations of a three cylinder and the next 3 will likely follow the same path. Threes are nothing new to BMW; the company's K-series bikes first used the configuration in the mid-'80s. Just as with downsizing the larger engines, the triples will facilitate weight reductions both from the engines themselves and from reduced need for supporting structure.

[Source: AutoCar]

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