Woe be the BMW fans. The brand that bills itself as the “Ultimate Driving Machine” seems to be losing a little bit of its luster these days. First there was the development of the front-wheel drive hybrid BMW Concept Active Tourer, and now another bit of news to make Bimmer fans shudder.
BMW is developing a three-cylinder engine for sale in vehicles in the U.S. Some men just want to watch the world burn…
In all seriousness, BMW’s development of a 3-cylinder engine is hardly surprising. Ford is receiving a lot of praise for its 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder EcoBoost, and BMW no doubt feels they can deliver a potent three-banger for the well-healed masses as well.
The engine is being billed as “half” a six-cylinder, with the sound and output not unlike a traditional six-cylinder engine. Ford managed to get 123 horsepower out of its three banger, in street form, though for its Formula race car power was boosted to over 200 ponies. and BMW could probably eek out over 150 ponies from their own 3-cylinder engine. The engine won’t be just a fancy battery charger either; BMW plans to use it in other front-wheel drive applications from the new platform underpinning the Concept Active Tourer. The 3-cylinder engine will also likely appear in some MINI models, as BMW owns the iconic British brand as well.
These days, the old ways are falling by the wayside quite rapidly. Even car companies like Ferrari are moving to embrace smaller engines and hybrid technology, and BMW is too large a company to focus solely on rear-wheel drive cars with big engines. To survive, they must diversify and advance. While BMW is working other technologies like waste heat recovery and electric turbochargers, sometimes the best solution is just less of the same.
BMW fans probably won’t care much for these recent developments, but ze Germans will no doubt find a way to deliver an exciting driving experience regardless of engine size or chassis architecture. Otherwise, they’ll have to change their slogan.
Source: Automotive News