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The next 1- and 3-Series cars from BMW, as well as the Z2 roadster, are rumored to be getting a new range of turbocharged three- and four-cylinder gasoline engines as part of BMW's push to cut emissions and fuel consumption. Of the five powerplants reportedly in development, three are 1.35-liter three-cylinder motors developing between 163 hp and 241 hp, with the two 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engines putting out 273 hp and 321 hp, respectively. Sky Motoring says that the four-pots will be reserved for "more upmarket models."
While a 3-Series with a 3-cylinder engine has a certain poetry, it does give one pause. If Sky Motoring's numbers are correct, however, the top end 1.35-liter motor would put out 11 more horsepower than the current 3.0-liter in the 328i. That's a lot of power for such little displacement, and with brand perception issues in the U.S., who knows if we would even get the engines - after all, we don't get any of Mercedes' CGI mills. From where we sit, though, the smaller, lighter engine with its commensurately fewer moving parts could also help bring the sticker price of the 1-Series down - one of the major factors that has prevented it from gaining traction in stateside showrooms.
In any case, the new BMW engines are said to be at least two years away, so we look forward to getting more clarifying information in the meantime. Hat tip to Owen!
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Your Ride: 1995 325i
The US version of the 1 series shows that BMW is mismanaging its brand (I rather detest that term and all it connotes, but so be it for now), at least in this country. Playing to the American subconscious (and not so subconscious) focus on power, speed, and status is getting to be a losing formula, given the end of cheap gas, the reemergence of environmental concerns, and the economic mess that those with power and status have led this country. The 1 series would have made sense in this country had it come with only the 4-cylinder gas or diesel engines, a 6- in those cars is ridiculous. BMW missed an opportunity either to broaden or redefine itself, but stuck to the old formula. It could very easily have promoted a 4-cylinder 1 series, with ample power and impressive fuel economy, but it listened to the idiot marketers and "brand managers" instead.
It should be borne in mind that the BMW headquarters in Munich is comprised of four cylindrical towers, symbolizing the "back from the brink" resurgence BMW got from the 4-cylinder powered "new class" of sports sedans, culminating in the 2002 series. With this bit of news here, maybe BMW is returning to its fundamental precepts and sensibilities.