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Confirmed: U.S. Mini Will Soon Get 3-Cylinder Engine Option

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MINI Rocketman Concept MkII

MINI Rocketman Concept MkII

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At last week’s Paris Auto Show, BMW unveiled the Concept Active Tourer, a compact plug-in hybrid wagon powered by a combination of  battery power and a 3-cylinder gasoline engine. 

At the moment, BMW’s new 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder engine, designed in part for use in its upcoming i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, isn’t found in any production vehicles. 

Soon, that will change, says BMW board member Ian Robertson. 

In fact, as he told Automotive News (subscription required), BMW’s 3-cylinder engine will soon be used for the Mini brand.

As we previously speculated, the new 3-cylinder engine will most likely make its debut in the all-new next-generation Mini, due to be unveiled in Frankfurt next year, but not expected on dealer lots until 2015.

According to Robertson, using 3-cylinder engines has some significant advantages beyond the obvious improvements in gas mileage. 

“It behaves like a six-cylinder, it is half of a six-cylinder engine and has the noise of a six-cylinder,” he said. “The output from a relatively small engine is not what you would have imagined.”

But are U.S. consumers ready for 3-cylinder engines?

And would you buy a Mini with a 3-cylinder engine instead of a 4-cylinder one? 

Let us know in the Comments below.

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Comments (4)
  1. If it produces the 220 HP that they are advertising, why not get a 3 cylinder.
     
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  2. I think it's brilliant, a smaller lite weight engine with more power. It also makes more sense for plug-in hybrids. If I like the car the fact that it's only a three cylinder wouldn't bother me.
     
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  3. I've been ready for a three cylinder for years.

    My 2000 Honda Insight hybrid has one and it has been fine (for a 1900 pound economy car). 58mpg average for 106K miles. Honda engineered it so the electric motor at idle smooths the inherent imbalance of a three cylinder -- it slightly attenuates the power pulses and kicks in a bit in the lows of the power cycle. You'd never know it was a 3 cyl. (Way better than the '59 DKW 2-stroke 3cyl ... 3=6 was the logo on the side. Though neither are as fun as a 3 cyl 2-stroke '67 Saab 850 GT Monte Carlo)

    If the mini will match the Honda's mpg (and the Saab's handling), I'll certainly consider it.
     
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  4. I would love the 3 cylinder / electric mini depending on the price?????
     
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