Expect to see smaller engines for BMW’s future models, as high fuel prices and greater environmental concerns push buyers towards engines with lower displacements. Automakers, even the luxury marques, would be foolish to ignore the trend, which is why BMW's working on a new three-cylinder engine that could appear in the next-generation 1-Series as early as the end of next year.
The future of the three-cylinder engine for the 1-Series looks optimistic, with insiders revealing to Autocar that the new engine under development won’t be a low-performing fuel miser. Instead, it will be very refined and sporty and feature BMW’s now popular 500cc per cylinder engine design. It will also feature direct injection and turbocharging technologies to maximize performance.
One of the biggest hurdles will be overcoming noise and vibration levels of the compact engines, however, the same sources have revealed that BMW’s new 1-Series is being designed to overcome such issues.
Not much else is known but the tiny powerplant is expected to output between 120 and 180 horsepower in various guises, all while returning 40+ mpg in fuel economy. BMW has already shown off the potential of its three-cylinder engine designs. A 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbodiesel engine featured in last year’s Vision EfficientDynamics concept car and it developed upwards of 163 horsepower.