Expect to see smaller engines for BMW’s future models, as high fuel prices and greater environmental concerns push automakers towards engines with lower displacements.

We’ve already seen this trend with the recent announcement of BMW’s new TwinPower Turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Its 245 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque exceeds that of BMW’s naturally aspirated 3.0-liter straight-six--but its fuel economy is some 16 percent better.  

Now there’s word that BMW will expand its TwinPower Turbo technology to a new family of modular gasoline and diesel engines that will include a three-cylinder variant.

The engines will eventually go into some 1.5 million BMW and MINI models annually, according to reports.

BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology is nothing new, having first appeared in the 5-Series GT back in 2009.

It is essentially BMW’s branding for engines equipped with a twin-scroll turbocharging system, direct fuel injection and solenoid injectors, the latter being the latest innovation for BMW’s VALVETRONIC variable valve control system.

bmw engine main02

bmw engine main02

Similar to Ford’s EcoBoost technology, TwinPower Turbo technology enables a smaller engine to offer the power and torque of a bigger engine, minus the increased fuel consumption.

As for the new three-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engine range, the first model expected to use it will be the next-generation MINI due in 2014, along with two front-wheel drive BMW models following shortly after.

The engines are expected to displace around 1.4 liters and deliver from 120 to 180 horsepower in various guises.

While the U.S. is unlikely to receive the front-wheel drive BMW models, we could see the new three-cylinder engines in the next-generation MINI.  

The move to downsized engines is part of BMW’s wider goal to cut its average carbon dioxide emissions another 25 percent by 2020, after reducing them by 30 percent from 1995 through 2010.

[Automotive News (subscription required) via MotorAuthority]


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