BMW 1-Series Prototype With 3-Cylinder Engine- Henny's First Drive
Modular concept for new engine family
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
MUNICH, October 8, 2012. Innovations have always been important to BMW, that started in the nineties with EfficientDynamics measures. From 1995 until 2008, the BMW Group achieved a 27 per cent decrease in fuel consumption of its European fleet. Now it has the intention to further reduce CO2 emissions worldwide with another 25 percent by 2020.
Gerhard Kurz, vice president BMW Group EfficientDynamics said during the innovation day, an event where the media could look into the kitchen of the developers, that the relation performance-consumption is very important: “We want to further reduce consumption, but not at the cost of less performance.”
He said that the focus is on energy management, as a sum of all components, on heath management for the right temperature at the right moment and place, on light weight construction and last but not least on aerodynamics.
They all will be teamed to the 8-speed automatic transmission that we already find in many BMW models.
From then on also the base model of the 1-Series and even the 3-Series will get the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine will be ‘rolled out’ in base model of the 1-Series. Even the 3-Series will get it, which is possible because the engine can be placed in a north-south or east-west direction, meaning suitable for front- and rear wheel drive cars. The 6-cylinder engine will only be placed in north-south direction. The modular concept results in excellent flexibility of the plant, as the 3-, 4- and 6-cyliders can be built on the same production line. The 3-cylinder diesel will be ready for a market introduction in the fourth quarter of 2014.
BMW fans may have been shocked when they learned that their beloved brand started developing four-cylinder engines. What they did not know then, is the 3-cylinder engines were already in an advanced stage of development. This summer, BMW also announced to develop front wheel drive
But wait, no reason to turn away. The 4-cylinder engines have proven to be worthy representatives of the brand and the engineers will undoubtedly be able to develop an excellent front wheel drive system as well.
A balance shaft, that is built in the engine’s crank case evens out the vibrations that you would typically expect in a 3-cylinder.
This is also the engine that will be used as a range extender in the BMW i8 hybrid sports car, that we will see in its latest configuration, but still as a concept, at the Los Angeles International Auto Show at the end of November.
But it will last nearly another year before we will be able to really judge the new engine in the new Mini. This first drive with the prototype should provide a little confidence to people who are still critical when hearing the word 3-cylinder.