Is Nothing Sacred Anymore? BMW To Bring Threebangers

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
is nothing sacred anymore bmw to bring threebangers

If the thought of a four-cylinder BMW gives you the creeps, then this will cause chronic dermatitis: BMW is thinking of putting three-cylinder engines into vehicles sold in the United States.

“Hybrids with a three-cylinder engine are coming rapidly,” BMW sales chief Ian Robertson told Automotive News [sub]. However, the three-bangers will be used for more than just charging a battery.

A BMW source told AN that the three-cylinder will be used for the Mini brand and for cars based on the new front-wheel-drive UKL platform. This in addition to powering the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid.

Says Robertson:

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

Blame it on CAFE, small gasoline engines displace bigger mills. Ford will bring its three-cylinder, 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine to the United States. AN thinks it will go into the Fiesta.

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6 of 51 comments
  • Stuki Stuki on Oct 01, 2012

    I'm less concerned about three cylinders, than 3 cylinders and a whole slew of turbos and associated tech to make them drive like larger engines. Are the few mpgs achieved by that kind of engineering really worth the added complexity over a somewhat larger 6 in real life? Or are expensive to buy and maintain, turboed mini engines simply easier to rig for gaming various government mileage tests? Or perhaps they are cost effective only in the kind of inflationary environments that have reigned in the past half century or more. Once one can no longer reliably afford a new car every two years based solely on the appreciation of one's mudhut in the dessert, such anachronisms as cost of repair may once again become relevant. Oh, and how long before we're seeing twins? Perhaps Harley will be seen as the cutting edge of car engines at some point. Now that ought to make "The Faithful" even more stuck up than they already are.

  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Oct 01, 2012

    In the early 90's I rented a Geo Metro with a 3-banger. Quite fun and zippy I also have driven the Saab 3 cylinder 2 cycle. With todays technology the number of cylinders is less important than HP and torque.

    • See 1 previous
    • Niky Niky on Oct 02, 2012

      @Lorenzo Blame old-school three speed Japanese autotragic transmission. Gearing it for intergalactic speeds in first gear was not Suzuki's greatest idea.

  • Acuraandy Acuraandy on Oct 01, 2012

    Nr. NEIN! Das ist Schwachsinn. Nr. 3 Zylinder!

  • Panzerfaust Panzerfaust on Oct 02, 2012

    My dyslexic brain read the headline as TREE-bangers. Well I knew they were trying to go green but this is ridiculous.