BMW has made it clear that its future engine lineup is going to be smaller, turbocharged and direct-injected. How small? Take one of its venerable I-Sixes and half it. Where can we expect to see BMW’s new I-3 first? According to Autocar, the answer is under the hood of the next generation 1 Series.
With BMW’s new EfficientDynamics modular engine family, BMW has claimed to have found the “perfect” single cylinder displacement of 500cc, or 0.5-liter. BMW’s new turbocharged I-3 will displace 1.5-liters, its new turbocharged I-4 will displace 2.0-liters and its new turbo I-6 will displace 3.0-liters. All three engines will come with variable-valve timing, fuel injection and twin-scroll turbochargers. Besides the cylinder count the engines are more or less completely identical, cutting BMW’s costs while simultaneously expanding its engine lineup.
According to BMW development head, Klaus Draeger, the new modular I-3 could conceivably work in a longitudinal fashion in a rear- drive car like the upcoming 3 Series, but don’t expect that to happen. “They are not a priority for the 3 Series,” he said. “We’ll start with the front-wheel drive architecture and more price sensitive models.”
The front-wheel drive model Draeger’s talking about is BMW’s new 1 Series lineup. BMW is in the process of completely reshuffling its vehicle lines, and the 1 Series is expected to become more economical and front-wheel drive, with a sedan and the new Family Activity Sports Tourer, or FAST — a five-door wagon/hatch similar to Mercedes-Benz’s A- and B-Class. BMW is expected to share the new front-drive platform with the next-gen Mini. The current 1 Series as we know is expected to become the 2 Series coupe and convertible.
Draeger also told Autocar that the N37 (BMW’s internal name for the gas version of the engine) will match the 54-hp-per-cylinder rating of BMW’s new N20 turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4. Crunch the numbers and that implies that a top-spec version of the N37 will output up to 162-hp. Expect the new turbo three-bangers to make their debut in the next generation 1 Series when it debuts in 2013.