There are smaller engines on the horizon for BMW‘s 3-Series cars, though a specific date isn’t set yet.
According to an article published by What Car?, BMW said it has exhausted engine technology within the currently offered sizes and that the future is to move towards smaller, more powerful technology.
BMW already stepped in this direction by returning the 2012 3-Series to a 2.0-liter turbocharged four, but this represents the most drastic step to date: a three-cylinder engine. While the powerplants motivating BMW cars are getting smaller, the turbocharging systems the company uses are getting larger — or at least more complex.
The company’s engineers are already planning to implement a tri-turbo system in their M cars by using a single, smaller unit that spools up on exhaust much faster to deliver power almost instantly. Then two larger units take hold and create the sort of forced induction necessary for big power from a small motor.
The three-cylinder engine that BMW is working on for the 3-Series use is still about a couple years off, according to the company and won’t be the same as the unit used in the upcoming i8 hybrid, which will be available in 2013.
Instead, the company is focusing on making an engine that will be able to power cars as large as the 3-Series without help from electric motors, which will remain mostly paired with the six-cylinder engines found in current Bimmer hybrids.
While unconfirmed by company executives, it’s believed that the next-generation MINI models will also make use of 3-cylinder powerplants.
[Source: What Car?]