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With the current Z4 having grown considerably over its predecessor, rumors of a more compact BMW sports car have been circulating for years. Those rumors will become reality at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show, when the German automaker unveils the rumored Z2.
According to one Australian outlet, an unnamed BMW exec confirmed the debut while at the launch of the new 6 Series Convertible.
As to the details, nothing has been revealed, with rumors headed in two very opposite directions. The first is that the car will be a proper rear-drive sports car, possibly powered by BMW’s new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and competing with the upcoming baby-Boxster. That new engine makes a solid 245-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in the X1 xDrive28i.
In stark contrast to that car is a concept that will look at a future front-drive sports car under BMW’s upcoming ‘i’ brand of vehicles, concentrating on fuel economy and perhaps making use of a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine – which is expected to be used in the next MINI Cooper.
Perhaps more exciting is the possibility that this is not an either-or proposition, as there is arguably room for both models in the BMW lineup. Regardless, the new car is certain to be a concept and won’t see production in the immediate future.
The thought of a front-drive BMW was inconceivable less than 5 years ago, but the Bavarian luxury car maker appears to be planning an onslaught of front-drive models for launch by 2016, including a couple crossovers, a sports car and a new compact.
The first front-driver will be a 1 Series GT, another pointless crossover, but one that BMW evidently feels earns a spot in its lineup. The silver lining is that it will share a platform with the wonderful MINI Clubman, giving it excellent dynamics even if its technically a “downmarket” car. More intriguing is the BMW Z1, a compact roadster that would mimic the Lotus Elan of the early 1990′s by sending power to the front via a turbocharged 4-cylinder.
A compact, as well as the next generation 1-Series will likely follow suit, since 1-Series drivers apparently don’t know or care about which wheels are being driven. Naturally, a whole new range of MINIs will follow, including an all-new variant said to be the size of the original Mini Cooper.
[Source: Inside Line]
BMW has made it clear that it is working hard to deliver performance as well as fuel economy, doing away with larger displacement motors wherever possible and introducing turbocharged smaller-displacement powerplants that produce as much (or more) power.
While BMW has been able to give impressive performance to sporty models like the 135 and 335 by using the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six, the entry-level 1- and 3-Series models do with naturally aspirated motors.
BMW is rumored to be changing this with a new line of turbocharged 1.35-liter 3-cylinder and turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engines, as an integral part of the Efficient Dynamics initiative. The new engines would also be used in the rumored Z2 sportscar.
Three different versions of the turbo-three would be offered with 163, 201 and 241 horsepower, respectively. As for the turbo-fours, there would be just two with either 273hp or 321hp.
As is often the case, many of these new engines would not be available in North American models. However, some of the larger versions would.
There is no word on how much fuel economy would be improved.
Here’s a full list of the specs for each model:
x16i – 1.35-litre, 3-cylinder, 163bhp/140 lb-ft
x18i – 1.35-litre, 3-cylinder, 201bhp/162 lb-ft
x20i – 1.35-litre, 3-cylinder, 241bhp/192 lb-ft
x23i – 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder, 273bhp/220 lb-ft
x25i – 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder, 321bhp/258 lb-ft
[Source: Sky Motoring]