BMW Three-Cylinder Engine Pondered for US

Big news from BMW is coming in a small package in the 2012 Paris Motor Show’s wake: the brand is considering a three-cylinder engine for North America.

Doing so would represent a departure from the brand’s predominantly rear-wheel bias, but BMW is keeping up with the industry beat by reigning in engine displacement and boosting mile-per-gallon ratings. Recent and lesser efforts in that regard include the new BMW 328i that offers a turbocharged four cylinder instead of its former six. But last week the Bavarian brand brought its latest: the Concept Active Tourer.

More often than not, concept cars serve as a display window for things to expect in future cars without any plan to build the specific concept model. In this case, the Concept Active Tourer previewed some key items BMW might siphon Stateside in the future.

That specifically includes the concept’s turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which Bimmer claims is capable of 190 hp. That, along with its performance, is enough for BMW to claim it being on par with many V6 engines despite lacking half the cylinders.

In the Concept Active Tourer’s case, that engine is also helped by a hybrid drivetrain. Recent reports suggest the little engine could make it into upcoming MINI models, while the hybrid configuration might slip into the recently-shy i8 plug-in hybrid.

[Source: Automotive News]