BMW To Expand TwinPower Turbo Technology To Three-Cylinder Engines

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bmw engine main02

bmw engine main02

About a year ago we reported on BMW developing a new family of modular gasoline and diesel engines that will include a three-cylinder variant and eventually go into some 1.5 million BMW and MINI models annually.

BMW has now revealed that the engines will feature its latest ‘TwinPower Turbo’ technology in order to ensure that any car fitted with such tiny engines will still be worthy of carry the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ tag. Brand purists need not worry, however, as this new-generation of downsized engines is expected to feature in BMW’s upcoming range of front-wheel drive models.

TwinPower Turbo technology features a twin-scroll turbocharging system, direct fuel injection and solenoid injectors, the latter being the latest innovation for BMW’s VALVETRONIC variable valve control system. The resulting effect is a small engine--and small engine fuel economy--but with big engine performance.

2012 BMW minicar rendering

2012 BMW minicar rendering

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We recently saw a new TwinPower Turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine unveiled, which develops 245 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

This performance is comparable with the automaker’s naturally aspirated 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, so it’s not surprising that models wearing the number "28" on their bootlid will soon ditch their straight-sixes in favor of the turbo four.   

As for the new three-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engine range, the first model expected to use it will be the next-generation MINI due in 2014 and two front-wheel drive BMW models following shortly after.

The move to downsized engines is part of BMW’s wider goal to cut its average carbon dioxide emissions another 25 percent by 2020, after they were reduced 30 percent between 1995 and 2010.

For more information on BMW's future front-wheel drive models, click here.

[Automotive News, sub req’d]
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Comments (8)
  1. It would be interesting to see the fuel economy numbers on the 3 cylinder engines. Would they be better or the same as those of a 4 cyl. Looking at VW's 5 cyl unit, I don't see the big gains in fuel economy, but the power output seems to be on par with most 6 cylinder units.

  2. This is one of the many reasons I love BMW. They are actively working on making more efficient models while maintaining performance. What is interesting about this is to see what the FWD models will be like, and if handling will be diminished.

  3. The idea of a 3 cylinder turbo making 4 cylinder power is interesting, but BMW,please re-think the whole fwd car thing for the BMW brand, keep fwd vehicles as MINIs

  4. There is always the option of making FWD cars but with an 80/20 bias to the front wheels. this will mean it wont have the weight of a standard 4wd system and only a re-jigging a standard system will be required. They already have in their R&D depts. a rear wheel bias drive train but at an 80/20 split. All they need to do is flip that system and fumble with the gearing a bit to get the desired effect. A fully FWD BMW should be a no go. To make it steal and conquer over the Audi A3 FWD (don’t count the Quattro as it is a very heavy car) it needs to be RWD or All Paw with FWD bias. Thank me later

  5. You guys are forgetting that the vast majority of people buying the entry-level BMW models like the 1-Series (80% in fact) don't even know what wheels are doing the driving.
    This won't hurt BMW at all, it will likely bring them thousands of new customers since the cars are likely to be even cheaper.
    Sadly, I can't say the same for the diehards or reminisct of the days of old.

  6. Damien, just because the customers are ignorant of if it is rwd of fwd does not mean BMW should go the fwd route

  7. @NoNameDenton,
    Ahh, but NoName, that is exactly my point. You are speaking as a fan or purist. If BMW can draw in thousands of new customers, should it not do it? Economically, it is sound business, but as a luxury brand perhaps not. In the future, I suspect BMW will no longer be the luxury brand people aspired to during the late 1990s and most of the last decade. I was one of those people, but going into the future, Jaguar now excites me more. Nothing I hate seeing more is when I drive my E65 7-Series and some young punk in their 1-Series Cabrio that daddy bought them speeds past me in the typical BMW-douche driving style.

  8. To be honest the new buyers of BMW aren’t interested in how well it drives or corners, or how BMW has always been at the forefront with innovations etc along with its Stuttgart based rival. No, these new buyers only care about the badge at the front of the car as a fashion statement, and that is it.
    It’s a terrible truth in that society as a whole is acting more and more like this not just with cars but with everything else. You only have to look at all these oh so smart people over extending themselves with loans well beyond their means, and when the GEC took hold in 2008-2010 they couldn’t cover their outlays.
    If you have the money to purchase a BMW (or whatever brand you like) to appreciate a great driving machine then by all means indulge yourself, you probably deserve it. But to purchase the car purely on the fact that its badge is recognised as a fashion icon goes against the principles that BMW (and a lot of other Marques) used to stand by.
    Therefore although your reasoning and theory is valid I don’t buy into it from a practical standpoint nor a lover of cars

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