The entry-level BMW 2-Series coupe in the U.S. is the 228i, which sports a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. Overseas, however, BMW has just introduced a new 218i variant which gets a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. The tiny mill, which is shared with the MINI Cooper Hardtop and some other BMW models, is rated at 136 hp and 162 lb-ft.

Paired with the car’s standard six-speed manual, the new engine accelerates the 2-Series coupe from 0-62 mph in 8.8 seconds. Opt for the available eight-speed automatic and the acceleration time grows to 8.9 seconds. Top speed is 131 mph for both.

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The 218i is thus clearly intended for those seeking efficiency rather than performance, with BMW promising fuel economy of between 42 and 46 mpg on the European combined cycle.

BMW turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine

BMW turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine

The car’s engine features fuel saving technologies such as direct fuel injection and variable valve timing, and to help boost responsiveness and top-end power there is a turbocharger integrated into the exhaust manifold. Finally, the engine also features a forged steel roller-bearing supported balancer shaft in order to reduce vibration.

We’re unlikely to see the three-cylinder option offered in the 2-Series coupe sold here in the U.S., though it may be made available on the upcoming 2-Series Active Tourer as well as the 1-Series sedan due out in the coming years.

Other 2-Series coupe variants that we miss out on include a 218d, 220d and a 225d; all are powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine.


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