One of the simplest and most effective methods of boosting power while reducing displacement is the introduction of a turbocharger system, something BMW has done to great effect with its award-winning N54 3.0L straight-six engine. However, there are more advanced systems currently in development that could be making their way to production very soon.
Speaking with WhatCar?, BMW’s Dr Stephan Neugebauer said further efficiency improvements could be brought about via the introduction of heat-energy recovery systems – the heat being the wasted hot exhaust gases.
BMW is currently working on two designs: a 'turbo steamer' that uses the exhaust heat to create electricity and a similar set-up to store mechanical energy. In May the carmaker showed off a 5-series sedan with a thermoelectric generation system installed, and before that Honda showed off its own version of the technology.
Some of the technologies available include installing a special thermoelectric material that can generate electric simply by being heated, adding a turbine-generation system, or even something as simple as installing solar panels on the roof.
Neugebauer also revealed that he hoped BMW would be able to make it fall within a cost range that would allow it to fit it into all its cars.