The future of the three-cylinder engine for the Golf looks optimistic, with Hackenberg stating that the company is developing the engine further but that it has a "great future". He also mentioned the fact that the Golf could be fitted with some form of electric propulsion - although sales would likely be focused on "megacities in China and the U.S."
BMW, too, is looking to downsize to three-cylinder engines for its base models. Sources close to both companies revealed the plans to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. For BMW, its three-cylinder engine will first be used in the next-generation 1-series due in 2011. The engines are currently in a testing phase and are still about two years away from launch.
While BMW is yet to confirm the reports, the new three-cylinder engine will displace 1.35L and output between 120hp (90kW) and 180hp (135kW) in various guises. The carmaker is also expected to launch a new four-cylinder engine to replace many of its six-cylinder units, which will displace 1.8L and output up to 240hp (180kW).
BMW is considering bringing this four-cylinder engine to the U.S. and Mercedes Benz is also thought to be planning a similarly small engine for its C-Class in the U.S. as well. Drivability will be key to their success, and to ensure adequate performance twin-turbocharging and direct-injection technology will be essential.