Future BMWs will use new turbocharged three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, the company’s development boss, Klaus Draeger, has confirmed.
The frugal new engines have a 1.5-litre capacity; each cylinder is 500cc, in line with BMW’s modular production processes. Contrary to recent comments from other high-level officials, Draeger says the three-pot engines are not planned for the next BMW 3-series, set to be unveiled in saloon guise in October and on sale in the UK early next year.
“They are not a priority for the 3-series,” Draeger told Autocar last week. “We’ll start with the front-wheel drive architecture and more price-sensitive models.”
That is a reference to the new front-wheel drive platform structure that BMW is developing for the third generation of the modern-day Mini and new entry-level BMW model that will form part of an expanded second-generation 1-series line-up.
Draeger revealed that the petrol version of the engine, known internally as N37, has the potential to match the maximum 54bhp-per-cylinder rating of the firm’s recently introduced turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder N20. This suggests range-topping versions of the new triple will develop up to 160bhp.