BMW is bringing four-cylinder engines back to the U.S.

Article by Christian A., on August 31, 2011

BMW AG is bringing back its four-cylinder engines to the U.S. -- 12 years since it stopped offering this slow-selling option. The engine will be offered in the company’s 5-series mid-sized sedans and Z4 roadster that will start to arrive at the dealerships in the U.S. by October. In addition, more nameplates will have the smaller engine with the company’s TwinPower turbo.

In 1999, the company removed the engine from its 3-series line when the cost of gasoline was $1.14 per gallon. According to BMW's head of U.S. operations, Jim O'Donnell, the engine was not in line with their image and its performance was not at par with the six-cylinder ones.

He further stated that the company was selling itself as “the ultimate driving machine and really it wasn't.” Moreover, he explained that now that the engines have been developed, it is not an issue anymore, according to Autonews. BMW is the bestseller this year when it comes to premier cars in the United States.

BMW, just like the Audi of Volkswagen AG and the Mercedes-Benz of Daimler AG, is bringing new four-cylinder, turbocharged engines into the U.S., which is the second largest market in the world, as the administration of Obama urges the industry to increase fuel efficiency in order to minimize dependency on imported oil.

Specifically, the U.S. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) requirement is increasing to 35.5 mpg by 2016 and to 54.5 mpg by 2025. As revealed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it increases to 30.1 mpg this 2011 from 27.5 mpg last year. O'Donnell stated in an interview that the CAFE is definitely driving this, and that it is a big matter for the company.

He added that if they get this wrong, “it screws up all of our plans in the U.S." According to the website of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the CAFE rating of BMW for its light trucks was 25.5 mpg while for passenger cars, it was 29.9 mpg in model year 2011. Daimler's CAFE for light trucks was 21.1 mpg and for passenger cars, it was 26.9 mpg.

The administration of US President Barack Obama has doubled the corporate average fuel economy standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025. This new CAFE standards continue the pace at which mileage standards were hiked by the Obama administration from 2012 to 2016. These newest CAFE targets stand for one of the largest jumps in fuel-efficiency targets since the US government created fuel-efficiency standards in the 1970s to lessen its reliance on foreign oil.

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