BMW considers fitting US vehicles with three-cylinder engines

Article by Anita Panait, on October 2, 2012

BMW is mulling a three-cylinder engine for its vehicles marketed in the United States. Ian Robertson, BMW AG board member for sales and marketing, said at the Paris Auto Show that the hybrids with a three-cylinder engine are “coming rapidly." A source at BMW told Automotive News that three-cylinder engines will be installed on the vehicles of the Mini brand as well as on the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid in the US.

In Europe, BMW is considering a plan to power vehicles based on its new front-wheel-drive UKL platform with three-cylinder engines. The source disclosed to Automotive News that the three-cylinder engine could be used in both hybrid and non-hybrid vehicles. BMW is displaying a Concept Active Tourer, a compact FWD wagon that is fitted with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The Concept Active Tourer is powered by electric motor and a 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine that provides up to 190 hp of power, according to Robertson. BMW’s board member for sales and marketing said that the 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine behaves like a six-cylinder. He remarked though that it is half of a six-cylinder engine and has the noise of a six cylinder.

He also quipped that the output from the three-cylinder engine exceeds imaginations. According to Robertson, customers don't necessarily want to "know the ins and outs" of their engine, "but they want performance." BMW is not the only carmaker aiming to introduce three-cylinder engines to the US, as Ford Motor Co. has announced it will bring its three-cylinder, 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine to the country. Although Ford has yet to disclose which vehicle the engine would be installed, sources privy to the matter said it will likely be the Fiesta.

BMW Active Tourer Concept is defined by its harmonious proportions, allowing this study to be as elegant and as sporty no matter how people look at it. Basically, the BMW Active Tourer Concept shows how a single dynamic design could combine compact dimensions, versatility and functionality.

Finished in exclusive High Reflection Silver exterior paint, the new BMW Active Tourer Concept features a plethora of additional applications on the front end, the side and the rear end. Its high-gloss surfaces feature brushed velvet matt on the undersurface, resulting to a harmonious interplay between light and shade.

On the front end, the BMW Active Tourer Concept is unmistakably a BMW, thanks to certain elements that define the brand’s vehicle. For instance, the BMW Active Tourer Concept dons BMW’s signature front-tilted radiator grille as flanked by stunning twin headlights. Above these headlamps are eyebrow-like LED positioning lights that extend into the side panels and the multi-faceted front apron. Below these headlamps are two large outer air intakes that help highlight the concept’s wide stance.

On the sides, the BMW Active Tourer Concept reveals an elongated silhouette and a wedge shape, making it seem that the study is moving even at a standstill. Moreover, the new BMW Active Tourer Concept is provided with integrated door openers as well as contrasted side sills with rising shadow lines. The side view of the BMW Active Tourer Concept also reveals a long wheelbase as well as short front and rear overhangs – intended to make it more spacious than its seems. The new BMW Active Tourer Concept also comes with a raised roof line as well as large front and rear doors, making sure that entry and exit are as easy as possible. The concept rides on large 20-inch wheels.

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