BMW Working on Their Answer to the Geo Metro?

by Benjamin Jones on May 10, 2009

BMW 1 Series Coupe

There aren’t that many 3 cylinders on the market right now. Fact is, if you think of 3 cylinder engines, you’re probably thinking of the old, discontinued Geo Metro. Now it looks like BMW is willing to try to reinvent the image of the 3 cylinder, though it’s debatable if they will offer the engine option in the US.

According to a UK publication, BMW is working on a 1.35 liter 3 cylinder engine for use in its 1 Series, 3 Series, and Z2 Roadster. These 3 cylinders would not be lethargic, offering at least 163 hp and 140 ft-lbs of torque.

Who knows if this will become reality or not. It seems like a strange step to take for the German automaker, but if they can really squeeze 163 hp out of a little 3 cylinder the engines might make a good fit for their smallest cars.

Popularity: 3% [?]


1 Tom May 10, 2009 at 6:09 pm

BMW had a 3 cylinder bike engine for a number of years. It was a 750 based on the k100 four. Because it had a balance shaft, it was quite smooth. I put about 70,000 miles on one with no problems.

2 Benjamin Jones May 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Wow, that’s a lot of mileage for a bike. I bet that engine would be a lot of fun in some sort of aero-bike. Thanks for the comment!

3 NeilBlanchard May 11, 2009 at 8:29 am

Hi Ben,

I too rode a BMW K75S (1987) for a little over 80,000 miles.

I wonder if these 3 cylinder engines will be similar to what I saw on GCC:

Or possible a heat recovery system?

Sincerely, Neil

4 Jim May 12, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Sounds good to me, less moving parts = more reliable, which is always good. Plus, less cylinders means more torque, which is also good. Probably a lower rev line, but hey, this isn’t a M3.

5 Chad June 11, 2009 at 7:39 pm

The Toyota iQ also has a 3 cylinder engine, although it sounds like it won’t be offered in the US Scion iQ version.

6 Neil Blanchard June 13, 2009 at 3:49 am

Hi Chad,

Yes, it will probably be (only) a 1.3L 4-cylinder in the US version — but it is a pretty special engine: it is the same physical size as the 1L 3-cylinder, and the cylinders are very small with a long stroke (and an Atkinson cycle?) for lower friction and good torque, and the valves have rollers instead of sliding tappets. And it will have a CVT transmission and Stop and Go tech, too.

Sincerely, Neil

Comments on this entry are closed.