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      09-14-2012, 12:03 PM   #1
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Arrow First BMW 3 cylinder turbo engine review from test drive (Autocar)

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Autocar: http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/...nder-prototype



What is it?

This prototype 1-series is fitted with BMW’s eagerly anticipated new three-cylinder petrol engine [BMW 3 cylinder engine details]. Strangely, given how eager they were to reveal other aspects of their newest and perhaps most radical production car engine to date, BMW’s engineers weren't too forthcoming about the power and torque figures of the new turbocharged three-cylinder petrol unit when they allowed us a brief test of this 1-series prototype.

Official figures will come later. For now we can report the particular version of the new engine we tried develops in the region of 178bhp and 199lb ft – impressive enough figures given its relatively small 1.5-litre capacity. But as other BMW data reveals, it is clearly not the highest state of tune it will be offered in.

It will play a major role in the second phase of its EfficientDynamics program which sets out to provide a 25 per cent reduction in fleet consumption by 2020. BMW says the alloy block engine is up to 10 per cent more economical than its existing 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, which was developed in partnership with Peugeot.

Still, the story here extends more than the output and fuel saving properties of BMW’s new entry-level engine. Engine boss, Fritz Steinpanzer, told Autocar, the compact three-cylinder is the starting point for a while new range of engines, including replacements for today’s four- and six-cylinder units, that will head into various BMW models within the next year or so. All share common architecture that will enable them to be produced alongside one another on the same production lines for improved efficiency and cost saving.

More significantly is the fact that two of the new engines - the three-cylinder tested here and its yet to be revealed four-cylinder sibling - have been engineered to be mounted both transversely and longitudinally, paving the way for BMW’s first ever front-wheel drive car, as previewed by the Concept Active Tourer. Purists will scream. They often do. But BMW insists the only way they can successfully compete against the premium brand competition, namely Audi and Mercedes-Benz, in the volume segments is though a fundamental change to its existing engineer philosophy. Until now, it has held steadfastly to longitudinally mounted engines and a combination of both rear- and four-wheel drive.

BMW isn’t the first car maker to turn to three cylinder engines, of course. Daihatsu has a long history of such units in this country. Ford has also recently made big waves with its latest EcoBoost engine. But while not the first, the German car maker is treading new ground by proposing to introduce them to the executive car ranks as part of its EfficientDyanmics program – and not just in petrol guise but in diesel form, too.

What is it like?

Our first experience of the new BMW engine comes by way of a brief drive of a 1-series prototype fitted with the new petrol engine. Although conceived primarily for transverse mounting and front-wheel drive applications, including that of the new-generation Mini, the development unit we’ve been invited to test is mounted longitudinally and channels its drive to the rear wheels.

As with BMW’s new four and six-cylinder engines, the new three-cylinder receives an individual cylinder capacity of 500cm3. According to Steinpanzer, it is the optimum size regarding frictional, vibrational thermal properties. Other key features include a single air-to-air turbocharger, BMW’s patented Valvetronic system which provides continuously variable adjustment of both the inlet and exhaust valves, and the latest in high pressure direct injection technology.

The compact three-cylinder starts, like all BMW engines these days, with a push of dashboard mounted button, idling with a distant and rather unique timbre. This prototype is equipped with an eight speed automatic gearbox, modified with remapped electronics to take full advantage of the new engine’s unique properties. It’s a combination BMW says provides the best compromise between performance and economy.

From the first probing nudge of the throttle it’s clear the new unit is already at a fairly advanced state of development. It hauls the 1-series off the line with deceptive vigor and a degree of smoothness in low to middling revs I’ve yet to experience from a three-cylinder powerplant, Ford’s excellent 1.0-litre unit included. The inclusion of a counter rotating balancing shaft has successfully dampened the characteristic vibration, endowing the new BMW engine with remarkable refinement by existing three-cylinder standards.

It is the responsiveness of the new unit, though, that really stands out, giving it the sort of sporting attributes that have become part and parceled of just about all BMW engines down through the years. We are yet to discover exactly how much boost pressure it runs, but there is little hint of lag, just a lovely linear flow of power.

It sounds great, too, different to BMW’s existing four- and six-cylinder in a lot of ways. There is less of the characteristic turbine whine and more of a mechanical growl from up front, and the exhaust note is deeper with a character not unlike that of Subaru’s horizontally opposed four-cylinder once the revs begin to rise. And rise they do. As Steinpanzer explains: "One of the key development goals was to ensure the B38 could be carry its revs like traditional four- and six-cylinder BMW engines. We didn’t want to give up that unique selling point." The delivery is sophisticated, with strong urge from around 1500rpm well past the 5000rpm mark. Keep it spinning - and with such a fascinating exhaust note there is great incentive to do just that - and it will pull to 6500rpm before the onset of the electric rev limiter.

With some 44bhp and 37lb ft more than the turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder used by the 116i, I’d suggest the prototype it would record a 0-62mph time of less than 8.0sec. On light throttle loads and typical motorway speeds, the trip computer also suggested something in the region of 56mpg, although as BMW was quick to point out this should only be taken as a very rough guide. It is, after all, just a prototype.

Should I buy one?

Our original two laps of BMW’s test facility on the outskirts of Munich ultimately turned into six with photography tasks thrown in. It wasn’t enough. BMW’s new three cylinder engine is nothing but intriguing.

Despite the limited mileage, we are already sold on its strong torque qualities, overall responsiveness, inherent smoothness throughout its complete rev range and alluring acoustic qualities. Just how all this will be carried over to the production version remains to be seen. And then there is the big question of how it will evolve in front-wheel drive guise.

For the moment, though, we can confidently say the future for BMW’s entry level models and its reputation for sportiness looks good.

BMW 1-Series prototype
Price n/a
Top speed 137mph (est)
0-62mph 8.0sec (est)
Economy 56mpg (est)
Weight 1260kg (est)
Engine 3-cyls, 1500cc, turbocharged petrol
Power 178bhp (est)
Torque 199lb ft (est)
Gearbox eight-speed automatic

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      09-14-2012, 12:38 PM   #2
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kinda surprised if that engine will have more torque and hp than the bmw 118i

yesterday i read an article that each cilinder would give no more than 60nm torque in the petrol version yet above article states the 3 cilinder will be more powerfull than the 1.6 turbo 4 cilinder?

For the diesel it was something of 110nm each cilinder, making it a contestant of the 118d
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      09-14-2012, 04:25 PM   #3
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not more torque but for sure more hp
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      09-15-2012, 04:28 PM   #4
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118i has already some good performance numbers so this new engine has to be better to replace the actual one
So, what we know in this moment for 118i: 0-100km/h in 7,2 sec with the 8 speed tranny, the value for torque: 250Nm between 1500 - 4500rpm.
The estimations done during the test indicate some close numbers to the existing ones, but not better!
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      09-15-2012, 06:07 PM   #5
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Figures seem impressive.
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      09-15-2012, 08:46 PM   #6
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I'm hugely impressed by this little engine and I can't wait to see what the new inline six will be like. It seems reasonable to me that it could have double this engine's power and torque so a 3 liter with somewhere around 350hp and up to 400lb/ft in the 335i replacement is possible.
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      09-15-2012, 08:59 PM   #7
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It's very good for a 1.5L, but it's no 3L six. In a light car with an electric motor to help out, it will sip fuel and perform decently.
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      09-15-2012, 10:31 PM   #8
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Is it time to change the "twin power"badge?
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      09-16-2012, 04:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remonster View Post
I'm hugely impressed by this little engine and I can't wait to see what the new inline six will be like. It seems reasonable to me that it could have double this engine's power and torque so a 3 liter with somewhere around 350hp and up to 400lb/ft in the 335i replacement is possible.
'New' inline six? The N55 will most likely run for quite some time and the M135i is a good indication of what is now available, with 320 HP stock (and probably more when actually strapped to a dyno). The M3 might run a newer iteration altogether but that is some ways down the line.

As to the article, and 500cm3 being optimal, it's ironic in my case insofar as recent cars owned:

Golf 5 GTI: 2 litre / 4 cylinder
BMW 135i: 3 litre / 6 cylinder
Ford Focus ST: 2.5 litre / 5 cylinder

... all 500cm3
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      09-16-2012, 04:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusion01 View Post
'New' inline six? The N55 will most likely run for quite some time and the M135i is a good indication of what is now available, with 320 HP stock (and probably more when actually strapped to a dyno). The M3 might run a newer iteration altogether but that is some ways down the line.

As to the article, and 500cm3 being optimal, it's ironic in my case insofar as recent cars owned:

Golf 5 GTI: 2 litre / 4 cylinder
BMW 135i: 3 litre / 6 cylinder
Ford Focus ST: 2.5 litre / 5 cylinder

... all 500cm3
The current N55 is being phased out. It takes time to do so as we had seen with the N54. This is not a new plan and has been discussed for over a year now. Up until this year the "IS" models and 1M had the N54- The phase out will take three years or so.

The debut of the new six will not be until the F32 and F10 Facelift if what I have heard is true, if not considering the F80


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Originally Posted by Diver View Post
It's very good for a 1.5L, but it's no 3L six. In a light car with an electric motor to help out, it will sip fuel and perform decently.
In peak form the I3 will be 220hp. Let's not forget that BMW is making the 116i now, and that is a four banger with less power than the base turbo 3 will have. The wonders of planning an underpowered 4 cylinder model on purpose to market a future 3 cylinder that has MORE!
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      09-16-2012, 07:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
The debut of the new six will not be until the F32 and F10 Facelift if what I have heard is true, if not considering the F80
True, The new Six will be launched with the F32 in a repeat story as the 2006 launch of the E92 brought the first modern BMW Turbo engine - The N54.
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      09-16-2012, 07:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCOTT26 View Post
True, The new Six will be launched with the F32 in a repeat story as the 2006 launch of the E92 brought the first modern BMW Turbo engine - The N54.
Thanks for verifying that what I have been told is indeed the plan moving forward

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      09-16-2012, 08:13 AM   #13
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"A little math gives us a range in horsepower from 120 to approximately 200 ponies. For diesels, the low end of the char shows 20 kW per cylinder or 80 horsepower per engine. At the high end, 180 ponies will drive the diesel-powered vehicle. The torque ranges are 180 to 270 Nm for petrol, and 225 to 300 Nm for diesel."

"For vehicles under 1,300 kilograms, a 3-cylinder engine is the prime candidate. Anything above that weight will jump into the 4-cylinder Territory. As BMW says, do not expect a 2,000 kg vehicle to be moved by a 1.5 liter engine. "

Quotes from BMWblog after their testdrive.


According to those figures, a petrol could give max 270 NM and 200 HP. So that means it could be used in a future 118i as its suppose to be stronger on paper (current 118i is 250NM and 170HP).

A good moment would be when they do a facelift with new engines. Using anything below that would mean going backwards and i don't think they will do that. the 116i will probably be an equivalent to the current 118i in terms of power.

So what that means in my opinion, if they don't have any of those enhanced engines, anything above 118i or 318i will still use 4 cilinder engines.

For diesel: their max torque is 20 NM less than the current 118d, so again, nothing above the 118d will probably use the 3 cilinder.

It seems this engine is focused for new minis and entry level engines for bmw (114i-116i-maybe 118i)
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      09-16-2012, 10:11 AM   #14
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It has greater power and torque then the 118 but slower in 0-100??? Same weight also.....!!?
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      09-16-2012, 10:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCOTT26 View Post
True, The new Six will be launched with the F32 in a repeat story as the 2006 launch of the E92 brought the first modern BMW Turbo engine - The N54.
That means the N55 replacement will be late 2013 for the US market, maybe even early 2014 if they launch it with the 4/5/6/7 cars in Europe for a few months, then bring it to the US in March 2014 for the 2er and F30.
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      09-16-2012, 10:53 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by mapezzul View Post




In peak form the I3 will be 220hp. Let's not forget that BMW is making the 116i now, and that is a four banger with less power than the base turbo 3 will have. The wonders of planning an underpowered 4 cylinder model on purpose to market a future 3 cylinder that has MORE!
Looks like the 3 cylinder will come in different power outputs just like the current 1.6 4 cylinder turbo in the 114i, 116i and 118i.

BMW has already released details of its concept active tourer and that had a 1.5 litre 3 cylinder with a lower output similar to the 116i 4 cylinder.

I'd expect the 114i, 116i and 118i to all continue with similar outputs but with the 1.6l four replaced buy the 1.5litre three. This would give BMW and instant CO2 saving across three models and help BMW achieve their CO2 reductions that they are required to do under EU law.

Oh and the 1.6 litre 4 can be found with 220bhp in the Mini Countryman JCW

Cheers
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      09-16-2012, 11:29 AM   #17
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The new 118i will have 20 more NM and 30 more HP. Seems a legit upgrade.

It's alrdy a fact more or less that all minis and the 114 and 116i will have this new engine.

One thing remains though. The best diesel version of the new engine has slightly less torque than the 118d so either they gonna enhance it just for the 118d or that one remains a 4 cilinder
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      09-16-2012, 12:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapezzul View Post

In peak form the I3 will be 220hp. Let's not forget that BMW is making the 116i now, and that is a four banger with less power than the base turbo 3 will have. The wonders of planning an underpowered 4 cylinder model on purpose to market a future 3 cylinder that has MORE!
Obviously the efficiency advantage of smaller engines with fewer cylinders derives from reduced internal friction. Turbochargers put the horsepower back. There is an AMG engine here or on the way that extracts 370 hp from a 2L four, so 220 should be easy to get to on 1.5L, and would be in the range of the outgoing NA I6. The real questions are about how it drives, starting torque and responsiveness. In the end, if it drives good, few will care about how many cylinders it has. Getting back to the electric side, this sort of pairing provides very good starting torque.

With the new US efficiency standards, it is going to be very interesting to see how the next 13 years play out. Hopefully, we will not have an automotive dark ages as the US experienced from 1967 until 1992 when computerized engine controls finally caught up with regulatory fiat. Cars drove so poorly in the 70's that removing pollution control parts was a national pastime.
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      09-16-2012, 12:45 PM   #19
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Obviously the efficiency advantage of smaller engines with fewer cylinders derives from reduced internal friction.
Actually I miss the friction. The F20 116i has very weak engine braking torque. When going downhill, even in second gear, it will roll almost all the way up to the redline before it stops accelerating, and then I'm already over the speed limits. It is supposed to regenerate energy by charging the batteries, but it is not even noticeable. I would like to have some electric motors in the car to generate some real braking power that can be used next time I want to accelerate.
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      09-16-2012, 12:49 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Diver View Post
Obviously the efficiency advantage of smaller engines with fewer cylinders derives from reduced internal friction. Turbochargers put the horsepower back. There is an AMG engine here or on the way that extracts 370 hp from a 2L four, so 220 should be easy to get to on 1.5L, and would be in the range of the outgoing NA I6. The real questions are about how it drives, starting torque and responsiveness. In the end, if it drives good, few will care about how many cylinders it has. Getting back to the electric side, this sort of pairing provides very good starting torque.

With the new US efficiency standards, it is going to be very interesting to see how the next 13 years play out. Hopefully, we will not have an automotive dark ages as the US experienced from 1967 until 1992 when computerized engine controls finally caught up with regulatory fiat. Cars drove so poorly in the 70's that removing pollution control parts was a national pastime.
Fortunately, current day automakers witnessed the "big three" almost go out of business while dragging their feet on regulatory requirements. A lot of the auto industry at the time believed that the government would let them slide if they saw a decline in economic performance. That didn't happen, and today, regulators have all the power they need to push the requirements forward. Automakers won't get so far behind that they'd be caught in that vice again.
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      09-16-2012, 01:08 PM   #21
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Fortunately, current day automakers witnessed the "big three" almost go out of business while dragging their feet on regulatory requirements. A lot of the auto industry at the time believed that the government would let them slide if they saw a decline in economic performance. That didn't happen, and today, regulators have all the power they need to push the requirements forward. Automakers won't get so far behind that they'd be caught in that vice again.
The tech is there now, automakers just need to stop making excuses. BMW is not making any and pressing forward. If they can get this stuff out the door as a relatively "small" company than the big boys can do even more. Instead of padding packets do some R&D, pay your CEO a bit less and get things progressing.

We are witnessing a huge shift in the industry, and I am excited.
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      09-16-2012, 01:24 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Btdew View Post
The new 118i will have 20 more NM and 30 more HP. Seems a legit upgrade.

It's alrdy a fact more or less that all minis and the 114 and 116i will have this new engine.

One thing remains though. The best diesel version of the new engine has slightly less torque than the 118d so either they gonna enhance it just for the 118d or that one remains a 4 cilinder
I don't think the 3 cylinder 118 will get that much.

The 1.6 4 cylinder is already available with 200 to 220bhp in some mini's.
BMW needed an engine line up for the 1 series and went with.
114i 75kw
116i 100kw
118i 125kw

When the 3 cylinder unit replaces the 4 cylinder 1.6 I still think those power and price points will remain very similar.

The only unknown is will the 220bhp I3 replace the 2.0litre 4 cylinder in the 125i.

It's certain the 118i and 125i can't have outputs so close, they will need at least 25kw difference.

Regards
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