According to a report published in German magazine Auto Motor und Sport recently the upcoming 2012 BMW 1 and 3 Series range, and upcoming Z2 model (pictured below), could feature a number of fuel efficient three-cylinder engines on its entry level models.
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Sources close to BMW say the three-cylinder engines will power some lower end models exclusively while others in the range will have the engine coupled to a hybrid arrangement.

Although speculative at best, the claims for engine output are listed as follows, though bear in mind, these figures are only an estimate and will most likely change many times before production:

  • 1/316i: 1335cc three-cylinder (90kW/190Nm)
  • 1/318i: 1335cc three-cylinder (110kW/220Nm)
  • 1/320i: 1335cc three-cylinder (132kW/260Nm)

Now it may seem odd that BMW would take this direction, but with even stricter emission regulations just around the corner and the ever growing need for cleaner technologies, BMW's Efficient Dynamics program has been working hard to ensure that the sporty drive favoured in its models will not be lost in the move to smaller displacement engines with the three pot offerings all believed to utilise turbocharger technology.

Best of all for those of us that still want outright performance, BMW will continue to offer their award winning six- and eight-cylinder engines in upper-spec models.