In an interview with WhatCar, BMW ’s Head of Engine Development, Peter Nefischer has confirmed that the company is preparing a three-cylinder engine for the 3-Series sedan to be completed in the next couple of years. Currently, three-cylinder engines are only used for small cars like the Volkswagen Up! and Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost, but the new fuel emission regulation may force many automakers to adopt the same strategy.
"Downsizing will go further, with smaller, more powerful engines," he said. He states that the reason behind going smaller is that they have reached their limit in terms of technology on their standard internal combustion engines. These smaller engines would then be combined with turbochargers to give them the required power for a car as large as the 3 Series.
BMW is currently preparing a three-cylinder engine for the i8 hybrid supercar, but don’t expect to see that same engine applied to the 3-Series because the 3-Series won’t be combined with an electric motor.