The BMW Active Tourer Concept vehicle is a hybrid vehicle, with a twist. Instead of the hybrid drive-train being mated with an inline four-cylinder engine, it will be mated with an inline three-cylinder turbocharged engine.
The new concept “is powered by an electric motor and a 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 190 hp. Hybrids with a three-cylinder engine are coming rapidly,” said Ian Robertson, BMW AG board member for sales and marketing, at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.
BMW’s new line of engines are of a modular type, all based off the same 500cc base cylinder, which makes manufacturing simpler. Engine power can be adjusted as needed for each vehicle application. The 500cc cylinder can be multiplied as needed, anywhere from 1.5 liters, or three cylinders, up to 4.0 liters in a V-8 configuration.
The new three-cylinder design is just as powerful as modern four-cylinder engines, and even some older six-cylinder engines.For the most part, when people hear the words “three cylinders inline,” they might be a little put off, but consumers are going to need an adjustment in thinking if they are going to accept the changes required by the environment and economy. Consumers will enjoy excellent fuel economy without sacrificing performance.
The new engines, even though smaller in capacity, exhibit the same performance characteristics as bigger engines, but are much more efficient. Chances are, more manufacturers are going to see the benefit to putting the smaller engines in their vehicles, and consumers are going to enjoy the fuel savings and performance of the new vehicles.