Report: BMW Bringing I-3 to U.S., Spin 12 Models off New Platform

#BMW, #Ford

BMW is looking to get more from its development dollars. Not only will the Bavarian automaker bring versions of its new three-cylinder engine to U.S. shores (long a market averse to small engines), it is also looking to spin roughly a dozen models from its new front-wheel drive platform.

News of a three-cylinder engine from BMW isn't that new. We reported on the automaker's new powerplant earlier this month – the 1.5-liter I-3 is derived from the turbo 3.0-liter six found in the BMW 335i (the three-banger is literally half the engine of the six-cylinder) and is estimated to produce around 120-222 hp.

Automotive News is now reporting that BMW has confirmed that the downsized turbo-three will make it to U.S. shores in the coming years, starting with the range-extended i8 sports car and various vehicles in the Mini lineup. BMW will be the second automaker to offer a three-cylinder engine the U.S. – Ford has also announced that it will begin selling its Fiesta subcompact with a turbocharged 1.0-liter EcoBoost I-3 to American buyers next year.

Despite BMW being vague, we actually have a good idea on where the new I-3 will end up. AN is also reporting that the German carmaker is looking to milk its new UKL front-wheel drive platform for some 12 different models. We've previously reported that you can expect about half of the new cars to wear the Mini badge, but the rest to all fall under the Roundel's umbrella.

The first up will be the all-new 1 Series GT that was previewed at the Paris show last week with the Concept Active Tourer (pictured here). That car will spawn two more variants – a long-roof 1 Series Tourer (wagon) and a smaller, 1 Series city car – and also be closely related to the next-generation Mini Clubman. A Mini-branded minivan and its BMW counterpart will also come off of UKL, as will a BMW version of the next-generation Mini Countryman crossover. The remaining front-wheel drive models will be assigned to the BMW i brand of electrified cars. The i3 MPV is already confirmed, while the i5 van and i1 city car are currently on hold. Mini will also use the UKL platform and the new three-cylinder to revamp its current lineup as each of its present models are refreshed in the coming years.

Source: Automotive News 1, 2 (Subscription required)

GFB
Sad that BMW has joined the badge-engineering crowd. Rather than refreshing the MINI brand with a new-generation design language (how long can the retro design language survive in the market?) they dilute the BMW brand with FWD. While FWD packaging is great for small cars, how can larger cars like the coming 1-series be called the "ultimate driving machine" when the engine is hung out forward of the front axle-line?

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