BMW Moving Toward an All-Turbocharged Engine Lineup

Say goodbye to the normally aspirated BMW engine. The Bavarian automaker is currently developing a new modular family of inline three-, four-, and six-cylinder engines with the intention of using turbochargers on every application. That leaves the M3’s normally aspirated V-8 as the only BMW engine sucking air without assistance and as we’ve previously reported, that mill is destined to be replaced with a turbocharged six-cylinder in the car’s next iteration.

The new EfficientDynamics engine family also stakes out fresh turf for BMW with both three-cylinder engines and front-wheel-drive cars. The modular architecture is designed to accommodate gas and diesel fuel systems in either transverse (front-wheel-drive) or longitudinal (rear-wheel-drive) applications. Along with turbocharging, all EfficientDynamics engines will use direct injection and the Valvetronic variable valve-lift system. BMW is branding that technology trio TwinPower Turbo, much in the way Ford uses EcoBoost to describe turbocharged, direct-injected engines.

All of the engines share an aluminum crankcase, bore spacing, a spray-on cylinder bore coating, and cylinder head bolt layout. Each cylinder adds about a half liter of displacement, 40-67 hp, and 44-74 lb-ft of torque when fed with gas. Diesel engines will be good for 27-54 hp and 55-74 lb-ft per cylinder. BMW says the modularity enables the company to build cheaper engines through reduced production complexity and economies of scale. Among three-, four-, and six-cylinder engines using the same type of fuel, the engines have 60 percent commonality. Gas and diesel engines of the same cylinder count will have 40 percent commonality. The EfficientDynamics engines will be manufactured in Munich and Steyr, Austria.

While the U.S. market will receive the N20 turbocharged inline four-cylinder in 2012, that engine is not one of the new modular powertrains. The first EfficientDynamics engine should arrive in three to four years.

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