With reports indicating that BMW will move to using 3-cylinder engines in the next-generation MINI Cooper range (and possibly the 1 Series range as well), it still comes as a shock to hear execs at the German automaker talking about 2-cylinder power.
In a recent interview with Auto Motor und Sport, BMW's product development boss, Dr. Klaus Draeger, hinted that 2-cylinder engines may wind up under the hood of some BMW and MINI models in the future. According to Draeger, the company would look at 500cc engines with a target of roughly 50 to 80-hp.
BMW wouldn't be the first automaker to explore 2-cylinder engines either with Fiat recently unveiling the 500 TwinAir a the Paris Auto Show, sporting a 900cc displacement and a turbocharger to make 85-hp.
The reason for the engines isn't just overall fuel economy, but the fact that gasoline engines are some of the cheapest to produce, whereas both diesel and hybrid engines cost considerably more – and for low cost urban runabouts, even small increases in the manufacturing and parts price can make a huge difference in overall cost.
Even if BMW does move ahead with plans to unveil a new line of 2-cylinder engines they're likely still several years off. As for what products they could appear in, we'd look to the upcoming front-drive 1 Series hatches for Europe as well as the next-generation MINI Cooper, near the end of their life cycle. MINI is also rumored to be working on a new MINI Minor that would slot in underneath the Cooper – a vehicle that would likely be the perfect platform to debut 2-cylinder technology.
More: BMW Considering 2-Cylinder Engines for Future Models