As BMWNA prepares for Monday’s relaunch of four cylinder motors in the US we wonder how the mainstream press and consumers will react.
You have to go back to mid-nineties ill received 318ti to find a four cylinder that made it across the Atlantic. By the time the 318ti came to market the US was in a state of relative prosperity and consumers wanted more. More refinement, more power and more luxury.
The 318ti was in a way the opposite of everything the more is more consumer wanted. BMW missed with the 318ti and so went the idea of hatch backs and four cylinders for the US market.
As fuel prices soar north of $4 a gallon in most areas of the country and with more stringent requirements for emissions being established BMW has seen the writing on the wall. They are bringing smaller displacement (and cylinder count) engines to the finicky US market.
This new family of engines, boosted by turbo charging and direct injection technologies is to offer the same level of performance as the current generation of inline sixes. They will be smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient. Unlike BMW’s last four cylinder US offering they will not be a concession to the “Ultimate Driving Machine” but rather augment that tag line nicely by adding increased “Efficient Dynamics” to the mix.
With European customers and reviewers already enjoying these four cylinders in less sporty models such as the X1, it seems fitting that the US will, like with the re-introduction of the “IS” moniker, see a sporty roadster as the groundbreaking vehicle.
Other brands in the luxury segment, namely Audi, have been selling turbo fours stateside with success so we do not foresee this change as a negative from a sales view. It is about time the US buyer had a chance to see what the rest of the world has been enjoying for years, the engine that BMW based its corporate headquarters on, the four cylinder engine. We are excited to have a smaller, lighter engine and all the benefits of it.
Sure we’ll miss the free revving inline six, but those will remain on the used market for decades. It seems that BMW is continuing it’s trend of getting back to its roots, first the 1///M and now four cylinders stateside, let’s hope the trend continues.
Now, how about some of those fuel sipping four cylinder diesels?