Future General Motors Car to Come with a BMW Engine?
Friedrich Eichiner, BMW’s board member for corporate and brand development, allowed to a reporter a couple of days ago that BMW was considering selling engines and transmissions to other companies, namely GM, Fiat and Daimler. This was not news in itself as BMW said earlier in the year that selling engines and transmissions to competitors was part of the strategic plan and an important part of the future revenue plans.
It is believed that Daimler and Fiat are interested only in the small-displacement engines BMW has, but what does GM have in mind?
The small-displacment FWD gas and diesel engines that power the MINI? Yeah, probably – that’s a high-percentage bet. The diesel MINI (not sold here in the States) puts up some gaudy fuel economy numbers.
The V8 engines? Nah, probably not. What’s the point? GM has got all the superb V8s they need and then some.
The large-displacement diesels? Now, there’s a thought. There might be some possibilities there.
But most intriguing of all is the possibility that GM might buy the wonderful, powerful, creamy-smooth BMW inline six-cylinder and put it into something. Unlikely, you say?
Well, maybe, and then again, maybe not. GM bought V6 engines from Honda and offered them in the previous-generation Saturn crossover. It was a very nice powertrain.
And although it’s true that the inline six presents some engineering challenges to the current GM car platforms that take V6 or V8 engines only, the ones that currently can accommodate both a V6 and an inline four (i.e. Chevrolet Malibu) might be a much easier platform in terms of accepting the BMW six.
In fact, let’s think about that Malibu for a minute with one variation of BMW’s inline-six, the 300 HP BMW six-cylinder 3.0 liter engine (and transmission) in it. I am in no way denigrating the V6 offered in the Malibu now as it is a very good engine. But, it is not a BMW six. The Malibu is already a fine car, the BMW powertrain would just be the icing on the cake. Sure, it would be expensive, but it could be sold as the performance model that was limited in production, sort of a halo model in the Malibu model range.
Or, how about the new Pontiac Solstice coupe with the same engine and transmission? Talk about a performance model.
The speculation could go on and on since GM has a lot of vehicles in its lineup. And, frankly, GM will probably be buying the smaller-displacement engines if a deal is struck, so hoping for the six-cylinder engine might be fantasy. But, wouldn’t it be nice to buy a General Motors Car that looks great, and, oh, by the way, also has a performance-engineered BMW 3.0 liter engine and transmission?
We can only keep our fingers crossed. BMW says they will make a decision on what they will sell, and to whom, by the end of 2008.
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