BMW’s 2.0 Liter Turbo Four Replacing NA Inline Six in US

By Chris Haak

According to a report published in Carscoop, BMW has released a statement saying that the new 2.0 liter turbo four would be making its US debut sometime during 2011.  Though the German automaker has not yet confirmed which models will get the new engine, BMW did previously confirm the 2.0T for the 5 Series and Z4 in Europe.  The new engine made its debut in the new X1 compact crossover in the xDrive28i variant.  Of course, BMW has not sold a new car in the US equipped with a four cylinder since the 90-pound weakling 318ti hatchback in 1999 (which produced all of 138 horsepower).

In the X1, the engine produces 245 horsepower at 5,000 RPMs and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1,250 RPMs.  This compares to 258 horsepower and 228 lb-ft from the 3.0 liter inline six in the previous X1 xDrive28i model.  So, the new engine produces more torque, at a lower engine speed, than did the old inline six.  And yet, having two fewer cylinders to feed results in fuel consumption that’s about 16 percent lower in the boosted four than in the naturally aspirated six.

Carscoop predicts that the turbo four, which boasts a single twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection, variable valve timing, and aluminum construction, will find its way into all of the company’s offerings that currently feature sweet-sounding-but-down-on-power non-boosted 3.0 liter inline six.  Those models include the:

  • 128i coupe/convertible
  • 328i coupe/convertible/touring (wagon)/xDrive28i
  • 528i sedan
  • X3 xDrive28i
  • Z4 sDrive30i

For an idea of the type of performance improvement that can be predicted with the new engine, the aforementioned X1 xDrive28i saw its 0-100 km/h (0-62 MPH) times drop by 0.7 seconds with the manual transmission, while seeing nearly a five mile per gallon improvement.

Though we’re generally fans of more power and less fuel consumption, it will be unfortunate that the velvety smoothness and unmistakable soundrtrack of BMW’s naturally-aspirate inline six will apparently be going the way of the dodo bird.  Having experienced that soundtrack in person in a 128i convertible back in 2008, it’s a noise that I’ll be sad to never hear from a new car again.

Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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2 Comments

  1. now if only some other Mfg would bring us an inline 6 . . .

  2. should be a fun engine, the 1.6T in the Cooper S is a hoot and sounds pretty good to boot… tho i agree the inline 6 is a sweetheart.

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