Car manufacturers are increasingly looking at 3-cylinder engines in an effort to boost economy and beat ever-more stringent emissions guidelines.
You’d be forgiven for associating 3-cylinder engines with poverty-spec superminis and city cars (think Corsa 1.0, Citreon C1) and the tiny Japanese Kei cars. That is set to change as manufacturers respond to the demand for greener cars, partly because customers want them (thanks to soaring fuel prices) and partly because they’re afraid of what the EU will do if they don’t push down their average emissions.
Volkswagen have announced plans to introduce a 3-pot engine into the Golf and upcoming Polo range. Although details are scarce, development chief Ulrich Hackenberg has confirmed that a 3-cylinder engine is under development and that it has a “great future”.
Meanwhile Ford have revealed that they are designing a range of 3-cylinder engines, named “Fox”, that will be aimed primarily at the European market. The engines will be built at Ford’s Craiova plant in Romania, with production expected to reach 700,000 units annually.
Rumours are also circulating that BMW are set to introduce a new 3-cylinder engine into the 1 and 3-series. Plans for a new 1,305cc 3-cylinder turbocharged engine have emerged that will offer three levels of outout – 163bhp with 140lb/ft of torque, 201bhp with 162lb/ft and 241bhp and 192lb/ft.
If the BMW move is confirmed then at least it means we won’t all be forced to drive little cars with asthmatic engines – 163bhp is a respectable figure for a hot hatch. However, while all of these plans may not yet mean the death of big-capacity V6 and V8 engines, they are going to become an increasingly rare site on our roads.
Source: Motor Authority