Automakers, it seems, are beginning to forsake performance over added efficiency. The most recent example is BMW, which announced the return of its first four-cylinder powertrain since 1997. This one, however, sounds promising.
The new inline-four-cylinder will combine twin-scroll turbocharging, direct injection and BMW’s proprietary variable valve timing system known as Valvetronic. The 2.0-liter motor will produce 240 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque in U.S. variants. That’s more power than BMW’s normally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder, which is found on the current 3 Series, and the 2.0-liter turbo from Audi, which puts out 211 hp and 258 pounds-feet of torque.
While BMW won’t comment on which vehicles will get the engine, we’ll take a wild guess and say the 1 and 3 Series are prime candidates along with the small X1 when it debuts in the U.S. BMW’s move is probably in response to Mercedes-Benz’s recently introduced 201-hp four-cylinder found in the 2012 SLK roadster and C-Class.
Audi’s A4 has consistently offered a four-cylinder option since 1997. The BMW engine will arrive in select models later in 2011.