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BMW Four-Cylinder Engines Return To U.S.

retrobmwspares.com
Many people remember the popular four-cylinder 320i of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It helped turn the once-obscure BMW into a household term in the U.S.

BMW AG says it will bring a four-cylinder automobile engine to the U.S. market later this year. While BMW sells several four-cylinder motorcycles here, it hasn’t had a “four-banger” in its car lineup since 1999.

The move marks a big change in BMW’s marketing approach in the States. For years the German car maker’s executives said offering fours would be a waste because American drivers want the power and torque available only from larger engines with six or more cylinders. Even the compact BMW 1 Series came with a choice of two sixes when it rolled out about three years ago. The same car typically sells with four cylinders in other global markets.

Now, though, as fuel efficiency grows in importance to consumers many car companies are promoting their smaller engines where they used to largely ignore them. Ford says it will soon offer its new Explorer crossover with a four-cylinder engine while Chevrolet and Buick have also been pushing fours in certain models. Other rivals from Audi to Hyundai are touting their fours for performance as well as economy.

The new 2-liter BMW engine uses turbocharging and a high-pressure direct-injection fuel system to boost power to 240 horsepower, which is more than the company’s base 3-liter six puts out. BMW says it will reveal exactly when the engine will arrive and on which model or models at a later date.

For people who fell in love with BMWs during the 1960s and 1970s, chances are the object of their affection was a 1600, 2002 or 320i model with a screaming 1.6, 1.8 or 2-liter four-cylinder engine. I learned to drive on my mother’s 1979 320i and later owned a 1972 2002, so the BMW fours are dearest to my heart. Sure, it is hard to find fault with the smooth, locomotive pull of the Bimmer straight six, but it always seemed like overkill in smaller cars like the 3 Series and 1 Series.

The slideshow includes some favorite fours from BMW’s past.

 

February 1, 2011 - Posted by | AV BMW Repair, AV BMW Service, AV Mini Cooper Repair, AV only BMW, Lancaster BMW | , , , ,

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