First Drive: BMW 1 Series with B38 three-cylinder engine

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Downsizing For BMW’s Front-Wheel-Drive And i Futures

BMW 1 Series 3-cylinder

Output is quoted at 175 horsepower and BMW says it will hit 62 mph in 7.0 seconds.

The red five-door BMW 1 Series seen in this photo gallery has little to do with what is actually of importance here. What we’ve just tested at an airfield not far from Munich, Germany, is a new 1.5-liter TwinPower Turbo inline three-cylinder gas engine that we’ll be hearing an awful lot about in the coming few years.

This engine, codenamed B38, made its public debut in the well-received Concept Active Tourer at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, alongside other BMW innovations that were tucked into the CAT. Besides this new Efficient Dynamics engine clan of three-, four-, and six-cylinder units thus launched, the CAT uses a front-wheel-drive chassis, and is a plug-in hybrid electric. That’s a lot of fresh tech in a small space. And, oh yes, the CAT is an MPV.

But let’s focus on driving this B38 amongst the well-laid-out cones. There will no doubt be a few three-cylinder capacities eventually created – a 1.2-liter is in the works as well – but it is this 1.5-liter that will be most involved in the BMW Group’s small capacity revolution. On this roughly 3,000-pound 1 Series prototype, the initial output of this single twin-scroll turbo-fed triple is quoted at 175 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, plus 200 pound-feet of torque starting at 1,500 rpm. The BMW experts on hand say the prototype can hit 62 miles per hour (100 kmh) in 7.0 seconds.

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BMW 1 Series with B38 three-cylinder engine originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Jan 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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