According to a report on Sky Motoring in the UK, BMW is working on a new range of 3- and 4-cylinder engines for use in its next-gen 1 Series, 3 Series and Z2 Roadster. If there is indeed an inline-three engine in the pipeline, we'd be shocked to see it installed in BMW's bread-and-butter 3 Series, but it may be plausible for the entry-level 1 Series.
Displacing just 1.35 liters, the 3-cylinder powerplant would reportedly be offered in outputs ranging from 163 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque all the way up to a turbocharged 241 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. If true, that's a ton of power for such a small engine that's durable enough to see duty installed in a passenger car. The engine family would also include a 1.8L turbocharged 4-cylinder with either 273 or 321 horsepower.
At this point, we're taking all of this with an appropriately large grain of salt, but assuming that these rumors are accurate, we'd also expect to see this engine family used by the German automaker's Project i series of eco-friendly vehicles.
[Source: Sky Motoring]