Friday, December 9, 2011

BMW makes Ward's 10 Best Engines List - with a four-cylinder engine.

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone out there that BMW knows how to make an engine, nor should it be a surprise that they're on the Ward's 10 Best Engines list again this year with their TwinPower turbo I-6. That's hardly even news worth writing about. 

What's more interesting - and encouraging, as a resident of the United States who enjoys driving BMWs, is that their "downsized" four-cylinder turbo has made the list this year, too.

BMW hasn't sold a four-cylinder car in the United States since the demise of the 318i in 1998, an event that we can't say we're terribly upset about. While the M44 engine is a relatively smooth, easy-revving motor, it just doesn't have the torque of an I-6. (And we need power- this is America.)

But this is all changing in early 2012.

"BMW's all-new 4 cylinder proves once and for all that we have nothing to fear with the latest downsizing trend," says Tom Murphy, executive editor of WardsAuto World magazine. 

Early next year, the 2012 328i sedan will join its bigger brother, the 528i, and the Z4 "sDrive28i" (smooth name, right?) as the next model to use what BMW calls the "TwinPower Turbo" 4-cylinder,  2.0 liter engine. Preliminary EPA fuel economy estimates indicate 24mpg in the city and a whopping 36mpg on the highway, no doubt partially due to to the 8-speed auto transmission.

There's no indication that performance was sacrificed for economy. In their press release, BMW touts that "the 2012 328i is one full second quicker than the previous-generation 328i Sedan," all while being the most fuel-efficient Bimmer ever to be sold stateside. 

The 2012 328i has a 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds.