BMW 1.5-liter TwinPower Turbo three-cylinder engine unveiled

1.5 litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine
1.5 litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine

Produces up to 224 PS

BMW has released new details about their three-cylinder engine family.

Set to debut in a production model next year, the 1.5-liter TwinPower Turbo has a turbocharger, variable load control, direct injection and Valvetronic variable valve control (on petrol variants).

The petrol and diesel engines share a lot of commonality (60 percent components / 40 percent structure) which BMW says will allow for "considerable savings" in terms of development and production costs.

The engine's cylinders have a capacity of about 500cc and were designed for "thermodynamic efficiency, smooth, quiet operation and high-enjoyment." The engines also have a torsional vibration damper which reduces vibrations and promises to deliver an "extremely comfortable ride."

Detailed specifications haven't been announced, but the petrol engine will have outputs ranging from 122-224 PS (90-165 kW / 121-221 hp) and 180-240 Nm (133-177 lb-ft) of torque. The diesel, on the other hand, will produce between 82-184 PS (60-135 kW / 80-181 hp) and 225-330 Nm (166-243 lb-ft) of torque.

While the engines won't be mistaken for a V8, BMW says their exhaust note will be "extremely vivacious and sporty" because the "frequency of the sound of a three-cylinder engine increases 50 percent faster than that of a four-cylinder."

Check out the press release for additional information

Source: BMW

The New BMW Group Efficient Dynamics engine family - technologies powering the future, new engine family with 1.5 litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine.

Since the spring of 2007, the BMW Group has had the most comprehensive concept for the consistent reduction of fuel consumption and emissions at its disposal - the Efficient Dynamics development strategy. Efficient Dynamics is an integral part of all areas of vehicle development and is a guiding principle. This includes fuel-efficient petrol and diesel engines, transmissions delivering a particularly high level of efficiency, ancillary equipment controlled on an "as needed" basis, intelligent lightweight engineering and sophisticated aerodynamics, as well as the continuing development of the BMW ActiveHybrid technology and innovative concepts for electromobility.

As a technology of the future, the BMW Group is relentlessly driving forward the electrification of its vehicles, and yet still sees great potential for conventional engines. Therefore, in the medium term, the internal combustion engine will remain the BMW Group's underlying technology and will thus power both existing and future series of volume production vehicles as the standard drive unit. Today, the BMW Group already has at its disposal a high-tech concept in the form of TwinPower Turbo technology. Building upon this, the BMW Group developed a completely new family of engines, to even more effectively take advantage of this approach and to create an unprecedented degree of commonality. The market launch of further advanced drive units will take place the coming year. The first member of this new generation of internal combustion engines will be an advanced three-cylinder unit.

BMW TwinPower Turbo technology.
BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, which today is already fitted to many petrol and diesel engines and which in the course of time will be available for all new engines, occupies a key position in the on-going endeavour to reduce both consumption and emissions. The term "TwinPower" designates the compelling combination of variable load control on the one hand and the latest fuel injection technology on the other. The intelligent, regulating technology modules include the (double) Vanos infinitely variable camshaft control system, the VALVETRONIC variable valve timing system and the variable turbine geometry of the diesel turbochargers. These are complemented by the High Precision Injection direct fuel injection system for petrol engines and the Common Rail direct injection system for diesel units.

The third element of this high technology concept consists of turbo-charging. This allows a BMW TwinPower Turbo engine to be charged with a single turbocharger, dual turbochargers, a twin scroll turbocharger or with a triple turbo unit. An essential feature of these engines however, is the VALVETRONIC throttle-free load control system, which sets BMW TwinPower Turbo technology conspicuously ahead of its competitors. Unlike a conventional load control system using a throttle valve, VALVETRONIC responds to the driver's power requirement by varying the valve lift, which results in systemic efficiency gains.

VALVETRONIC: fully variable valve lift on the intake side.
VALVETRONIC, the variable valve control system, is an innovative technology for the throttle-free load control of petrol engines, which the BMW Group has deployed to great advantage since 2001. This system, available exclusively from BMW, has been continuously improved and represents the perfect solution for the engine modules of the future. The latest generation of the VALVETRONIC system employs a high-precision mechanism with an eccentric shaft to vary the valve lift on the intake side. Since the change in valve lift is infinitely variable, the usual throttle valve can be dispensed with during normal operation of the engine. The result: because the regulation of the required air mass takes place within the engine itself, the throttle losses in the charge cycle and thus the consumption can be reduced to a minimum. The engine is now more responsive, since in contrast to engines with conventional load control, throttle-free operation ensures that ambient pressure is nearly always present at the intake valves and thus the time necessary for filling the intake manifold with fresh air is eliminated when the driver needs more power quickly.

A proven concept with a great future: don't switch it off - dim it.
In stark contrast to other approaches, the VALVETRONIC system delivers gains in efficiency, including improved engine response and better engine torque development over the entire rpm range of the engine. The throttle-free load control system works like a dimmer, affecting all cylinders equally; the engine continues to run smoothly and its acoustic properties remain unchanged, something which cannot be said of cylinder deactivation. "Dimming instead of switching off" results in minimum fuel consumption and emission levels, while maximum dynamics, matchless comfort and sophisticated power delivery are achieved. In addition, this proprietary BMW technology can be used in engines of different sizes and power. In a nutshell, these new engine modules put the BMW Group in a position to configure engines of an optimal size, providing an ideal solution for each individual application.

The new family of engines with the 1.5 litre BMW TwinPower Turbo power unit.
Since BMW TwinPower Turbo technology can be integrated into engines of all capacities and any number of cylinders, it is the ideal system for the future Efficient Dynamics family of engines. One of the first members is a 1.5 litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine. This compact in-line engine possesses all of the renowned characteristics which unite all BMW power units and is distinguished by a high degree of dynamism and efficiency. The characteristics typical of a three-cylinder engine are also much in evidence - high-revving characteristics, spontaneous responsiveness and a dynamic, sporty sound.

Excellent consumption figures thanks to lightweight, compact, low-friction design. The 1.5 litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine enjoys significantly reduced fuel consumption by virtue of its low internal friction. Due to the long ignition intervals, the charge cycle can be particularly well adapted to suit the needs of the driver, providing a high "low end torque", as well as a rapid response. To this end, the new three-cylinder uses the latest generation of the

High Precision Injection direct fuel injection system and the VALVETRONIC variable valve control system.
The "half of a six cylinder" runs remarkably smoothly. The vibration characteristics are every bit as impressive as the unit's lightweight and compact dimensions. In this respect, the three-cylinder engine shares a number of common features with the six-cylinder in-line engines - neither of them generates free inertial forces nor free moments of inertia. The three-cylinder engine is also free of first and second order inertial forces and the roll torque, which is very small compared to the six-cylinder engine, is completely eliminated by the use of a balance shaft. Thanks to its torsional vibration damper, which works on the principle of a centrifugal pendulum, the engine behaves immaculately even at low rpm, providing an extremely comfortable ride.

The three-cylinder sound - emotional and dynamic. In addition to the high-revving characteristics and gratifying responsiveness, the emotional sound of the engine also makes an important contribution to the driving experience. Because the frequency of the sound of a three-cylinder engine increases 50 percent faster than that of a four-cylinder, the engine is perceived as being extremely vivacious and sporty.

The new family of engines in detail. The forward-looking engine strategy of the BMW Group is the driving force behind lowering fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Today, BMW TwinPower Turbo technology is used in petrol and diesel engines of various powers and capacities. With the introduction of the new Efficient Dynamics family of engines, this technology becomes the common characteristic of both types of engine, with three, four and six cylinders. Through the targeted development of additional components that can be used both for petrol and for diesel units, the BMW Group is steadily increasing the number of identical components within the family even further. In this way technical solutions in both current and future versions can be used on all of the engines, regardless of the number of cylinders, combustion method and power.

The BMW engine module system maximises synergies. The basis of the new family of engines is a common design principle for in-line units. The basic engine is made up of optimized cylinder modules with capacities of 500 cc each, developed to the pinnacle of thermodynamic efficiency for use in a passenger vehicle. Consequently the new three-cylinder engine has a capacity of 1.5 litres, the four-cylinder unit is 2.0 litres and the six-cylinder is 3.0 litres. The power developed in each cylinder is between 30 and 55 kW (at 60 - 80 Nm) in the case of the petrol engine, while the diesel develops between 20 and 45 kW (at 75 - 110 Nm).

High degree of commonality between petrol and diesel engines. The structural similarities between the petrol and diesel engines include the distance between cylinders, the aluminium crankcase, the balance shaft design, the arrangement of the timing chain, the layout of the cylinder head bolts and the high-quality coating on the cylinder bore surfaces. Overall, the number of identical parts used in engines powered by the same type of fuel climbs to 60 percent, while the level of structural similarities between petrol and diesel engines is around 40%. Even more benefits are provided by standardised interfaces. In addition to the identical engine mounting points, these are primarily the interfaces to the cooling circuit, the intake and exhaust manifolds and the heating and air conditioning systems. Compared to current models, the number of possible combinations in these areas has decreased by about half. Finally, all of the power units have the same "cold" intake and "hot" exhaust sides. This is why the three and four-cylinder engines in this new family are eminently suited to both longitudinal and transverse mounting in future BMW and MINI models.

Decisive development, flexible manufacturing, premium quality. With the new modular engine, the BMW Group will in future be able to build three, four and six-cylinder power units delivering different levels of performance, each perfectly matched to its respective vehicle. This results in larger volumes, leading to significant savings in both development and production. In addition, the high degree of commonality facilitates the development of additional engine versions, which can then be realised economically at short notice, even in relatively small numbers.

For the first time, petrol and diesel engines belonging to this new range can be manufactured together, at the same time, in the BMW Group's engine production facilities. In this way, even short-term fluctuations in demand or new market developments can be addressed flexibly, with great success.

The future is here. The architecture for the new series of models and new engines has already been defined. With the BMW Group's new Efficient Dynamics family of engines, it is also possible to provide for a wealth of new models of automobile in the coming years. Because theoretically, the new family of engines could provide ten ultramodern petrol and diesel engines with three, four or six cylinders, for vehicles with both longitudinal and transverse engine positions.

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Comments (22)

radmeister radmeister
Hmmmm, twinpower. I see one turbo a very small one, and something that looks like a supercharger but electric, looks like there is a housing for the motor and a big capacitor under it. Could explain how they give it more driveability in the 224ps one as the turbo-lag with 1 turbo and being that small/small displacement engine would be ridonculuous.
Sep 15th, 2012 5:05pm
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Prince_Ash Prince_Ash
very interesting :)
Sep 14th, 2012 1:53pm
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Now if Toyota want to be exiting they can buy these engines from BMW and use them in the new Corolla
Sep 14th, 2012 10:37am
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Ivo_205 Ivo_205
Is that you Borat?
Sep 14th, 2012 10:34am
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S?awekMaj S?awekMaj
I'm a fan from Mercedes. Unfortunately, I, in addition to the perfect engine 5.5 L V8 Twin Turbo nothing exciting don't have. Diesel engines is the same, old structures, with the new chips. BMW is now no. 1 when it comes to engines. The best is 550D, which is three Turbo V6 . Bravo BMW!
Sep 14th, 2012 9:26am
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Hellbound Hellbound
Throw the 221hp version in the Mini.
Sep 14th, 2012 5:01am
1 0
whatitis whatitis
Great to see a car manufacture produce and make available to general public an engine that is fitting of the 21st generation i.e. 1500cc & 221hp/240nm. Yep, sounds good to me however reliability will take time I guess! The only disappointing thing regarding this is BMW already have a production engine that can produce 190hp/112nm from ~999cc. So like always car manufactures will always hold back and essentially dip feed this tech to us. PS: Formula 1 and 1600cc Turbo will show the way in 2014/15 i.e. Jaguar 1600cc 500hp a la C-X75 is the real world example. People fret at the thought of losing the noise of a NA V8; wait till you feel the thrust & agility of a 1400cc@350hp in a 700kg frame. People must realise this tech is available among car manufactures today however they choose to release it tomorrow. MONEY!!!
Sep 14th, 2012 4:48am
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sideskraper sideskraper
It's great to see pan fuel architecture maturing in new engines.
Sep 14th, 2012 3:46am
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Xanavi23 Xanavi23
Would be interesting to see the 224 variant in a 1 series for production...it would make the car lighter overall, and ild bet even more agile.
Sep 14th, 2012 3:41am
2 0
Sacto8780 Sacto8780
I wonder did this engine use the same unbalanced flywheel technology that Ford did with their 1-liter I-3 "Ecoboost" engine. It was the use of that unbalanced flywheel that made the Ford engine surprisingly smooth.
Sep 14th, 2012 1:45am
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sideskraper sideskraper
It doesn't mention the unbalanced/offset flywheel used by Ford, rather a traditional balance shaft combined with a centrifugal pendulum damper. Centrifugal pendulum vibration absorbers (CPVA) have no natural frequency, it varies based upon speed. They allow their application to be VERY finely tuned to specific engines across a wide range of vibration characteristics by employing epicycloidal paths for the pendulums to travel on inside the damper. CPVAs have been used in choppers and planes for years. Automobile applications are relatively new however, only being commercialised in the last 5 or 6 years.
Sep 14th, 2012 4:22am
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Sacto8780 Sacto8780
By using an unbalanced flywheel, Ford eliminated the normal natural vibration from an I-3 engine without the expense and power-sapping you get with balance shafts, which explains the amazingly low weight of that Ford engine. I think BMW achieves its fuel economy gains by the Valvetronic system to precisely control fuel and air delivery to the engine.
Sep 15th, 2012 3:32pm
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sideskraper sideskraper
Externally balanced engines are nothing new or innovative. CPVA's with a balance shaft are a far superior vibration solution. Unless the BMW system has been implemented by a nine year old, it will be a much smoother engine.
Sep 16th, 2012 5:14am
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sideskraper sideskraper
BTW a great solution that may appear in the next generation of engines is a magnetorheological damper. I think they will appear after they start appearing in helicopters.
Sep 18th, 2012 2:23am
0 0
Great small, light and efficient engine. This engine will fit perfectly in 1 and 3 serieses. Also they could use the 224 hp version in X1
Sep 13th, 2012 10:23pm
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progressive progressive
Very innovative. They do more thinking and experimenting than Audi. Maybe because Audi have to see if the engine will fit good in Fabia, then in A6.
Sep 13th, 2012 9:45pm
3 3
Ubbe Ubbe
Well said.
Sep 13th, 2012 10:04pm
1 1
sideskraper sideskraper
Err wtf?
Sep 14th, 2012 3:38am
1 1
whatitis whatitis
Yeah because it's all about looking over your shoulder. "Drive" forward without fear.
Sep 14th, 2012 5:14am
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Why Audi ? Many car makers haven't gone to 3 cylinder yet. ( Is it because you BMW fan boys are seeing Audi rise ?) Audi is using cylinder desactivation which is also very good in town when you don't need too many cylinders. I find it very interesting that you need to compare with Audi...
Sep 14th, 2012 9:38am
1 0
Antimatter Antimatter
BMW doesn't need cylinder deactivation. BMW's Valvetronic provides greater benefits.
Sep 14th, 2012 12:18pm
1 0
sideskraper sideskraper
My daily drive is an Audi, so I do love them but cylinder deactivation is a stop gap measure that does not optimise an engine's optimal performance/economy. That said, carving a brilliant V6 in half is just as much of a stop gap measure.
Sep 14th, 2012 10:37pm
0 0