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If you weren't aware, BMW's currently developing a forced induction, 1.

5-liter three-cylinder motor for the upcoming i8. Though the plan is to equip that vehicle with another power source so it becomes a hybrid, I am beginning to think there are bigger plans for this engine in the near-term future.

Why? Well, if you just had the chance to read my review, you'd know by now it's pretty damn good.

But why did BMW decide to go this direction? Why not stick with the four? From my perspective it's pretty simple. BMW's known for its iconic six cylinder. And, that's with good reason. It sounds fabulous, it is smooth and its efficiency has been increased significantly. BMW seemed to think that was a good foundation and lopped off the excess three cylinders.

2013 New York Auto Show Photo Gallery

While the video below isn't the best descriptor of why BMW pursued the three-cylinder, it does give you a nice graphical representation of just how it did it.





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2013 New York Auto Show Photo Gallery



As you can see, BMW's proud of its engine lineup and award-winning powerplants.




To give you a clearer sense of what the BMW EfficientDynamics equation, they simplified it for us AND broke it out by its gasoline/diesel motors. There are some slight differences between the two but the premise remains largely the same.

Variability + Direct Injection + Forced Induction (Turbocharging)






To give you a better idea of what it means by variability, BMW essentially spells it out for you here. Valvetronic, BMW's tech, is compared with "cylinder on demand," which is what other automakers are using out there. Cylinder on demand = cylinder shut down.




This is likely the best way to describe and visualize what BMW's talking about. When a motor is running at full capacity, all the lights on the table are lit.

BMW's Valvetronic acts as a "dimmer" that keeps all the lights on BUT it fades the lighting.

Other competitors that are using cylinder on demand are essentially selectively turning off the lights to specific areas.






















Snapshots from the BMW video, which can be seen in its entirety above.




Note the similar sound quality shared between a six-cylinder and three-cylinder motor?








To me, it's clear that this is an important slide because it really shows where BMW's headspace is at when it comes to engines, displacement and power going forward.








Please note the fine print about "Built-in flexibility."




Is BMW's BIG picture starting to become a bit clearer now?





WHY Did BMW Decide To Develop A Three-Cylinder Engine?

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