Malcolm Flynn | Sep 14, 2012

BMW has unveiled the first of its new TwinPower range of turbocharged engines: a 1.5 litre three-cylinder unit.

Available in both petrol and diesel form, the new engine’s modular design will soon spawn four and six-cylinder variants to complete the overhauled TwinPower range.

In three-cylinder guise, the engine is destined for use across several BMW group models, including the next-generation MINI models (due in 2014), upcoming i8 hybrid coupe, 1 Series, with 3 Series a possibility.

Outputs will range from 90-165kW and 180-240Nm for the petrol version, while the diesel delivers 60-135kW and 225-330Nm.

BMW claims that the engine’s 500cc cylinder capacity is optimal for delivering both low-down torque delivery and fuel efficiency.

This cylinder capacity will be characteristic of all TwinPower engines, with the four cylinder measuring 2.0 litres, and the six cylinder at 3.0 litres.

All TwinPower engines will use an aluminium block, double Vanos infinitely variable cam-control, Valvetronic variable cam-timing, direct injection (common rail on diesels), with the option of one, two, or three turbochargers.

With the three-cylinder versions, BMW paid close attention to refinement levels - typically a compromise with odd cylinder-count engines - with the use of a torsional vibration damper delivering what BMW describes as a “remarkably smoothly-running engine”.

The typical three-cylinder rorty engine note has been maintained however, and BMW claims the note is “extremely vivacious and sporty”.

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