BMW is preparing to shoehorn its brand-new straight-six engine under the hood of its smallest models, a recent report finds.
The 1 Series hatchback and both the coupe and the convertible variants of the 2 Series will buck the industry’s downsizing trend and receive the 3.0-liter straight-six mill that’s found in the engine bay of the recently introduced 340i, among other models. Fitted with a turbocharger and tweaked by BMW’s M division, the all-aluminum engine will generate 340 horsepower, about 20 more than the unit it replaces. The six is expected to send the 2 from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
Buyers will be asked to choose whether they want a six-speed manual transmission, or an eight-speed automatic unit developed with input from German gearbox experts ZF. Rear-wheel drive will come standard, while BMW’s winter-beating xDrive all-wheel drive system will be offered at an extra cost.
The new engine will be complemented by new nameplates. The M235i (pictured) will become the M240i, and the M135i will be known as the M140i. It’s too early to tell whether the mechanical changes will be accompanied by other tweaks such as a face-lift or a new infotainment system.
BMW hasn’t commented on the rumor, so only time will tell if the 1 and the 2 Series are about to get a new straight-six. We won’t have to wait long, because the updated 2 will reportedly make its debut this summer as a 2017 model. Look for it to carry a premium over the M235i, which starts at $44,150 before a mandatory destination charge is factored in.
The M140i will go on sale in Europe at the same time as the M240i but it hasn’t been earmarked for the United States, where small premium hatchbacks have historically been unpopular at best.