BMW Launches 218i Coupe with 3-Cylinder Turbo Petrol Engine

BMW has just done what some might consider an extreme move, updating the 2 Series Coupe engine range with the first 3-cylinder petrol mill in a rear-drive premium coupe. Starting from March 2015, a new entry-level model called the 218i will be added to the roster, packing the same sort of powertrain as the new MINI Cooper.
BMW 2 Series 6 photos
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Now mounted longitudinally under the very long and sexy bonnet of the 2er, the 1.5-liter turbo has a lot of room to breathe. In exchange for their hard-earned money, customers will receive a very familiar power output of 136 hp and maximum torque of 220 Nm (162 lb-ft) coming in from 1,250 rpm.

Using MINI engines on cheaper BMWs is nothing new, as the old 1.6 turbo was also widespread throughout the 1 Series range. However, a 3-cylinder premium coupe is sure to make headlines.

We think there are two reasons why BMW chose to introduce the 218i. One is that a slightly cheaper car will bring more young customers to the brand. The other reason has to do with taxation.In countries like Belgium, cars are taxed according to specific power brackets and 100 kW or 136 hp is the upper level of one of them.

Lack-luster performance?

All things considered, they haven't sacrificed all that much here. The 218i Coupe takes 8.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h with a manual or 8.9 with an automatic gearbox. That's 1.8 seconds slower than the next petrol, an 184 hp 220i. It's not fast, but it should be able to keep up with high-paced traffic. The top speed of 212 km/h (132 mph) is also quite acceptable.

BMW claims that thanks to a forged steel roller-bearing supported balancer shaft, the 3-cylinder engine is as smooth as a 6-cylinder one. But our favorite part is that unlike the MINI Cooper, you can order it with the 8-speed optional gearbox and not the typical 6-speed. Take that Cooper!

Fuel consumption is not a concern either. Thanks to a turbocharger integrated into the exhaust manifold, direct fuel injection and the latest variable valve control system, fuel consumption varies between 5.6 to 5.1 liters per 100 km (50 to 55 mpg UK) with a 6-speed manual, ever so slightly less with the 8-speed Steptronic. This is likely the first of quite a few downsized engines coming to the 1 Series and 2 Series next year.
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 Download: BMW 218i Press Kit (PDF)

About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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