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Old 08-30-2011, 05:53 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default BMW vows no power loss with 4-cylinder U.S. sedan revival




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ETROIT (BLOOMBERG) -- BMW AG, facing higher fuel-efficiency requirements under the Obama administration, is bringing four-cylinder engines back to the United States 12 years after it quit offering the slow-selling option. BMW says it will offer a four-cylinder engine in its Z4 roadster and 5-series mid-sized sedans when they begin arriving at U.S. dealers in October, and the company says more nameplates will get the smaller engine with the Munich-based automaker's TwinPower turbo.

BMW dropped the engine from its 3-series line in 1999, when gasoline cost $1.14 a gallon.

"It wasn't in line with our image, because it didn't have the performance of the six cylinder," said Jim O'Donnell, head of BMW's U.S. operations. "We were selling ourselves as the ultimate driving machine and really it wasn't. Now that the engines have developed so far, it's not an issue at all."
BMW, this year's top-seller of luxury autos in the United States, joins Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen AG's Audi in bringing new turbocharged, four-cylinder engines to the world's second-biggest market as the Obama administration pushes the industry for increases in fuel efficiency to reduce dependency on imported oil.

The U.S. corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, requirement is rising to 35.5 mpg by 2016 and to 54.5 mpg by 2025. It increases to 30.1 mpg this year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, up from 27.5 mpg in 2010.

Regulatory driven
"CAFE is definitely driving this," O'Donnell said in an interview in Monterey, California. "This is huge for us. If we get this wrong, it screws up all of our plans in the U.S."

BMW's CAFE rating for passenger cars was 29.9 mpg in model year 2011 and 25.5 mpg for its light trucks, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's Web site. Daimler's CAFE for passenger cars was 26.9 mpg and 21.1 mpg for light trucks.

Failure to meet U. S. requirements produces fines of $55 per mile below the requirement multiplied by the total number of vehicles sold, Greg Schroeder, a research analyst at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said in a telephone interview.

Selling 200,000 vehicles with a CAFE 20 mpg below the target, for example, would lead to an annual fine of $220 million. "As the fuel economy doubles they have to change their plan," Schroeder, the industry analyst, said. "They're going to have to improve fuel economy, they can't just sit and pay fines forever."

Mercedes paid fines totaling $2.94 million in 2009, according to NHTSA's Web site. BMW paid $5.1 million in fines in 2006, the site said.

Ignoring customers
While consumers have been demanding more efficient vehicles as gasoline prices approached $4 a gallon this year, it isn't clear that fuel prices will remain high enough to keep demand in line with rising fuel-economy standards.

Analysts including Tom Libby of R.L. Polk & Co. see a risk of the government pushing the industry to make cars that people don't want to buy.

"A lot of these powertrain decisions and product programs we're seeing going forward, people will be thinking, 'Gee, why would a customer want that?' " said Libby, who studies the industry for Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Polk.

As the market shifts to smaller engines, brands such as BMW may have some advantage with image of "being more fun or emotional than some of the other luxury brands," he said. The average cost of regular unleaded gasoline in the U.S. was $3.61 on Aug. 28, down from $3.99 on May 4, according to the AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

3-series engine
BMW's 3-series line, which includes coupe and wagon versions as well as the sedan, will be sold again with a four-cylinder engine, said a person familiar with BMW's plan. Within two years, the smaller engine may make up half the 3-series models sold in the United States, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren't public. As much as 40 percent of the company's U.S. sales may end up being four-cylinder models, the person said.

Robert Filipovic, BMW advanced market research and strategy manager, declined to comment on planned uses for the smaller engine. BMW is on pace to become the top-selling luxury auto brand in the United States this year. Deliveries through July rose 13 percent to 135,114, placing it 5,182 sales ahead of Mercedes. Deliveries by Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand, No. 1 in the U.S. for 11 years, fell 19 percent to 102,549 through July because supply was limited by Japan's earthquake and tsunami in March.

Mercedes, Audi
Mercedes will offer a new gasoline direct-injection, four-cylinder turbocharged engine in the entry level C-class sedan and coupe in October and SLK250 roadster early next year. Volkswagen AG's Audi brand has added a small engine to its redesigned A6 mid-sized sedan, joining a lineup of four-cylinder models.

"It's a more efficient engine in terms of fuel economy," said Schroeder, the analyst at the Center for Automotive Research. "They have to do something to improve fuel economy and that's one of the easier ways to do it."

In 1999, BMW's final year with four-cylinder engines in the U.S., it sold fewer than 900 of the 3-series cars with the smaller powertrain, down from 21,078 of them in 1995, according to BMW.

"The challenge really is for us as a company and you as media to look at how we describe performance, which tradition would tell is the number of cylinders and how big they are, and that determines a premium car or a high-performance car versus another car," Ian Robertson, head of BMW sales, said in Carmel, California. "That is not the relevant measure anymore."

Faster, Thriftier
Consider the new Z4. While the horsepower in the new four-cylinder Z4 falls 6 percent to 240 hp from the previous version's six-cylinder, the torque increases 18 percent. As a result, the roadster equipped with a manual transmission can accelerate from zero to 100kph (62 mph) in 5.5 seconds, 0.1 second faster than the 2011 model with six cylinders, the company said in a presentation.

BMW hopes to get almost a 20 percent fuel-efficiency improvement with the Z4, said Filipovic, the strategist. The mid-sized 5 series, which begins production with the small engine in September, will probably have similar horsepower as the previous six-cylinder version with 13 percent more torque, BMW said. It should accelerate faster, slicing 0.4 seconds from its zero-to-100kph time. BMW expects to get better than 32 mpg, Filipovic said. Mercedes's last four-cylinder offering in the United States came in the 2005 model year C class.

"The consumer trend really demanded the V-6," said Sascha Simon, manager of advanced product planning at Mercedes-Benz in the United States. "People didn't want to touch the four cylinder."

Better technology
Advances in engine technology allow for better performance from smaller engines, executives at both BMW and Mercedes said. Mercedes expects mileage on the C-Class with the four-cylinder to improve to 31 mpg on the highway from 24 mpg with the six- cylinder vehicle, Simon said.

They've "really enabled us to harness more of the power that is in the chemicals that you burn in a combustion engine," Simon said. "Future four-cylinders that we are going to launch in the next years will have higher output and horsepower than today's V6s and at the same time, while you get that higher output, you can actually save fuel."
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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More worried about the reliability loss than the power loss.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:58 PM   #3
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Here's a thought: make the cars lighter first.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:03 PM   #4
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Would be nice to have a 1 series with the 4cyl, manual transmission, at $30k OTD.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:29 PM   #5
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Failure to meet U. S. requirements produces fines of $55 per mile below the requirement multiplied by the total number of vehicles sold, Greg Schroeder, a research analyst at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said in a telephone interview.
That's a stupid way to calculate the fines because MPG is not linear. This formula has a built-in discount for gas guzzlers.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hites View Post
Here's a thought: make the cars lighter first.
With the current population demanding larger vehicles with more stuff (leather, tons of heavy electronics, etc) there is just no way this will happen. It sucks, but until everyone wants smaller cars, smaller cars will not be produced as bread and butter.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hites View Post
Here's a thought: make the cars lighter first.
By all means, how about offering suggestions, rather than sweeping claims.

With consumer-demanded equipment, government-mandated equipment/safety standards, etc., how do you suggest they lower the weight of the cars without adding money to the bottom line?

We'll wait.

Blame the consumers for wanting larger vehicles, with useless gadgets. Blame the government for telling us how safe our cars must be.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:04 AM   #8
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not sure why the article mentions audi/vw bringing new turbo engines to the us market. they've been using the same tired, old turbo 4 for like the last 14,000 years with few changes -- kind of like subaru
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hites View Post
Here's a thought: make the cars lighter first.
Well they can't make the cars smaller because nobody will buy them--lots of people are downsizing from SUV's back to 4 door sedans. And they have to meet safety standards and have minimum features that people expect. So things start getting expensive real quick. Aluminum and especially carbon fiber are way more expensive than steel.

I'm sure they've run the numbers and tried to find a balance between powertrain changes and weight reduction. The trend of increasing weight is slowing down, and some vehicles are actually getting lighter.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by john_knoxville View Post
not sure why the article mentions audi/vw bringing new turbo engines to the us market. they've been using the same tired, old turbo 4 for like the last 14,000 years with few changes -- kind of like subaru
That's not a good comparison. VW is huge compared to Subaru and they do have more engines. I'm also pretty sure that they have redesigned them more frequently than Subaru, which developed the EJ series 20 years ago.
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Old 08-31-2011, 09:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by john_knoxville
not sure why the article mentions audi/vw bringing new turbo engines to the us market. they've been using the same tired, old turbo 4 for like the last 14,000 years with few changes -- kind of like subaru
You appear to have no idea what you are talking about.......
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Hites View Post
Here's a thought: make the cars lighter first.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lboogie View Post
Would be nice to have a 1 series with the 4cyl, manual transmission, at $30k OTD.
Or just bring the 1 series hatches here . They already have 4 bangers in lightweight cars overseas and for DD they work just fine and get good MPG. They are overdue to bring them here though. The problem BMW has with them is they're not luxury cars like the rest of their US only cars .

Who cares if they offer a turbo 4 banger in the 5 series. The 1 and 3 series are their biggest sellers.

In the US at least, BMW's "ultimate driving machine" slogan lost it's meaning with the death of the 318ti .
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:20 PM   #13
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Or just bring the 1 series hatches here .
Be careful what you wish for.

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Old 08-31-2011, 04:26 PM   #14
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Be careful what you wish for.

I am wishing really hard right now .
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:06 PM   #15
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BMW may screw them-self royally this time by switching to 4 cyl across the line. The guy buying the Z4 might ok with it, but regular buyers may bark at the not so smooth and not that much more fuel efficient twin turbo 4cyl engine. Then there is the nightmare of used BMW buyers dealing with replacement cost of the twin turbo set up, which will drive down BMW currently good resale values. Troubles, troubles..
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:17 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Allch Chcar View Post
In the US at least, BMW's "ultimate driving machine" slogan lost it's meaning with the death of the 318ti .
really?!?! the 318ti was BMW's height of performance?!? if you think so, you're in luck - you can get them all day long for under $5K!
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:40 AM   #17
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really?!?! the 318ti was BMW's height of performance?!? if you think so, you're in luck - you can get them all day long for under $5K!
Nope, height of an affordable "ultimate driving machine" in the US. The height of performance . I should have been more clear, my bad .

And 318ti are super rare especially for one that is still running(without a blown headgasket) and has a 5spd. I've been checking. Although considering their age you would think you should be able to at least get a M series or Clubsport for $5k but nooo. Try $7k for a '95 clubsport .

Just saying, BMW already has fuel efficient, lightweight, drivers' cars in Europe. But they don't sell them here. Putting a small turbo engine in their bigger sedans is not going to endear them to Americans. If anything they should be improving their 1 series or the 3 series instead of the 5 series. I must be reading the wrong sales and market reports .
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:55 AM   #18
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Be careful what you wish for.

stitch....is that your red twin?



I cant believe people think the new BMW front ends look anything but repulsive.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:42 AM   #19
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Bring back the 2002ti, big greenhouse glass, short overhangs, and smaller than my '05 Honda Civic.
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:04 PM   #20
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BMW may screw them-self royally this time by switching to 4 cyl across the line. The guy buying the Z4 might ok with it, but regular buyers may bark at the not so smooth and not that much more fuel efficient twin turbo 4cyl engine. Then there is the nightmare of used BMW buyers dealing with replacement cost of the twin turbo set up, which will drive down BMW currently good resale values. Troubles, troubles..
They're not twin turbo, not the 4 cylinder. They're single turbo with a divided exhaust manifold & turbine housing (twin scroll). Subaru also has twin scroll turbos on boxers, and a lot of other cars have been using them for years (Evo, even the old 80s Rx-7's). Yeah they're not an I6 but I'm sure this engine has a balance shaft and it has more low end torque. The average BMW shopper would probably think the new N20 4 cylinder is faster because it has more low end torque.

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Nope, height of an affordable "ultimate driving machine" in the US. The height of performance . I should have been more clear, my bad .
Whatever, 10 years ago there was a spoiled chick in my highschool who had one. It's fugly and slow.
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:53 PM   #21
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Whatever, 10 years ago there was a spoiled chick in my highschool who had one. It's fugly and slow.


As you can see the BMW compacts still aren't attractive. And a 4 banger BMW doesn't need to be fast, when it's competition is Corollas, Civics, and Foci .

Anyway, Len are there any more pics where that one came from?
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:53 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by WRXBob View Post
BMW may screw them-self royally this time by switching to 4 cyl across the line. The guy buying the Z4 might ok with it, but regular buyers may bark at the not so smooth and not that much more fuel efficient twin turbo 4cyl engine. Then there is the nightmare of used BMW buyers dealing with replacement cost of the twin turbo set up, which will drive down BMW currently good resale values. Troubles, troubles..
my thoughts exactly. i wont touch a turbo BMW after the nightmares ive heard from the TT 3.0 owners.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:33 AM   #23
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If you can afford a BMW (or other luxury brand) you can afford to pay for the gas.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:41 AM   #24
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If you can afford a BMW (or other luxury brand) you can afford to pay for the gas.
You're forgetting about gas guzzler taxes which add to the cost of the vehicle, now that the bar has been raised on fuel economy. BMW is trying to avoid that. And I'm sure a large portion of BMW drivers are on a lease, stretching themselves to have one.

The really affluent drivers didn't get affluent by blowing money on gas guzzlers. A lot of luxury car drivers, mostly the less-flashy type of people, are more frugal than you think.
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Old 09-08-2011, 12:09 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by arghx7 View Post
...Yeah they're not an I6 but I'm sure this engine has a balance shaft and it has more low end torque. The average BMW shopper would probably think the new N20 4 cylinder is faster because it has more low end torque....
you think so? the I6's are extremely torquey. good for them if they can pull that off, but it won't be a small task.
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