Many people believe that 3 cylinder cars are going to become more and more popular. There is a need to lower CO2 emissions. So, for a number of years downsizing of car engines has become widespread. Not only is engine displacement being reduced, but also the number of cylinders. Thus 3 cylinder cars will become more attractive in the small car segment. They will gradually replace the 4 cylinder cars.
Lower fuel consumption
It’s a fact: our cars have to reduce their CO2 emissions. And a good way to do that is to lower their fuel consumption. Downsizing is now recognized as the most economical solution. At least until the hybrid and electric cars are more affordable. The principle is simple. The engine is down-sized to lower energy requirements. It is also supercharged to get the same level of power and performance. The super-charging is usually done by adding a turbo. And this process works at all levels of the range, from compact cars to luxury sedans. For example, the latest BMW M5 5.0 V10 trades the aspirated 507 hp from the old version for a V8 4.4 biturbo with 560 hp.
A new class of engine
In the compact car segment, the idea is the same. In this case it leads to the appearance of a new class of engines: three cylinders. Opel introduced this type of engine on the Corsa in 1997. Later, Daimler came out with the Smart Car. But with this very “mini” size it remained somewhat apart from other vehicles. Then, Volkswagen offered a 3 cylinder engine on the Polo. It had gas and diesel versions on entry level models. However, these types of engines remained fairly rare until a few years ago. And they were limited to the smallest cars.
Emission standards are becoming more and more strict. So manufacturers are using their skills to build cars that are less polluting and consume less. They have to do all that and still stay ahead of the competition. And, with their simplified design, 3-cylinder engines are cheaper to produce than four cylinders.
The charm of 3 cylinder cars
After Volkswagen and Toyota (among others), Nissan came out with a 3 cylinder engine on the Micra. Results became even more attractive with these engines. And their performance is almost as good as those of the 4 cylinder engines they replaced. For example: 98 hp on the Nissan Micra DIG-S with its three-cylinder 1.2 L engine. Not to mention the atypical sound of those engines which can add a certain charm.
The year 2012 will see the appearance of a slew of new engines. The list includes best selling models like the Renault Clio IV, Peugeot 208 and Ford Fiesta. Indeed, Renault, PSA and Ford recently announced production of their own engines of 1.0 3-cylinder. BMW also is preparing a1.5 3 cylinder derived from the current 6 cylinder 3.0. The 3-cylinder engine will become the norm for compact cars in a few years. They could even begin to appear under the hoods of larger cars.
The fact is that the larger engines will inevitably tend to disappear. Downsizing seems to present nothing but benefits to the consumer. 3 cylinder cars produce less pollution, less consumption and sometimes even more power.