Detroit Rumor: BMW Z4 to get a four-cylinder engine in the US

Rumors | January 11th, 2011 by 7

According to Autoblog, via Automobile Magazine and via a live tweet (yes, we know, lots of “sources”), BMW is planning to bring a four-cylinder engine …

According to Autoblog, via Automobile Magazine and via a live tweet (yes, we know, lots of “sources”), BMW is planning to bring a four-cylinder engine to the Z4 family in the North American market.

The Twitter rumor reported by Automobile Magazine mentions BMW ditching the naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six in the base Z4 roadster in favor of a turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant. If the rumor turns out true, the Z4 sDrive30i will be featuring the first four-cylinder engine available in the United States.

BMW has been contemplating with the idea of offering a four-cylinder powerplant in the US, but expectations were that the unit will be found in the X1 or future 1 Series models. The engine in the Z4 will output at least 200 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque.

gray bmw z4 1 655x435 Detroit Rumor: BMW Z4 to get a four cylinder engine in the USClearly details are slim at the moment, thanks to the 140-characters limit imposed by Twitter, but we expect to learn more through an official article published by the respectable magazine.

Big news, yes, but it doesn’t come as much of a surprise since BMW has long flirted with the idea of using turbocharged four-pot mills in its base models like the Z4 sDrive30i and even the 328i.

  • bob

    Something doesn’t add up here. Yes, yes, we all know BMW will bring 4 cyl’s back to the US market. However, the E89 seems to be an unlikely candidate. Questions that need to be addressed include but are not limited to:

    1. If BMW had intended to put a 4 cyl in the E89 then, they wouldn’t have taken the whole car ‘upmarket’ from the E85 — which never had a 4 cyl variant for the US market.

    2. Profits? Putting a 4 cyl in a German-built car for the US market would exacerbate AG’s EUR/USD situation.

    3. Consistency across product lineup? According to this AUTOCAR blurb, a turbo’d 4 cyl doesn’t have enough power for an E82 “tii”.

    Well, personally, it’s not that the engine doesn’t have enough power, it’s that the car is probably too heavy for a 4 cyl. If so, why would it be any better of a package in an E89?

    4. Timing. Look at the timing of this tweet.

    5. Market dynamics in the US. Sales for premium German 2-seaters (Z3-Z4, Boxster/Cayman, SLK & TT), peaked in 2000. Sales during 2010 were off over 80% from peak! BMW is probably content with their #1 market share in US @ ~35% and, allegedly, ~56% share worldwide. Is there truly a big enough niche for a 4 cyl Z4?


    I suspect that the focus of this speculation is actually the presumed upcoming “Z2″, not the current Z4.

  • X5SoB

    I’ve got to agree with bob, this makes no sense. This is a tweet, after all, so it has very little validity. A smaller MX-5 fighter (Z2) would be a fine home for a turbo four, but not in the Z4, it would be too heavy, and inconsistent with the Z4’s image. If anything, the 4.4 liter V8 should be made an option.

  • T

    First in the 1er and 3er , then X3 , X1 , and so on. You will know more by the summer regarding the engine.