Last month, BMWBLOG had the unique opportunity to drive a 1 Series Hatchback powered by a pre-production 3-cylinder engine. The version of the gasoline 3-cylinder engine we tried outputs 180 horsepower and 270Nm of torque, mated to a modified ZF 8-speed automatic transmission that takes advantage of the engine’s architecture.

The compact unit is a prime candidate for a wide range of vehicles and powertrains, from rear-wheel drive to the upcoming front-wheel drive and plugin hybrids. The 1 Series and 3 Series, along with upcoming compact models, are a great match for this type of engine.

The “Baby-Six,” a 1.5 liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine, is built on the 500cc per cylinder architecture. The compact engine has the same genes as the award-winning 3.0 liter six-cylinder unit, but with its own personality.

To learn more about the new family of engines, we interviewed Dr. Bernardo Lopez, Powertrain, Head of Function Operation Evaluation, BMW AG.