BMW to cull half of its 'traditional' engines, starting in 2021

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Mar 13, 2020

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Munich - The automotive landscape is changing, and it’s changing fast.

With major car companies scrambling to electrify their ranges, it’s inevitable that there will be less choice for those who buy traditional petrol and diesel cars. That will be happening very soon in the world of BMW, with company’s fourth quarter results statement revealing that up to 50 percent of the brand’s “traditional” drivetrain variants will be discontinued from 2021 onwards. This, of course will be balanced out by the development of additional electrified drivetrains, which BMW needs to free up the funds for.

Although this is the first time that BMW has specified the degree to which the current petrol and diesel lineup will be affected, it has yet to officially announce exactly which engines face the axe, although a recent report states that diesel engines and the V12 and V8 petrols are the most vulnerable.

In an interview with Automotive News Europe back in January, BMW’s R&D chief Klaus Froehlich said that diesels would be the first to face the chop, and this would take place at the top and bottom of the range. Sadly, this means the end of the road for that lovely quad-turbo six-cylinder diesel that powers the various M50d models, while BMW’s smallest diesel engine - a 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit - is also headed for extinction. 

Most of the petrol engines appear to be safe for now, but Froehlich did say that the V12 engine’s days are numbered, while further down the line it would also be difficult to justify any continued investment in the V8 motors.

BMW might be cutting its traditional drivetrain range in half, but that doesn’t mean that it's giving up on petrol engines any time soon. In the same interview, Froehlich stated that the company planned to continue offering petrol engines for at least another 30 years.

Of course, petrol-electric hybrids will form a much bigger part of the mix in years to come, while BMW will also roll out an increasing number of fully electric cars.

In fact, BMW plans to have 25 different electrified cars on the market by 2023, of which half will be all-electric. These include the upcoming iX3 and the 3 Series-based i4, as well as the production version of the Vision iNext concept.

“The key to achieving this objective is having intelligent vehicle architectures that, with the aid of a highly flexible production system, enable a model to be powered fully electrically, as a plug-in hybrid or with a combustion engine,” BMW said.

“With these prerequisites in place, the company is in an ideal position to meet demand in each relevant market segment and offer its customers a genuine power of choice between the various drive types.”

IOL Motoring

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