Stricter emission norms and increasing fuel costs are forcing manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce the amount of carbon dioxides produced. Downsizing with turbo charging and using hybrid technology seem to be the most popular solution. Customers now want efficient engines but with good performance and low cost. Since turbocharging is more cost effective, we have already seen how many manufacturers have taken to downsizing to meet strict demands of both customer and regulatory agencies.
But is this being taken way too seriously? Imagine the world without V12 Lamborghinis, and you will know what I am on about. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann, recently stated that there is no way out. That is really saddening since the high revving naturally aspirated engines is what defines their cars. MINI recently introduced a 3-cylinder diesel engine into the two-door Cooper. It is not a peppy engine and is more suited for relaxed driving. This has improved efficiency but the car is left crying for more power and it has totally changed the character of the vehicle which may not be the right way forward.
After downsizing the engine on the M3, BMW say that the new G30 5-Series will be offered with a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. But is this actually needed? I think not. BMWs are known to give the best in class driving experience. The 3-cylinder engine may not deliver on this promise. From the ultimate driving machine, it may become just another regular commute car which will leave enthusiasts disappointed as the sedam may not meet the expectations of the hopeful buyers. I hope BMW do not make the same mistake they made with the Mini Cooper D. Although in their defence, more powerful engines will also be offered.
Downsizing is necessary to improve fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions and it is economically viable too, but companies should be careful not to deviate from their DNA and change the character of their cars. That’s the reason why Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti aren’t buying into the downsizing philosophy, at least not just yet.