The car above is not very well known. It’s a BMW from the Sixties, its engine is a twin. I mean it has only 2 cylinders. Those were quite common in post-war Europe, and up to the Seventies, but all 2-cylinder cars vanished in the Eighties. Fiat changed all that this summer. You can now buy a 2-cylinder Fiat 500 (the Twin Air), and it’s a very efficient little car. Some other car manufacturers may follow this example, most notably BMW.
The idea comes from Klaus Draeger, BMW’s R&D chief, who gave an interview to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport (the interview isn’t online, you have to buy the print edition). He explains that for small cars, hybrid may not be the best solution. The technology is expensive, and it adds weight. Downsizing makes much more sense. For a Mini, or a BMW 1-series, Herr Draeger gives the example of a 2-cylinder 1.0-liter making 80 to 100-hp, and he says that it would be fine.
I’m not sure of that. You know I’m all in favor of greener cars, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of a 2-cylinder BMW. Couldn’t they do an inline-6 of that same displacement? Otherwise, BMW has a problem. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with 2-cylinder engines, but BMW are pretty pricey, and I can’t imagine many people paying big money for a 2-cylinder car. Would you?