TOP most powerful three-cylinders

1 BMW i8

1BMW i8

266kW Sleek two-seat carbonfibre body keeps weight down while electric motors bolster power from the 1.5 turbo. Combined, it makes the revolutionary i8 the world’s fastest three-cylinder car by a long shot.

2MINI COOPER

100kW Same basic engine as the i8, but without the electric assistance. Still, the 100kW it punches out is backed by a delicious 220Nm that thrums to life early in the rev range.

3BMW 318i

100kW BMW’s take on the three-pot first seen in a Mini translated to the return of the 318i badge that was once the brand’s top seller. More weight in the 3 detracts slightly from the 1.5’s playfulness, though.

4PEUGEOT 308

96kW Peugeot’s most convincing model houses its most convincing engine, a 1.2-litre turbo triple (it also appears in the Citroen C4) with 230Nm for a lovely mid-range and engaging driveability.

FORD FIESTA

92kW It’s more about the fun and character than getting along briskly, although the 1.0-litre turbo is far from shabby (thanks to the diminutive Fiesta frame) and a willing revver, with 92kW and 170Nm.