GM announces new Ecotec small engine development

October 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

General Motors has announced plans to completely overhaul it’s smallest engine range. This will involve replacing three engine families with a new modular Ecotec design.

Production of the more economical engines will begin around 2015 and it’s expected that by 2020 GM will be producing around two million of these motors per year.

The engines will be developed for global applications but GM hasn’t revealed what models are most likely to receive them. The displacements will range from 1.0-litres through to 1.5-litres in three- and four-cylinder formats. They will feature direct injection, a turbocharger and alternative fuel compatibility. There’s no word on specifications, but GM says the engines will deliver increased fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. Continue reading “GM announces new Ecotec small engine development” »

2012 BMW 528i to receive turbo four-cylinder motor

October 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s current F10 5-Series model range has been a success for the German car maker. It’s received awards in various countries, including NZ and is known as one of the best luxury sedans on the market. Now in order to push it’s economy credentials further, BMW will drop two cylinders of the engine of its entry-model 528i.

For the 2012 model year the petrol-powered 528i will use BMW’s turbocharged N20 four-cylinder unit which will replace the current six-cylinder mill. Power will decrease from 190kW to 180Kw with the new engine but peak torque will be boosted from 310Nm to a healthy 350Nm.

The four-cylinder engine is new for the 5-Series but not new for BMW, it’s already seen duty in the X1 range and, more recently, the Z4 sDrive28i. It’s a highly capable unit and will take the 528i from standing to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds – down from 6.7 seconds on the current model. Continue reading “2012 BMW 528i to receive turbo four-cylinder motor” »

Volvo to use only three- and four-cylinder engines by 2020

September 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo has made a formal commitment to lowering the fuel consumption on every vehicle in its range. How is it going to do it? By eliminating any engine that has more than four cylinders.

It sounds very simple, the Swedish automaker will drop out any five- and six-cylinder engines from its range over the next 10 years. Overall fuel economy figures and C02 emissions will drop and Volvo will earn a reputation as an environmentally conscious car maker. The key to this new initiative comes with the introduction of new three- and four-cylinder powerplants in both gasoline and diesel form.

The new engine family is called Volvo Environmental Architecture (VEA), and the new powertrains will be around 90kg lighter than Volvo’s current engines. In addition to the weight savings, the new engines will improve fuel economy by 35 percent. That’s a serious advancement and Volvo is saying that this is possible without a reduction in performance. Continue reading “Volvo to use only three- and four-cylinder engines by 2020” »

Four-cylinder cars keep gaining popularity in U.S market

July 27th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For many years in the States the main decision facing car buyers was to choose a six- or eight-cylinder engine in their favoured vehicle, but those days are now gone. The rising cost of fuel is a key factor in the shift to smaller engines also advancements in technology and more power from 4-cylinder motors has eased the change.

This huge swing in popularity to four-cylinder engines has been highlighted by a recent report from IHS Automotive. According to its findings, in the first half of 2011 more than 43% of passenger vehicles sold in the US were equipped with four-cylinder engines, compared to just 30% five years ago. In 2006, V6s had a 43% market share but four cylinders’ sales rose and those of six-cylinders declined, with four-pots becoming the most popular engine type for the first time in 2009.

So where does that leave the mighty V8? Well, in terms of new car sales it’s not looking good. Now V8-power only accounts for one in every six new cars sold, in 2005 that number was one in every three. Continue reading “Four-cylinder cars keep gaining popularity in U.S market” »

Porsche confirms development of four-cylinder boxer engine

January 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Love it or hate it, concerns over fuel efficiency have begun to seriously affect all of the world’s major automakers. Even high-end brands are not immune and Porsche, with its wide range of vehicles and  increasing sales, is looking at options to decrease fuel usage in some of its models.

It’s no secret that one idea Porsche has been considering is the inclusion of a new four-cylinder engine in its lineup, reports of which have been around for the past few years. Now, it’s official.

Speaking with the media recently, Porsche’s former R&D chief Wolfgang Durheimer revealed that the German automaker is building a new four-cylinder engine and that it will power the next-generation Boxster and Cayman sports car models.

Durheimer went on to say that the new engine could even see an application in the 911 but he stressed that the iconic model will remain a six-cylinder for the foreseeable future.

This new four pot engine is also expected to power Porsche’s upcoming entry-level Roadster model. There is some indication that the smaller Porsche would borrow many parts from a donor car built by Volkswagen and Audi to cut production costs but Porsche is still keen to develop its own powertrain for the car. Continue reading “Porsche confirms development of four-cylinder boxer engine” »