Petrol engines on the rise again
The new Focus is kitted out with a smaller, more frugal engine that is nevertheless as powerful as the engine it replaces.
Criss-crossing the Essex countryside in a Ford Focus cannot be described as an earth-shattering experience. In fact, the cost to the planet is really rather small. Little petrol is burnt by the car’s tiny three-cylinder engine, and not much carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted either.
Yet, Ford’s newest petrol engine is just as powerful as the engine it replaces, even though it is 30% lighter.
The downsizing has actually achieved a carry over power, with a one-litre engine replacing a 1.6 litre engine
observes Tim Winstanley, Ford of Europe’s powertrain manager.
“And we’ve managed to get a 15-20% fuel economy improvement.”
‘Evolutionary and revolutionary’
But if the smaller engine gives Ford a bit of an edge on its rivals at the moment, the carmaker is not the first to go down this road.
“We see engine downsizing across the industry,” according to Kaushik Madhavan, research director at Frost & Sullivan, a consultancy, “though the car companies are taking different routes to get there.”
Fiat, for instance, uses a single turbo two-cylinder engine in its dinky 500 Twinair, true to the original Cinquecento from 1957.
The engine has been designed to be fuel efficient thanks to careful management of the amount of air that enters the engine, which helps it manage its combustion.
It is all done with the use of electro-hydraulic controls of the inlet valves, in place of a camshaft.
“Ford’s engine is evolutionary,” according to Mr Madhavan.
“But Fiat’s is revolutionary.”
The retro-designed Fiat is said to return almost 70mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 95g/km.
Though this will obviously not be the case for drivers who are seduced by the engine’s excited note.
It sounds like a mix between a moped and an old American muscle-car so it is hard to resist driving it hard.
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