Thu, 10 Mar 2005


Manufacturers are downsizing engines

MUNICH: Car manufacturers face a difficult task in building engines that consume less fuel and emit fewer pollutants while at the same time meeting customer demand for more performance.

Downsizing the engines with new combustion technology that saves between 10 and 30 percent in fuel compared to current engines appears to be the answer.

The engines are smaller, lighter and more powerful, according to Rainer Golloch and Professor Guenter Merker of the Institute of Technical Combustion at the University of Hanover, Germany.

One such example is the new V6 Mercedes motor of the C350. Without a charger the 3.5 liter engine has 200kW/272 hp and 350 Newtonmeters (Nm).

Mercedes spokesman Frank Bracke in Stuttgart says that compared to its predecessor the engine has 25 per cent more performance, 13 per cent more torque and with a consumption of 9.5 liters to 100 kilometers is ten per cent more frugal.

Also in the diesel engine the higher pressure in the smaller engine leads to a more effective utilization of energy.

Opel spokesman Christian Mueller says the 1.3 liter Corsa with 51kW/70 hp is the most effective diesel in the class up to 1.5 liters with no other car matching the ratio horsepower to liters.

Creating more from less is part of BMW's philosophy which has engaged in a partnership with Peugeot and Citroen to develop new engines for the Mini and the small cars of the French manufacturers. The basis is a four cylinder 1.6 liter engine which will be offered as a 85 kW/115 motor with 160 Nm and as a turbo with 105 kW/143 hp and 240 Nm and 1400 revs.

"The motor has a similar torque as a Common-Rail-Diesel," says BMW engine developer Klaus Borgmann. Coming with the performance of a two liter motor it would use 15 percent less fuel.

BMW is however, taking a different path with its own models with BMW spokesman Wieland Bruch saying that similar low consumption can be reached by using lightweight magnesium, valvetronic and electric water pump.

But downsizing car engines has its negative sides. The experts at the University of Hanover say more is demanded from the engine in terms of charger technology, injection systems and pressure inside the motor.

Such engines will therefore not come any cheaper than the bigger motors with the same performance. --DPA