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Old 02-23-2012, 08:20 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Is America Ready for a Three Cylinder Turbo?

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If you've barely gotten over the success of a turbo V-6 in the Ford F-150, you might want to sit down with a strong beverage for this news. Beginning in 2014, it appears Ford will offer a U.S. Focus powered by an EcoBoost engine of just under 1.0 liters with only three cylinders.
The engine is just now going on sale in the European Focus. And having recently tried it out, we can encourage you to relax. Just as a six can comfortably replace an eight in a full-size truck, a three can replace a four in a compact car. With 125 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque and an astonishingly quiet way of going about its business, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost three comfortably elbows past the trashy entry-level engines of most compacts.

Oh, and Ford's engineers tell us their target EPA range is 50-55 mpg.



The engine has a remarkable power density. An absolutely clean-sheet design, the block is under a foot long, and the entire engine's weight is less than 215 pounds. You can feel the reduction in the car's nose weight - this Focus is wonderfully eager to turn into corners, understeers less than you'd expect, and the front end resists pitching over big bumps.
Its running refinement is more of a surprise. When the rear and middle pistons are at top dead center, the front one is at bottom dead center, creating a rocking moment. To save friction, the engine runs without a balance shaft. Ford's simple solution is to run eccentric balance weights on both the flywheel and the front pulley, largely canceling the vibe. What vibration remains mimics that of an inline-five.


Sure, you'll feel an occasional resonance in your toes, but it's nothing to fret over. And the widely spaced combustion pulses sound soft-edged and full of character. It's a cliche to say it puts you in mind of half a Porsche 911's engine, but a descriptive cliche nonetheless. And overall noise levels are extremely low, with no harshness.



It'll rev sweetly into the 6000 range, but to get the full economy benefit you need to use the lag-free, thickly upholstered torque curve and upshift around 3000 rpm. To European drivers accustomed to being pushed into four-cylinder diesels for economy, the refinement of this little EcoBoost will be a revelation.
One of Ford's targets is not just good regulatory-cycle economy, but good real-world results, too. In the European cycle especially, most running is at very light load. Many turbo engines do well there, but during bigger throttle openings they over-fuel, using the gasoline evaporation to cool the turbo. It can be extremely wasteful.


As a result, Ford sought other ways to avoid turbo overheating. The EcoBoost principles of direct injection and variable valve timing (VVT) help a lot. Direct injection allows good combustion control and evaporative cooling in the chamber. VVT allows scavenging -- delayed exhaust valve closing means cool fresh air pushes out the exhaust. (It also keeps the turbo spinning to cut lag.) The small bore means little tendency to knock, so there's seldom the need to get into temperature-raising ignition retardation. All of which means the engine can run without overfueling until well into the 4000-rpm range at wide open throttle.



To further reduce exhaust gas heat, the manifold is cast into the cylinder head, surrounded by coolant. And finally, less cooling is needed than in most turbo engines because the tiny turbo is a new unit able to accept incoming gas at 1900 degrees Fahrenheit. Another big-number fact-nugget: It spins to a maximum of 248,000 rpm.
For Europe, the engine comes in 105- and 125-horsepower flavors, but the difference is one of ECU management of boost pressure at the higher rev end of the torque plateau. The 105 comes with a five-speed manual. The 125 gets the six-speed manual -- a nicely greased, precise, and quick-shifting unit with a featherlight clutch weight.

For the U.S. it's expected to use Ford's six-speed DCT, which received a software change in late-2011 that gave its wifter, smoother launches without any mechanical changes.

In most other ways, this is a Focus, with all the goodness that implies. It handles with precision and competence, while managing terrific ride pliancy. The cabin has a Germanic air of quality, and a rich array of options.
Let's not get things out of proportion, however. This is still a base-engined compact, and it doesn't perform like a hot hatch. Times from 0-to-60 mph will likely be in the 12-second range (Ford claims a 0-to-62 mph time of 12.5 seconds in the six-speed manual version), but the in-gear pickup is what impresses. For performance feel, it vastly overperforms its displacement. All you need do is find a way of telling your gearhead buddies there's a 999cc engine under the hood, without them dissolving into derisory laughter. Giving them a ride might help.
















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Old 02-23-2012, 08:26 AM   #2
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Default Downsized: Is the Age of the Six Cylinder Engine Over?

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The hackneyed adage "There's no replacement for displacement" may be popular at nostalgic musclecar and street rod shows, but its relevance as a guiding principle of engineering has long been left behind, with "power density" being the current buzz phrase in automotive engineering offices around the world.


As evidence of this trend, Ford announced an all-four-cylinder engine lineup for the 2013 Fusion at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The announcement was not a huge surprise, coming on the heels of the announcement of the new Escape crossover's engine lineup, with the expectation that the Fusion would closely follow suit.


Although the V-6 has existed in limited production since the early 20th century, its primetime debut came in 1962, when it was introduced in the Buick Special. Over time, many refinements and advancements were made, including a split-pin crankshaft and balance shafts, ultimately resulting in Buick's ubiquitous and well-regarded 3800 V-6.



In its final years, the engine was a model for refinement and fuel efficiency, even though many of its overhead-cam competitors were more modern . This storied and popular powerplant was finally retired in 2008, effectively replaced by General Motors' 3.6-liter double-overhead cam "high feature" V-6.

Yet the 3.6's reign as the staple powerplant of GM's mainstream, midsize fleet may be much shorter than that of its predecessor, as will the reign of V-6s from many other manufacturers.



Lined up to take the place of the V-6 is the humble and long-running four-cylinder, in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged variants. There are two primary reasons for this industry-wide trend: Changing generational and consumer attitudes toward smaller-displacement powerplants, and increasingly tight worldwide fuel economy and CO2 emissions standards.



It's All About the Experience

A common theme heard industry-wide is that there is less overall interest among consumers in the specific engine configuration or number of cylinders, and more in the overall driving experience.

To find out what's behind this trend, we talked to several automakers at the forefront of the downsizing phenomenon.



Click to view Gallery


2012 Volkswagen Passat VR...




The new 2012 North American-spec Passat is offered with a six-cylinder option, but Rainer Michel, vice president of product marketing for Volkswagen of North America, puts a greater emphasis on the overall driving experience than the specific cylinder count. "The number of cylinders and displacement is not what most people are looking at anymore. It's the torque and performance, and increasingly, fuel economy," he said. But performance and driving pleasure will not be compromised in the name of economy, he assured us. "We won't sacrifice the driving experience to the point the car is a dog, and is no fun to drive. Fun to drive is one of the brand pillars of Volkswagen."


Rick LoFaso, corporate manager for passenger cars and vans for Toyota Motor Sales, says the company is taking a big-tent approach with the 2012 Camry, with the V-6 model still playing a role in the overall marketing strategy. "When we looked at the Camry portfolio, we have three distinct personalities. Since we have this big Camry portfolio, let's deliver the best four-cylinder, hybrid, and V-6 experience that we can offer," he said. Beyond the next few years, however, LoFaso indicated a change in strategy could be coming. "Specifically in regard to North America, we are committed to V-6 engines for the near term. But we have already gone on record saying that our longer-term strategy is hybrid technology."

Achieving outright power is one thing, but refinement is a key consideration among buyers, especially in the midsize and luxury markets. The dramatically improved noise, vibration and harshness characteristics of modern four cylinders, compared to their forebears, have made them a more viable option. Much of this has been facilitated by advancements in engineering and computational modeling.

"The refinement of a powertrain isn't really determined by the number of cylinders anymore," Greg Johnson, Powertrain Engineering manager at Ford Motor Company, said. "Yes, there are natural differences in engine balance between a V-8, a V-6, and an inline-four. But we know engineering solutions that can make any one of those equivalent. It's just a matter of putting in the right engineering content to meet the attributes we need to achieve in whatever segment we're talking about."

Although traditionally known more for refinement and comfort than outright performance, Buick also believes the larger objectives of refinement, efficiency, and performance can be met by modern four-cylinders. "Our emphasis is on delivering the kind of experience people expect out of a Buick. If we can do that, regardless of the number of cylinders, whatever technology we can apply to get there, we'll do it," Nick Richards, group manager of Buick communications, said.


The Fours Have It
The engine downsizing trend has received additional attention lately because of new model introductions and discontinuation of some six-cylinder offerings. But in reality, the dominance of four-cylinders, especially in the midsize market, is not a huge surprise, or significant statistical upset in prevailing sales trends.

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2013 Chevy Malibu Eco Eng...

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Russ Clark, Chevrolet product marketing director for midsize cars, noted the overwhelming four-cylinder take rate on the current Malibu, and the decision to de-couple premium content from being packaged exclusively with the V-6 powertrain. "Take the current Malibu for instance. One of things we did on that model was make the four-cylinder available on all the same trim levels as the V-6, and that jumped our penetration on the current car to 90 percent for the four-cylinder." The 2013 Malibu will be offered with an exclusively four-cylinder powertrain lineup, including a naturally aspirated 2.5 liter, a 2.4-liter mild hybrid under the "e-Assist" banner, and coming later, an optional 2.0-liter turbo as the performance option.

Fours Move Upscale

But the downsizing phenomenon is not limited simply to mass-market, mainstream models. Luxury brands such as Audi and BMW are also at the forefront of the trend. For the 2012 model year, BMW is replacing its iconic naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six in the Z4 roadster, 328i, and 528i sedan with its new TwinPower turbocharged 2.0-liter four.


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2012 BMW 328i Engine
BMW, especially in the North American market, has long been known in enthusiast circles for its silky-smooth and sonorous inline-six engines, but Dr. Bernardo Lopez, head of powertrain integration for the automaker, believes the time has come to move beyond cylinder count when considering the best powertrain for a particular model. "We need to de-couple a little from focusing on just the number of cylinders. To meet the requirements that six-cylinder engines met before, we need to expand our options," he said.
Lopez emphasized that BMW has not abandoned the six-cylinder altogether. "We have a long history of inline six-cylinder engines, and we still make six-cylinder engines. We know and respect that it's still important to some of our customers, but we have technologies that address certain performance levels and expectations, that you don't have to worry so much about the number of cylinders, but how powerful the whole package is."





Sharing the spotlight with the new Fusion at the Detroit show was Cadillac's new ATS compact performance sedan. The ATS will offer GM's high-feature 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 as an option, but the two available four-cylinder powerplants -- a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter and a 2.0-liter turbo -- are expected to make up the majority of the sales volume. Ken Kornas, product director for the ATS, said that from the inception of the ATS program, the powertrain choice was a key component in developing the overall vehicle, including how it would affect driving dynamics. "The charter for the program was that the vehicle be nimble, quick, and fun to drive. One of the charges was to optimize the architecture for a four-cylinder engine."
Kornas noted the compact luxury segment is the largest sales segment in the luxury class, both in the U.S. and worldwide, and expects the ATS to be a key part of the brand's overseas growth.



Click to view Gallery


Audi Q5 2.0T Engine
Although four-cylinders have made up the bulk of A4 sales for more than a decade, Audi is expanding the use of its 2.0T engine in the Q5 compact crossover, as well as making it the entry-level engine in the A6 sedan. Even in its first year, the 2.0T is already making up the majority of Q5 sales. "Q5 2.0T sales make up 60 percent of the total Q5 sales mix, and our dealers are running at a low inventory day supply," said Barry Hoch, Audi product manager for the A4, A5 and Q5 lines. "The reason we introduced this engine in the A6 was for similar reasons that we introduced it in the A4. It delivers class-leading efficiency, which we feel is an important benefit to offer our customers, while maintaining good performance levels within its segment." However, unlike in the mainstream midsize segments, Hoch said he expects the majority of A6 sales to continue to be the V-6 model.

Big Brother's Influence

However positive and predominant the engine downsizing trend seems, the inescapable elephant in the room is government regulation and its influence on automakers' engineering decisions and directions. Bruce Belzowski of the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan pins the trend almost entirely on the tightened Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations originally instituted after the first gas crisis in the 1970s, and ratcheted up further under more recent administrations. "The manufacturers are driven in this case by CAFE regulations. I think they understand why the government is doing what they're doing, to reduce the dependency on foreign oil. The U.S. economy is so tied to oil -- not just vehicles, but the entire economy."

Although the relationship between regulators and automakers is often painted as adversarial, not everyone sees it in such a negative light.

"In my opinion, it's a positive tension between us and the regulators to pressure us to continue to improve and introduce new technologies," said Ford's Johnson, but with a caveat. "Overall, I think it's a positive relationship, within reason. We need to be careful that the standards don't come down too fast that we don't have a reasonable timeframe to achieve them."


Consumer Demand

To pin the driving force of this trend entirely on the government would be misleading, as consumer demand for fuel economy as a purchase consideration has also played a role in product development, especially following the fuel price spikes of 2008. Thanks to the advancement of engine management and fuel delivery technology, economy and power are no longer an 'either/or' proposition.

"Until recently, it was a niche consumer that wanted economy and was willing to sacrifice power and drivability. Now, almost everybody wants better fuel economy, but consumers don't want to sacrifice the fun-to-drive characteristics. With these new technologies, we're able to deliver both," said Johnson.



Click to view Gallery


2011 Hyundai Sonata SE En...

read full caption


Even before the price spike of '08, Hyundai was observing global trends and consumer preferences, and made the decision to go with an all-four-cylinder powertrain lineup for the 2011 Sonata. "Hyundai strategic planners foresaw the priority of fuel economy increasing dramatically for the next-generation Sonata. Our powertrain engineers also realized the future power gains available with direct-injected turbo technology were increasing, and these power gains would easily match or exceed typical V-6 output with better efficiency," said Mike O'Brien, vice president of corporate and product strategy at Hyundai North America.
Click to view Gallery


2012 Chevrolet Malibu Eng...

read full caption


Dave Darovitz, Chevrolet communications manager, said that as auotmakers have optimized the entire vehicle architecture and fine-tuned the driving experience, consumers have become more accepting of smaller engines. "The combination of making smaller, more efficient engines and powertrains, and making the cars as light as possible, gives consumers much the same driving experiences as their previous cars with larger engines, helping them to accept and embrace smaller engines. Fuel economy has been among the top 2-3 purchase considerations for Malibu, and the midsize segment in general for years," he said.






need5
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:27 AM   #3
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


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Positive Challenge

The twin challenges of meeting consumer and government demands for fuel economy, as well as delivering a compelling driving experience, are largely seen as positive by most in the industry.

"The industry must continue to evolve with technology that improves traditional internal combustion engines, yet offer customers the choice of different vehicle propulsion flavors from ICE, to mild and full hybrids, to plug-ins and EREVs. At the end of the day, we all want great fuel economy regardless of outside influence," said Darovitz.

"One could argue that this is one of the most exciting times to be an engineer in the auto industry, especially in the area of powertrains," said Belzowski. "In the last few years, there has really been a dialogue between government and industry. It wasn't just a matter of the government saying to the automakers, 'These are the standards, and you have to meet them, no matter what.' There really was a conversation between the industry and the government on how to meet the standards, but still allow the industry to be profitable."

But the challenge is ongoing. Like Darovitz, Belzowski believes continued development of alternative and advanced-technology powertrains will be key to meeting future standards. "The 2016 standards are the first evolution of how vehicles are going to change. The next step, coming in 2025, is going to be more difficult. It's going to require more electrification of the fleet. But they're already investing in R&D to get there."

The industry has changed significantly over the last decade, with energy security and fuel efficiency taking a higher priority than in years past. However, unlike the dark days of the 1970s and '80s, technological advancements have helped to facilitate the development of vehicles that deliver significantly better economy than their predecessors, yet at the same time offer equivalent, if not better, driving experiences.

Some may be lamenting the downsizing trend, and pining for the good ol' days of big-blocks, double-pumpers and open headers, but for the majority of the driving public, the application of turbocharging, direct injection, and other engineering refinements has made the new emphasis on economy a lot easier to swallow. The almost overnight halving of power that first took place four decades ago awkwardly applied fuel-saving and air-clearing technologies to engines designed to run un-corked and unencumbered. The newer generation of powerplants is designed from the outset to be optimized to run with catalytic converters, precise spark and fuel management, and deliver the driving experience customers are demanding.

What will the next decade bring? It's anyone's guess. But it seems like the days of having to choose economy over performance are in the past. A 6-second 0-60 time with more than 30 highway mpg is not a mythical benchmark anymore. It's the new reality.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:10 AM   #4
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79letour is going to love this!

although it probably won't be offered with AWD... but maybe the next Escape might combine AWD with a 170hp turbo 3.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:19 AM   #5
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Exciting times to be a powertrain engineer. I imagine just upping displacement of old engine designs like Nissan has done over the years with the VQ for example could get a little boring.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:43 PM   #6
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I can't help but think of these



hopefully it's a little more successful
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:38 PM   #7
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I think a three cylinder is more likely to catch on than a manual transmission.

Nick
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:10 PM   #8
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Hmmmm. 125 horses......

Maybe in a Mazda 2 size/weight vehicle. Seems to low powered to capture many Focus buyers (in America)
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RallyColtTurbo View Post
Hmmmm. 125 horses......

Maybe in a Mazda 2 size/weight vehicle. Seems to low powered to capture many Focus buyers (in America)
This with a 6spd manual in a Fiesta would be sweet.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:14 PM   #10
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I can't help but think of these



hopefully it's a little more successful
Holy crap that is awesome. Is that the Dodge Colt?

Is that new little Fiat 500 supposed to be coming in turbo form?
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:41 AM   #11
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BTW if someone hasn't already said wasn't the volt originally going to have a 3 cylinder turbo as well?
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:53 AM   #12
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.....
Is that new little Fiat 500 supposed to be coming in turbo form?
Si .... http://www.fiat500abarth.us/
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:41 AM   #13
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Hmmmm. 125 horses......

Maybe in a Mazda 2 size/weight vehicle. Seems to low powered to capture many Focus buyers (in America)
my 4 has 211hp in an awd/3600 pound sedan..
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:50 AM   #14
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I can't help but think of these



hopefully it's a little more successful
That was a time where gas was in the $1.xx per gallon and no one was concerned that their car only got 17-20ish mpg. That, and the small cars weren't that comfortable to drive at the time.

--kC
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:57 PM   #15
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I love the "lets see how slow we can make a car" mentality


Introducing the new 2016 Ford Focus, with 7 hp.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:18 PM   #16
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Hmmmm. 125 horses......

Maybe in a Mazda 2 size/weight vehicle. Seems to low powered to capture many Focus buyers (in America)
Wait until gas hits $5 or $6/gallon. They won't be able to keep these on the lot. People will park their Suburbans and Mustangs, that they currently commute in, until the weekend because the monthly payment on the Focus AND its gas for the month will be less than the delta in the gas bill on the guzzlers.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:59 PM   #17
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I love the "lets see how slow we can make a car" mentality

Introducing the new 2016 Ford Focus, with 7 hp.
It sounds like you weren't driving back in the late 70's and early 80's when a V8 with 200 HP was about the highest output you could buy.
Run of the mill cars had 120-130 HP and 85 mph speedometers.
I remember the V6 Mustang my girlfriend had at the time wouldn't even peg the 85 mph speedometer. I drove with the pedal mashed to the floor for several miles on the highway and actually had the speedometer hit 80 mph. Even at that speed I would have been written up for wreckless driving if the cops had stopped me because of the national 55 mph speed limit.

My take on what you say.

"QUIT WHINING AND ENJOY THAT WE ACTUALLY HAVE A CHOICE".
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by shamrock 05 View Post
I love the "lets see how slow we can make a car" mentality


Introducing the new 2016 Ford Focus, with 7 hp.
Curb weight for the Focus is supposedly 2,800 lbs. Same weight has a Mini Cooper. The Mini engine makes 121HP and this Focus makes 125HP and a LOT MORE torque than the Mini 1.6L N/A engine.
I don't hear people complaining about how slow the Mini Cooper is.
And, yes the Copper does 0 to 60 in a little less than 10 secs; this Focus needs 3 secs more most likely because of its tall gearing.
But, hey, seriously, who cares about 0-60 times in cars like these? It's clearly not meant to be a week-end drag racer.
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:40 PM   #19
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I think people have "no replacement for displacement" mentality too stuck in the head.

Increasing displacement will increase power, but it is always possible to increase efficiency in the designing an engine.

How do any know a 1 liter turbo engine cannot produce 200hp, get 50 mpg, and have no lag?
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:40 PM   #20
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I think people have "no replacement for displacement" mentality too stuck in the head.

Increasing displacement will increase power, but it is always possible to increase efficiency in the designing an engine.

How do any know a 1 liter turbo engine cannot produce 200hp, get 50 mpg, and have no lag?
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:43 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RallyColtTurbo View Post
Hmmmm. 125 horses......

Maybe in a Mazda 2 size/weight vehicle. Seems to low powered to capture many Focus buyers (in America)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JC View Post
This with a 6spd manual in a Fiesta would be sweet.
Curb weight on this Focus is supposedly 2,800 lbs.
That's Mini Cooper territory. You guys know how well it's selling even with the base 121HP engine. See my previous post.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:22 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by LoveMyCoupe View Post
It sounds like you weren't driving back in the late 70's and early 80's when a V8 with 200 HP was about the highest output you could buy.
Run of the mill cars had 120-130 HP and 85 mph speedometers.
I remember the V6 Mustang my girlfriend had at the time wouldn't even peg the 85 mph speedometer. I drove with the pedal mashed to the floor for several miles on the highway and actually had the speedometer hit 80 mph. Even at that speed I would have been written up for wreckless driving if the cops had stopped me because of the national 55 mph speed limit.

My take on what you say.

"QUIT WHINING AND ENJOY THAT WE ACTUALLY HAVE A CHOICE".
My Grand National; GPS verified at 157mph. . . or well, the speedo just bailed at this point.




Early C4 Corvettes went to 85mph with a digital readout capable over 100mph.

Nick
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:28 AM   #23
LoveMyCoupe
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Absolutely there were a couple of memorable exceptions.
Late 70's was probably the low point for both performance and quality.
By the early 80's a few cars showed up to buck the trend.
Any way you look at it that was a dark time for enthusiasts.

My point was that today we have lot of choices going all the way from highly efficient transportation to the fastest & best handling vehicles that have ever been available.
We even have outstanding reliability along with the performance.
As long as there plenty of good choices out there for enthusiasts I applaud the efforts of manufacturers to push the efficiency envelope.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:43 AM   #24
69subaru360
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Originally Posted by bender View Post
I can't help but think of these



hopefully it's a little more successful



Turbo sprint. They really weren't that bad. I worked on them at the dealer when they were new. My mom had the non-turbo model, it was kinda fun to drive actually.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:18 PM   #25
arghx7
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Originally Posted by heavyD View Post
Exciting times to be a powertrain engineer. I imagine just upping displacement of old engine designs like Nissan has done over the years with the VQ for example could get a little boring.
Nissan has only done that in the American market for heavier duty applications, which let's face it aren't huge sellers for them compared to what the Big 3 sell in those segments. Nissan has a downsized direct injection engine in the Juke (MR16DDT) and a direct injected V8 with continously variable valve lift for the M56 (VK56VD).
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