This summer the popular Fiat 500 subcompact will have a new, tiny engine option… and it will be the smallest displacement gasoline engine available in any car in Europe—a 900cc, turbocharged 2-cylinder with 85 horsepower. By taking the current trend of engine downsizing, and then spitting on its tired carcass as it passes it on the first lap, Fiat is hoping to take fuel economy and CO2 emissions to new levels.
But—as is often muttered by Americans in the know after these sort of announcements—the engine will likely only be available in Europe, even with rumors of the 500 eventually making it to U.S. shores. I like to think of the vehicle fuel efficiency Europe-US divide like that “in bed” game we’ve all played with fortune cookies; but instead of adding “in bed” to the end of the sentence add “only in Europe.”
Regardless, the announcement follows a long tradition of Fiat making small 2-cylinder engines—a tradition that goes back to the 1930’s and 1950’s. Although fuel economy numbers for the tiny beast have yet to be released, they are likely to be very high, perhaps even above 50 mpg. Fiat has also been quoted as saying the engine will emit less than 100 g/km of carbon dioxide.
The concept of combing a small displacement engine with a turbocharger to mimic the horsepower of a much larger engine is not a new one, for sure. Fiat’s advantage, however, is that with their new MultiAir technology they can tune the engine to maximize low-end torque—providing zippy low-end acceleration even with the relatively low horsepower.
Fiat’s TwinAir engine technology is flexible enough that Fiat is planning on releasing 3 versions of the same 2 cylinder engine— a non-turbocharged 65 HP variant, the 85 HP, and a more powerful turbocharged 105 HP. Additionally, the engine is built to be able to run on both compressed natural gas (CNG) or gasoline.
Source: Green Car Advisor | Image Credit: Nick Chambers