This bit of news won’t affect most drivers in the US market, but it’s interesting just the same. BMW makes an M version of its largest luxury sedan that is powered by a diesel engine. The current 750d uses a 3.0 liter in line 6 cylinder engine with three turbos. Now the company says it will add a another turbo to the mix, bringing the total to 4. The new engine not only increases power, it also uses significantly less fuel.
A story in Autocar dated April 19 claims that Jaguar is planning to re-introduce a straight 6 cylinder engine soon. The new engine will essentially add two cylinders to the company’s latest Ingenium 4 cylinder engine. The resulting power unit will displace 3.0 liters and could be turbocharged.
Some may see this as a backwards step in an age when all the chatter is about electric cars. Why is Jaguar developing new internal combustion engines instead of building better electric motors? There is a one word answer to that — marketing. For generations, Jaguar cars have been defined by the dual overhead cam straight 6 engines found under the hoods of its cars. By looping back to that prior era, the company could leverage its winning heritage in international motor racing as a way to build its brand identity.
The Ingenium engine is a modular design, which allows multiple engine configurations to be built on the same assembly line. The Ingenium engines all utilize a basic 500 cc cylinder design, which is the same as BMW uses for its inline 6 cylinder engine. Mercedes also uses an inline 6 cylinder engine in some of its cars.
Jaguar plans on making a 1.5 liter Ingenium three cylinder engine as well as the 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine and the upcoming 3.0 liter. All engines in the Ingenium series can be configured to run on gasoline or diesel fuel. When will the new engines get here and what cars will they be installed in? “We can’t comment on future product one way or another,” company spokesperson Nathan Hoyt told Autoblog.
The Ingenium engines all feature lightweight aluminum castings and reduced internal friction techniques. Both oil and water pumps are electric and can be computer controlled to operate in the most efficient way possible. The engines can be adapted to front, rear, or all wheel drive propulsion systems. Autocar says the straight 6 engine will fit into the engine compartments of several Jaguar models, including the XE, XF, and the forthcoming F-Pace SUV. The new engine would replace the V-6 engine left over from when Ford owned the company.
Source and photo credit: AutoBlog
This might seem like a weird comparison at first, but hear me out. These are two medium priced, mid-sized sedans that are aimed at very much the same buyers. Similarly optioned, they carry similar price tags. They also sound like they have pretty similar power units, in the sense that both offer a small, practical four-cylinder engine fitted with a modern power-adder. That power adder, then, is the key difference. In the Kia Optima, it’s a turbo. In the Toyota Camry, it’s an electric motor. In both cases, the power added is marketed as the “green” option.
So, which one’s better? Keep reading.
Turbo v. Hybrid | the MPG Question
Many people have argued over the relative merits of adding expensive, rare-earth element batteries to a car and whether or not the carbon spent making hybrids outweighs their actual “green” advantage. Regardless, it’s hard to argue with a real-world fuel economy advantage like this: the Toyota Camry Hybrid gave back 40 MPG, while the Kia gave back 34.
Those numbers give the Camry a 15% advantage over the turbocharged Kia, but that’s only part of the story. To get the Kia to report an average above 30 MPG, I had to really baby the thing. Drive slow, don’t pass, merge deliberately, that sort of thing. Getting into the throttle pedal- and into the turbo’s power curve- drastically cut the car’s reported MPG, and it was a constant, conscious effort to make mileage.
In contrast, the Camry- like the Corolla– was surprisingly easy to “hyper mile”. If I wanted to pass, a slight depression of the throttle pedal would kick on the electric motors and the car would smoothly pull ahead. In traffic or around town, the Camry put itself into EV mode as often as not. Driving “naturally”, in other words, gave back excellent results in the Camry.
Turbo v. Hybrid | the Fun Question
With its 1.6 liter turbo engine mated to the same slick, 7-speed transmission as the (also excellent) Hyundai Sonata Eco, the Kia can be a fine long-distance hauler that- by virtue of its transmission and the engine’s willingness to build power as the revs climb- can be fun, too. The thing is, driving aggressively in the Camry isn’t much less rewarding … and, at anything less than wide-open throttle, the Camry feels much more responsive.
The short version, I think, is this: the Kia Optima delivers a more rewarding drive, but you need to have a heavy foot and a willingness to shift it yourself. Otherwise, it’s not much better than the Toyota.
Turbo v. Hybrid | Final Thoughts
Despite the more aggressive redesign of the Camry last year, the Kia is still the better-looking car. Good-looking as it is, I’m not convinced of the Kia Optima’s longevity compared to the Toyota Camry, even taking into account the relatively unknown lifespan of the Camry’s hybrid battery pack. Take the Camry’s reputation for quality and combine it with a better driving experience and significantly better real-world MPG than the Kia, though, and you end up with a clear winner.
We’re calling this rare Gas 2 comparison test, then, in favor of the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid- just, you know, pick up some all-season tires when you buy it.
What do you guys think, though? Did we get it right? Did we get it wrong? Are they so different that it doesn’t matter? Let us know your take on how these high-MPG family sedans compare in the comments, below … and get ready to hear from the Tesla hysterics about how ICEs are evile anything that’s not a pure electric is a baby-killing dinosaur. Enjoy!
Original content from Gas 2.
The BMW tuning gurus at Performance Design Unlimited (PDU) seem to have caught on to the E85 performance potential of the N55 turbo engines found in the latest “x35i” model BMWs. Their latest offering to build power for their customers is a port fuel injection kit that makes the cars 100% E85 compatible.
BMW N55 E85 Fuel Injection Kit
With proper tuning, an E85-fueled N55 BMW can run significantly more boost than a similar car running conventional gasoline. The high-octane fuel also allows for the efficient use of even larger aftermarket turbos, and can help push N55 BMW builds to well over 500 HP. “Determining a proper and complete fueling strategy is crucial when running higher boost levels/upgraded turbo on the N55 platform,” reads the PDU website. “Utilizing the PDU PI Kit is the key factor in your fueling strategy equation.”
Yeah- obviously PDU is going to talk up their own kit. Still, other tuners have gone down the E85 route with great success with Porsche and Mercedes-Benz platforms. Don’t forget, also, that IndyCar has been running its 800 HP turbocharged V8s on the high-octane corn juice for years, as well … so, maybe the guys at PDU are really on to something, here.
What do you guys think- will PDU find a bunch of BMW owners who want to push the horsepower envelope any way they can, or is a kit like this something the BMW guys will shun? Let us know how you feel about it in the comments section, below. Enjoy!
Source | Images: PDU, via BoostAddict.
Volkswagen will launch an updated version of its Up! fuel economy champion for 2017. And, when it debuts next month at the Geneva auto show, it will debut with 89 turbo-fed horsepower and nearly 120 lb-ft of TQ. (!?)
Volkswagen’s diminutive Up! commuter has always been a Gas 2 favorite, being available in a number of green-ish variants that range from CNG and biomethane combustion to fully electric options. Cool as those Up!s were, you could never really say that the 54 HP Up! cars seemed like they’d be a blast to drive … with a 50% bump in power, though?
That might be OK!
In addition to more HP and TQ, the latest VW Up!, VW also changed the bumpers and lights, made smartphone integration easier and upgraded your stereo options with a few new units. One of those is found in the Up!Beats special edition model, which features a 300-watt sound system and special badging/interior graphics.
2017 VW Up! Beats Special Edition Interior
As for the rest of the Up!s, they get seven new colors (Teal Blue, Coral Red, Costa Azul, Honey Yellow, Edelweiss, Blueberry and Savanna Gold), bringing the total to thirteen. The options list includes matching interiors, contrasting roofs, colored alloys, and a bunch of decal sets to make your Volkswagen Up! yours.
You can check out a few pics of the Savanna Gold, below, then let us know if you think a power boost is what it would take to make the Up! relevant to US buyers in the comments section.
2017 VW Up! Turbo Power
Source | Images: Volkswagen, via Jalopnik.
After more than a year of seemingly endless complaining, threatened lawsuits, and a push from on high to bring new, less-expensive engines into the sport, Formula 1 seems set to stick with the current turbocharged V6 engine formula until at least 2020.
Honda F1 Power Unit
The main goal of the newest agreement- set to come into effect for 2018, once the regulations have been finalized by the teams and the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council- is to reduce a team’s engine cost to something south of 12 million Euro. Additionally, there is expected to be language in place to help guarantee that the sport’s independent teams (Williams, Force India, Red Bull, etc.) won’t be left without engines- which is very nearly what happened to Red Bull earlier this year!
Although no official statement about the F1 engines deal has been made following this week’s 2-day get-together of the Strategy Group and F1 Commission in Geneva, the sources suggesting that the above progress to help ease the cost burden for smaller outfits has been made seem credible.
What do you guys think? Will the quieter, turbo-ier V6 era’s continuance ultimately be a good thing for F1? Will keeping the V6 turbos mean a push towards refueling and other rules changes is more likely, now? Let us know what you think about this latest revelation of F1’s sporting future in the comments section, below.
Source | Images: Motorsport.
“We have a very good normally-aspirated engine,” said Toyota driver Giniel de Villiers was forced to be content with third overall at Dakar 2016. “Our cars are reliable,” he said about his team’s ability overtake rivals who came into trouble, “but we just need to find a little more speed.”
NA Toyota Tacoma Takes on Dakar 2016
Peugeot and Mini are Toyota’s primary rivals in big-time, international off-road racing- and both use turbocharged diesel engines. In comparison, Toyota’s racers are equipped with naturally-aspirated gas units and, most importantly, a former Dakar winner in the form of de Villiers. Despite their strong presence and factory support, however, the Toyotas may have to turn to turbo power if they want to challenge the front-runners on outright pace.
“In the first week (of Dakar), we were unable to keep the pace of the rest, but in the dunes we had a great ability to fight. We need to be consistent in all types of terrain, and not one in particular,” said the 2009 Dakar champion.
How is any of this related to green car news? I’m glad you asked!
Toyota has been developing a high-efficiency range of powerful, turbocharged engines as part of its World Endurance Championship program. With the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal signaling the dawn of a new age of anti-diesel sentiment and mid-size pickups from Chevy, Ford, and Jeep stealing headlines, then, it may be time for Toyota to consider putting a turbo 4 under the hood of its Tacoma. The very Toyota Tacoma, in fact, that could form the basis for de Villiers’ next Dakar contender.
It would be great fun to see Toyota succeed at events like Dakar and the Baja 1000 again- and maybe we could even get an Ivan “Ironman” Stewart commemorative pre-runner out of it! Would you buy one? Let us know, comments, etc.
Source | Photos: Motorsport.
At more than sixteen feet long and weighing nearly five-thousand pounds the W215 series Mercedes-Benz CL coupes were always going to have more in common with marine mammals than they were with sporty little two-seaters like the Chevy Corvette or Porsche Turbo. At least, that’s how it seemed before 2003, when Mercedes gave the big CL a 493 HP twin-turbocharged V12 engine that blasted the two-and-a-half ton land whale from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds on the way to a 13.5 second ¼ mile time … which, you know, is fine.
What if you want more than “fine”, though?
What if you want your big, comfortable Mercedes-Benz to run down anything on four wheels? What if you want to have your cake and eat it, too? What if, in other words, you want a car that’s less of a marine mammal, and more of a mythological sea monster?
Now, what if you want to do all that and still drive a car that’s emissions-friendly?
Granted, it’s not 2003 anymore and new-car buyers have a few solid options. You could opt for a ludicrously fast Tesla Model S or a Porsche Panamera Hybrid, of course- but what if you’re looking for something a little bit more powerful, and a little bit more “already yours”?
If that’s what you’re looking for, allow me to introduce you to Bobby, and his menacing leviathan of a car. Built by Speedriven in Palatine, IL, this E85-fueled 2003 Mercedes-Benz CL600 is packing more twice the horsepower it came from the factory with, and is ready to blast across the quarter mile line in under eleven seconds- making it more than a match for just about anything on four wheels.
“You could go out and replicate this car, just like it is, for sixty, maybe seventy thousand dollars,” says Bobby, the car’s owner. “You can buy a clean V12 Mercedes for twenty or twenty-five thousand, today” he explains. “Then you have the guys like me that bought it when it was new, or nearly new, and made big payments on it for a lot of years. The car is worth more to me than what I can sell it for, so I’m gonna keep it, and maybe I’m gonna do some work to it to make it feel new to me, you know?”
Doing “some work” to this particular Mercedes CL600 meant sending the car to Speedriven in Palatine, IL- and that’s where SD’s experts in massaging more power and performance out of Mercedes’ V12 engines, began transforming the CL into the 1000 HP, ethanol-fueled street beast you see here.
[insert pregnant pause here]
Before we go further, I think it’s time for a bit of a confession: Speedriven is my day job.
That’s right. Along with a few other dedicated guys, I spend my 9-5 hours (sometimes 9-9 hours) in the somewhat frivolous pursuit of more horsepower and more speed. Long-time readers will, of course, remember the CNG roadster we worked on and the other alt. fuel projects- from Porsches to Nissans– we’ve been a part of in the past, but it’s worth mentioning that I am a bit biased in my portrayal of these cars as awesome, yet somewhat environmentally responsible speed machines. Biased or not, however, the stopwatch- or, the dyno, in this case- doesn’t lie.
This is Some Serious Power
How did we get from 493 HP (about 400 at the wheels) to nearly a thousand? The first step was ditching the tiny turbos the V12 was fitted with from the factory. They were replaced with a set of upgraded turbos modified with Speedriven-specific wheels and housings. Those new turbos are fitted to 3″ stainless steel downpipes and freer-flowing turbo-back exhaust system, as well. Feeding the SD turbos are a pair of massive, anaconda-sized cold air intakes pushing air to a set of top-mounted water-to-air intercoolers. Those coolers work to keep intake temperatures low, maximizing the amount of oxygen reaching the cylinders and burning the ethanol fuel.
The Speedriven hardware and ethanol-friendly fuel system are managed by the factory Mercedes ECU running SD’s own in-house software. So equipped and with a tank full of fresh Ignite Racing high-performance E85, this Mercedes CL600 generates nearly 1000 horsepower at the crank – more than enough, in other words, to make the car feel like new again.
“These are the true supercars,” says Bobby, looking at the results of his E85 fueled Mercedes’ dyno run, above, which shows less of a torque curve and more of a torque mountain. “There’s nothing out there like this, right now, at any price.”
1000 HP E85 Speedriven Mercedes-Benz CL600
Whether we’re talking about the exotic, gull-winged SLS super car or the heavyweight ML series SUV or the new-age muscle car C63, Mercedes’ AMG performance division has spent the better part of a decade stuffing ’em all chock-full of 6.3 liter naturally aspirated V8 goodness. With an expanding global market and increasingly stringent emissions regulations worldwide, however, the big V8 party couldn’t go on forever … and that’s OK, because AMG’s replacement is cleaner, more fuel efficient, and even more powerful than before!
Thanks to the magical awesomeness of turbocharging, the new AMG M178 engine can get more performance out of 4.0 liters than the old V8 could manage out of 6.3 (well- 6.2, anyway). The result is a 4 second 0-60 time and start-stop technology that allows the C63 to deliver 25 highway miles per gallon. That’s pretty good for a car making nearly 500 HP!
You can check out Mercedes’ official line on the new V8, here …
AMG has developed a high-output yet more compact engine for a new era of performance. The 469-hp 4.0-liter biturbo V-8 is more responsive yet up to 38% more fuel-efficient than its larger predecessor. Its massive torque reaches its 479 lb-ft peak at just 1,750 rpm, and holds it all the way to 4,500 rpm, for a 4.0-second 0-60 time and instant acceleration at any speed. Yet even with its advanced design and technologies, each AMG engine is still hand-built and signed by its own craftsman.
… or pony up the $65,000 required to sample the new C63 AMG sports sedan for yourself. Any way you slice it, though, try to remember that this year’s model is thirty eight percent cleaner than last year’s, goes faster, and costs about the same. How’s that for progress!?
Source | Images: Mercedes-Benz AMG, via MB World.
The lightweight, narrow, and sporty Suzuki Recursion concept bike made its debut at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon. It was a fun, forward-looking concept and we, of course, were immediately smitten with the bike’s turbocharged full sized power, mid-sized proportions, and street-biased purpose. It was only a concept, though, and we didn’t think that Suzuki would never actually build the thing.
Until yesterday, that is. That’s because, yesterday, Suzuki filed to trademark the name “Recursion” for use with motorcycles in both the US and European markets. With that filing, it seems certain that the small Japanese brand is set to launch a production version of the Suzuki Recursion in the coming months … possibly at the next Tokyo Auto Salon in January!
There will, obviously, be some changes between the “pure” 2013 Suzuki Recursion concept bike and the final production version. The road-going bike will have to carry mirrors and turn signals, as well as more substantial rear fenders and a license plate bracket. A second seat is also expected, which would probably beef up the concept’s “wasp-y” waistline (though, hopefully, not too much). No word, yet, on whether the production Recursion will carry the concept’s 588cc turbocharged engine, but turbos seem to be the way forward for ICEs, so I think the turbo is a safe bet.
That’s all speculation, though. All will be revealed soon enough- maybe real soon!
Suzuki Recursion Concept Bike
Source | Images: Suzuki, via Asphalt and Rubber.
Rumor has it that the new-for-2016 Audi R8 super car will be ditching its old-school V8 option for a more advanced, turbocharged V6 option as early as next year. Reports seem to indicate that, if and when it arrives, the new V6 is expected to displace just 2.9 liters, but deliver some 450 HP to the Audi R8’s all-wheel drive system. That’s a fair bump from the current V8’s 414 HP!
It’s hard to say if it’s because of the car’s LeMans-winning heritage, diesel-powered performance, all-electric coolness, or just good looks in general- but you can’t argue that the Audi R8 is a perennial favorite at Gas 2 and Cleantechnica. Despite the car’s lightweight aluminum body and progressive powertrain options overseas, however, the US market never got the diesel or electric versions of the car- and was forced, instead, to make due with either an uninspired 4.2 liter V8 or over-the-top 5.2 liter, Lamborghini-derived V10.
The move to a turbo 6 brings the 2016 Audi R8 more in-line with the current state of the automotive art, as well, since high-performance, turbocharged V6 engines are now being found in GTR Nissans, 997 Porsches, and even a few super-fast Mercedes models, here and there. The move makes sense, since this type of engine is usually more fuel efficient and emissions-friendly than naturally aspirated V8s. As big as the environmental gains are, however, there’s another big reason to ditch the V8: China.
The real push towards a turbo 6 could be China. China is one of the most important luxury car markets in the world right now. Because it’s so polluted, however, it’s also a market that harshly punishes polluters and taxes gas-burning engines of more than 3.0 liters. Avoiding those taxes- and keeping the price of the new Audi R8 in China reasonable!- is the name of the game, here.
When it launches later this year, the 2016 Mazda Miata will offer buyers up to 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. Fans will note this is less than the previous car, though Motoring.au reports that Mazda executives are already considering a turbocharged engine to supplement the two naturally-aspirated motors that will launch with the 2016 Miata.
“We will have this ND-series model for maybe ten years, which gives us plenty of time to make many variants,” said Mazda’s head of public relations Kido Hidetoshi. “And yes, a turbocharged or MPS variant is one of the options we will definitely consider.”
At the core of Mazda’s concern is keeping the near-perfect 50:50 weight balance the 2016 Miata has achieved, and using a turbocharged engine would allow them to add less weight to a car reliant on its lightness. This is easier said than done though, as Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G line of gas engines have high compression ratios, making turbocharging difficult. Generally speaking, forced induction cars have low compression ratios, though turbodiesels are an exception to the rule. In other words, it’s doable, but it’ll take time and money, and the Miata is a pretty low-volume vehicle as it is. Can Mazda sell enough turbocharged versions to warrant the engineering effort?
If the engine is used in cars other than the Miata, than absolutely, yes. The 2016 Miata is launching with a 2.0 liter offering the aforementioned 155 horsepower, as well as a 1.5 liter engine with 128 horsepower. Those are not exactly fear-inspiring numbers, but the Miata has never been about raw power. It’s been about twisting and turning through tight corners, it’s about perfect balance, low weight, and lots of fun.
Would forced induction improve upon that experience? My initial gut reaction is “Hell yes!” But consider that for some 25 years, the Miata has been the best-selling roadster in America without ever offering a turbo engine. Does it really need one now?
For over 70 years, Jeep has been a worldwide icon built of American steel and can-do attitude in Toledo, Ohio. The Wrangler has carried on the legacy of the original Jeep, but Automotive News reports that Fiat-Chrysler is considering a switch to an aluminum body and small-displacement turbo motors in Wrangler. More dramatic, it move from its longtime home in Toledo.
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told AN that;
“We firmly believe that we have to downsize the engines that are going into the Wrangler, just in terms of displacements, and then increase the capabilities by putting turbos in and doing other things to that engine. This requires a complete rethink of the architecture.”
He went on to say that part of this “complete rethink” could be doing away with the heavy steel structure in favor of lighter aluminum. Ford is going whole-hog with aluminum throughout its SUV and truck lineup, and Chrysler could follow suit, but that could also require moving Jeep from its historic Toledo home. The cost of retooling the massive Toledo plant could be higher than just building a new plant, or reconfiguring a more modern facility for the task of building aluminum Wranglers.
According to Marchionne, if the Wrangler goes aluminum; “…then I think unfortunately that Toledo is the wrong place, the wrong setup to try and build a Wrangler, because it requires a complete reconfiguring of the assets that would be cost-prohibitive.”
Another likely candidate for the Wrangler is the EcoDiesel V6, good for up to 28 MPG in the Ram 1500. A small displacement six-cylinder would certainly fit the bill, but a smaller turbocharged four-banger could be on deck as well. This is just the latest rumor pointing towards an aluminum Wrangler, which faces the uphill battle or maintaining off-road credibility and meeting strict fuel economy standards. Aluminum and turbo might be the only choice other than extinction…or dare I suggest a hybrid?
While it might suck to move the Wrangler from Toledo, there will be sacrifices and tears along the march of progress, and if Ford F-150 buyers can learn to love aluminun, so can Wrangler fans (your humble writer included).
Not content to let its former-owners at Ford get all the 3 cyl. turbo glory with its tiny Ecoboost Fiesta models, Volvo is developing an all-new, 1.5 liter turbocharged 3 cylinder gasoline engine of its own! The new engine will be used in future versions of its small and medium size cars (think S40/S60) as well as mid range SUVs (XC60). That’s the word from Derek Crabb, Volvo’s global power train boss, who adds that – while the engine will have enough horsepower for Volvo’s larger cars – it lacks the necessary torque characteristics.
Why is Volvo downsizing its new power plants? It’s all about emissions.
“I see it being possible in S60 but not higher. It’s not planned for the higher XC cars at the moment. It’s not the power. It’s more to do with the torque,” Mr. Crabb told AutoCar. The current Volvo CO2 average across the range is 120 g/km in Europe. “By 2020, we have to get down to 95 g/km but in Australia we have to get down to 75 g/km in the same timeframe. If you really get your engineering right, you can get through 95 g/km (over 55 MPG) without electrification.”
Don’t think that Volvo has forgotten performance, however. The company believes that its diesel and gasoline and diesel powered 4 cylinder engines are well suited to the task of turning V8s into “dinosaurs”, and are slated for modest power increases every two years. In addition, Volvo’s flagship XC90 crossover will be available with a version of Volvo’s 300 HP turbocharged AND supercharged “Drive E” gasoline engine, coupled to an 80 HP hybird-electric motor, yielding a total of 400 HP and 470 Lb-ft of torque.