1. The Basics
To prove what the company is capable of engineers designed and constructed a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine. The goal was to build a powerplant that’s roughly 50 percent smaller than many of today’s ICEs but with greater fuel economy and no sacrifice in performance.
Mahle’s three-banger is aggressively turbocharged and features centrally mounted direct-fuel injectors as well as four-valve heads with specially optimized combustion chambers. It delivers about 160 horsepower and roughly 210 lb-ft of torque. It’s mounted in a standard-issue, Euro-spec Volkswagen Passat station wagon and is matched to a six-speed manual transmission.
Why three cylinders? Well, for small displacement engines this particular layout is more thermally efficient than a four-banger. Interestingly its output numbers are all over the Passat’s standard-issue 1.8-turbo. The three-cylinder weighs just 125 kilograms, roughly 275 pounds, which is feather-weight for an automotive engine.