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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Like other supercars, McLarens are rarer than Sasquatch-fur coats. It’s hard enough to steal a glimpse of one at an auto show, but the chances of seeing one on the street are about as good as commuting to work on the back of a Pegasus.
It’s a Venerable 'T' Party
Luxury automakers like to mess with us. That is the only conclusion we can come up with when looking at various manufacturer’s vehicle nomenclature.
Diesel engines are more efficient than their gasoline counterparts. There are several reasons for this; they burn a more energy-dense fuel, they’re run much higher compression ratios and there are fewer pumping losses since they have no throttle bodies. But what if you could take the best attributes of both powerplant types and combine them into one unit? That’s exactly what engineers at Hyundai are doing.
No automaker can afford to stand still these days. The pace of development is absolutely relentless, especially when it comes to powertrains. To keep its vehicles as competitive as possible, Hyundai has refined two of its engines.
The popularity of fuel-efficient, four-cylinder engines are on the rise with 55.8 percent of new vehicles sold or leased in the U.S. during the first half of 2013 equipped with smaller engines.
Engines are headed to shed cylinders in all areas of the automotive future. Don’t believe it? Try asking McLaren executive Antony Sheriff.
Alfa Romeo has announced plans to build a new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that will produce an impressive 300-hp from a displacement of just 1.8-liters. Claiming it will be, “setting a new performance standard in its category” the all aluminum engine will feature direct injection, dual variable valve timing and will comply with future emissions standards both in Europe and the U.S. – an strong indication that it will find its way in some of Alfa’s U.S.-bound models.
“This is an extremely important step for Alfa Romeo, as we continue to reposition our brand and prepare it for global distribution. The United States remains our primary objective as we prepare for a 2013 introduction of our models,” added Harald J. Wester, Fiat’s Chief Technology Officer and head of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati Brands. “The dedication of Group-wide resources to develop specific powertrain solutions for the specific needs of Alfa Romeo is a reflection of the renewed thrust we are placing on the development of this brand. This is a first step in a series of initiatives to be implemented in the near future which will reconnect Alfa Romeo to its historical roots as a premium Italian sports car brand.”
Set to begin production in 2013 at the brand’s FMA plant in Pratola Serra, it is designed for use both longitudinally and transversely. The new powerplant could find its way under the hood of the upcoming 4C sports car, as well as a rumored flagship sedan based off the Chrysler 300.
GALLERY: Alfa Romeo 4C Concept
Discuss this story at 4CForums.com
There was a time, some 35-odd years ago, when the only engines found under the hood of a Volvo were four-cylinder units. Some were naturally aspirated, and some were boosted via a turbo-charger.
However, due to the demands and pressures from customers and share holders, Volvo started producing five-cylinder, six-cylinder engines. They even got Yamaha to design and build them a V8.
But that is all about to change for its future. According to industry sources, Volvo will not be employing any engine larger than a four-cylinder by 2020. Volvo is looking to develop a line of three-cylinder and four-cylinder motors. To get extra power, they will be turbo-charged, and diesels are also on the menu card.
This new engine line is dubbed VEA for Volvo Environmental Architecture. The idea is to reduce green-house emissions via smaller, lighter engines.
These new engines will start appearing by 2013 in a Volvo model near you.
[Source: Automotive News]
Fisker is interested in BMW’s new turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the “Project Nina’ mid-size premium sedan. The “Project Nina” sedan will be built at a former GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware by the end of 2012. The contract signed between BMW and Fisker allows for the supply of up to 100,000 engines per year.
“The BMW engine was an obvious choice for us, as BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world,” said Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker. “We are very pleased to have signed this agreement with BMW.”
Currently, Fisker uses a General Motors turbocharged 2.o-liter engine for the Karma, but nothing has been mentioned as to whether the vehicle will also receive BMW power in 2012.
GALLERY: Fisker Karma
Toyota is the latest automaker to adjust their North American production schedules, with plants idling on April 15, 18, 21, 22, and 25. Toyota’s engine and component factories will follow a similar schedule, while their Georgetown, Kentucky facility will remain open on April 21.
Employees at the plants will have the option of report to work for training programs, use vacation time or take unpaid days off. While Toyota claims that 85 percent of their parts are sourced from North America, the fact is that one missing part, no matter how inconsequential, can halt an entire production line for indefinite periods of time, and this phenomenon is something that will be a common occurrence during these next few months.
Volkswagen broke ground on a new engine plant in Puebla, Mexico, which is expected to come online in 2013. The $550 million plant is expected to supply engines to vehicles built at Volkswagen facilities in Mexico and Chattanooga, Tennesse.
An estimated 700 jobs will be created at the plant, along with auxiliary jobs for parts suppliers. With 435,000 vehicles made in Mexico in 2010, the country will be integral to Volkswagen’s goal of selling 1 million cars in the United States by 2018.
[Source: Left Lane News]
BMW motorcycles have traditionally been known for their boxer engines, featuring horizontally opposed cylinders and lots of torque. Now BMW is looking to inject some of their automotive DNA into their motorcycle program by developing an Inline -6 cylinder engine for their K Series cruiser bikes.
Displacing 1,649cc and putting out 158 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque, the engine should be enough to propel the big K1600 around your favorite cruising spots, and with 71% of the torque available by 1,800 rpm, it should do well in city traffic too.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is that BMW’s car division is actively trying to downsize their engine range, with four and even three cylinder engines being touted for their compact passenger cars. We understand that high-revving, air-cooled bike engines are generally unsuited for automobiles, but the both exercises seem somewhat counter-intuitive.
Ferrari might be opening a theme park this fall, but there’s already trouble brewing in the automotive world’s Magic Kingdom as the Italian automaker takes steps to idle one of their engine plants and lay off 600 workers after demand for Ferrari engines utilized by sister brand Maserati has fallen.
According to a Bloomberg report, the company intended to make 20,000 vehicles this year, but has reduced targets to 11,000, however Ferrari spokesman Stefano Lai refuted these claims to Bloomberg and said that 6,000 vehicles would be produced.
In an email statement, the company cited the economy as one factor in the layoffs, stating “Ferrari has to respond to market demands that rise and fall in an ever less-predictable fashion.
Mazda announced it will introduce its next generation Sky powertrain in North America in 2011.
The gasoline-based Sky-G engine and Sky-Drive automatic transmission system will make their way into production models in 2011 while the diesel-based Sky-D engine (pictured above) will reach North America in 2012.
The Sky powertrain concept is part of Mazda’s goal of improving fuel efficiency by 30% by 2015.
The Sky-G will have 15% better fuel efficiency than current engines. The Sky-D will see a 20% improvement as well as having improved torque.
Mazda says the six-speed Sky-Drive transmission will improve fuel efficiency by another 5% while offering the performance of a dual-clutch transmission.