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Beethoven, Pavarotti and Nikolaus Otto?
It’s hard to beat the noises a well-designed, high-performance engine makes; experiencing this is of life’s great pleasures, especially when it isn’t adulterated by restrictive exhaust systems or synthesized bullshit piped through a vehicle’s speakers.
Welcome to the final installment of Trans Wars, a three-part miniseries exploring the automatic transmission. So far we’ve compared torque-converter and dual-clutch units, but these two gearboxes aren’t the only ones on the market today.
In yesterday’s installment of Trans Wars we explored the benefits and downsides of conventional automatic gearboxes, ones that feature fluid-filled torque converters. This type of transmission has been around for more than 50 years; it works well and has pretty much become the industry standard.
Join us for a three-part miniseries exploring the ins and outs of automatic transmissions. For the first installment we celebrate heritage by tipping our hats to a great motoring tradition that’s as American as baseball, apple pie and Oldsmobile. This is Trans Wars!
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
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