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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.
In an effort to squeeze as much power from every car, while making them more fuel-friendly, automakers are increasingly switching their engines to use a technology that’s not exactly new and which isn’t typically associated with fuel economy – turbocharging.
It’s no secret that automakers and consumers alike are favoring forced induction engines to keep fuel economy and performance intact amid fuel prices that choke up on budgets more every year.
MINI is announcing their special John Cooper Works (JCW) edition Countryman ahead of its upcoming Geneva debut, touting it as a fun vehicle on any terrain.
The John Cooper Works edition will build on the already entertaining performance of the Countryman S to offer more horsepower, a tuned suspension and sport-inspired styling. MINI kept the same engine displacement, a 1.6-liter inline four cylinder, but tuned an extra 30 hp for a total 211-hp thanks to variable valve technology, direct injection and twin-scroll turbocharging borrowed from BMW.
Despite that power gain, the company claims the JCW will actually be more efficient. EPA numbers aren’t available yet but the car is predicted to get slightly better than 39 mpg, though MINI didn’t specify highway or city consumption. Those numbers will probably be available this Fall when production is set to begin.
A JCW suspension is supposed to keep the car feeling nimble and fun to drive, thanks to stiffer spring and damper settings, stronger anti-roll bars and a 0.4-inch lower ride. A chrome-tipped exhaust is also supposed to compliment the large intercooler present in the JCW model.
As was true in previous Countryman models, the drivetrain takes advantage of MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system, though consumers will be able to choose between the standard six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, a first for JCW cars.
Aside from performance tuning, the JCW package gets a number of visual upgrades. It’s available with a “chili” red roof and mirror caps as pictured above, among other exclusive paint color selections. The specified accents compliment the interior in the seats.
Specially-styled lightweight 18-inch aluminum alloys and JCW emblems set the car apart from other MINIs, though 19-inch wheels are an available option. Aside from the JCW badging, the car also gets new front and rear aprons and bespoke side-skirts.
We’ll be reporting from the Geneva Auto Show next week, covering this and all the other releases.
GALLERY: 2013 John Cooper Works MINI Countryman
BMW is proving again that a smaller engine doesn’t need to mean less oomph after announcing that the 2013 X-Series will be switching to a 4-cylinder engine.
The company will start producing their new X-Series crossovers this April. The biggest change for American consumers will be the single horsepower boost the 2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i will get despite the downsized engine. BMW decided to swap out the old naturally-aspirated inline six-cylinder that made 240 horsepower for a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four that puts out 241 horsepower.
The more powerful 300 hp version, however, will get the same turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6. Both versions are probably a good thing because the push toward a smaller engine means the lower-end X3 will get a bit of a boost in gas mileage, putting it in line with the 2.0-liter turbocharged Audi Q5, while still achieving more horsepower.
[Source: Inside Line]
Honda is moving ahead with plans to deliver a higher performance version of the CR-Z. In fact, according to a report by Temple of Vtec, CR-Z project leader Norio Tomobe-san has confirmed the car is already in development.
The first rumors of a CR-Z “Type R” came from Honda itself, with the release of the CR-Z Hybrid R concept at least year’s SEMA Show, delivering 200-hp thanks to a turbocharged version of the standard engine. Fast forward 12 months and Honda once again had something to show at SEMA, this time a supercharged version of the factory 1.5-liter 4-cylinder Integrated Motor Assist hybrid engine. Honda PR reps have also hinted to AutoGuide that this supercharged version is the more likely path.
GALLERY: Honda CR-Z Hybrid R Concept
The world’s economy stinks, gas is expensive and we’re all watching our wallets closely.
You might assume that would also indicate less car parts being sold, but not for diesel engine manufacturer Cummins. “Several of the economies where Cummins operates are clearly weakening,” COO Tom Linebarger told analysts last month. “We really don’t know how deep it will go. We are confident in the long-term profitable growth of the company.”
The Columbus, Ind. based manufacturer builds natural gas and diesel engines and despite the worlds money woes is projecting a sharp rise in diesel fuel demand. Last month Cummins told analysts they forecast to grow by more than 60 per cent and reach $30 billion in 2015.
Over the next five years the company also plans to hire 7000 new engineers to compensate for increased demand. They hope doing so will allow them to develop new engines to meet increasingly stringent efficiency standards.
They owe their expansion in large part to overseas demand in emerging economies like China and South America and India where there is still high demand for construction equipment, but it isn’t the only reason.
The company is also expanding its production for consumer vehicles. Nissan is currently working on putting a 2.8-liter direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder from Cummins into its 2015 Titan pickup. Once available, the new generation Titan will be one of the most efficient full-size pickups on the market.
The last time a four-cylinder turbo-charged engine was used in a Mustang, Ronald Reagan was president, but this may change. Ford is looking at producing a version of the EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder found in the upcoming 2013 Ford Taurus for the new Mustang. The mustang would be a 2.3-liter version with a different cylinder head configuration.
Ford is also working on a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 that is capable of powering front-wheel and rear-wheel drive cars. This engine is a likely candidate for the Edge crossover SUV, possibly the Fusion sedan and possibly the Mustang. This V6 may even power the Ford Ranger replacement.
For the Mustang enthusiasts reading this may be shedding a tear, do not worry. The 5.0-liter V8 is not going anywhere soon. However the V8 may receive direct-injection technology, to improve fuel efficiency. A source revealed there may be a plan to turbocharge the V8, but nothing is set in stone as of yet.
The Mustang lineup of engines is starting to resemble the variety Audi offers.
[Source: Motor Authority]
A $30 million federal- government grant, half funded by the Department of Energy is development of a high efficiency Cummins four-cylinder diesel engine to be used in the Nissan Titan.
This engine will allow the Titan to shed its guzzler status and become one of the most fuel-efficient full size pickup trucks on the market. This 2.8-liter direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder will likely boast over 30 mpg on the highway and promises to deliver as much torque as small-displacement gasoline V-8s. The Cummins ISF engine is offered in 2.8 and 3.8-liter displacements is capable of 168-hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. This engine is being developed for use in the next generation 2015 Nissan Titan.
Audi has won the “International Engine of the Year 2011″ award for the second year in a row in the 2-liter to 2.5-liter category and seventh category award in a row for Audi TFSI technology.
This engine is fitted in the RS3 Sportback and the TT RS . The engine produces 340-hp between 5,400 and 6,500 rpm with 332 lb-ft of torque from 1,600 to 5,300 rpm. The TT RS Coupe can do 0-100 kph in 4.3 seconds. The roadster achieves 100 in 4.4 seconds and the RS 3 Sportback can accelerate to 100 kph in 4.6 seconds.
One Internationl Engine of the Year jury member said the 2.5-liter engine is “certainly the best turbocharged engine in recent years. Torque, power, and great sound – this engine has it all! It is a powerful, visceral reminder of the original quattro rally racing engine that put Audi on the map.”
Speed Week is going on right now out in Bonneville, so it’s worth spotlighting one or two record setting vehicles. This one is called the Speed Demon, a turbocharged streamliner built by George Poteet and Ron Main. Both are in their 60s and have been breaking land speed records for years.
The Speed Demon is a turbocharged, 31-foot long, 4200 lb streamliner and is quite possibly one of the fastest vehicles on Earth. On Wednesday it reached 409 mph at the three mile mark while on Tuesday it did 405-mph with an exit speed of 417-mph.
We have no idea what it’d feel like to be in any vehicle going 400-mph, but we imagine it’s out of this world. We’ll be scouring the Web for a video of this, so stay tuned if we run across one.
[Source: Car Tech Blog]