The new, all-aluminum Ecotec direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine – which is a competitor for Ford's groundbreaking 1.0 EcoBoost installed in cars such as the Ford Focus and Fiesta – has been developed at Vauxhall/Opel’s International Technical Development Centre in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
The 12-valve engine will be offered in 89bhp and 113bhp power outputs. Both variants generate 122lb ft of torque at 1800rpm; almost 30 per cent more than Vauxhall's naturally aspirated 1.6-litre generates at the same rpm.
The lower-powered unit has stop-start fitted as standard and Vauxhall claims it can return 62mpg on the combined cycle, together with CO2 emissions of 99g/km.
Vauxhall set out to make the new powertrain the most refined in its segment by minimising balance, noise and vibration issues.
The Luton manufacturer explained that in bench testing at full throttle, the 1.0 unit emits lower noise levels across all engine speeds than similarly powerful petrol naturally aspirated engines of 1.6-litre displacement.
Countering the typical offbeat running characteristics of a three-cylinder engine is a chain-driven balancer shaft mounted in the sump. Noise reduction features include acoustically optimised engine covers, a specially tuned intake system and a low-hiss turbocharger compressor.
The 1.0 Ecotec marks the next step in Vauxhall’s powertrain offensive following the recent introduction of new 1.6-litre mid-size petrol and diesel engine families. The new engine strategy started in 2012 and will deliver up to 13 units by 2016.
The 1.0-litre unit, which was showcased at last year's Frankfurt motor show, is the first in Vauxhall's new SGE (Small Gasoline Engine) family and will spawn other lightweight aluminium three and four-cylinder petrol engines of between 1.0 and 1.6 litres.
The engine will go on sale in the Vauxhall Adam three-door hatch in the spring and will come mated to a new, compact six-speed manual transmission. It has a dry weight of 37kg – about 30 per cent lighter than transmission units it replaces.
The new gearbox will eventually be rolled out across the entire Vauxhall range.