The race to cut greenhouse gas emissions is about to deliver a mortal blow to one of the traditional mainstays of larger cars — the 2.0-litre petrol engine.Ford is the latest car maker to reveal plans to launch a small-capacity petrol turbo engine, in this case a 1.6 turbo, instead of the 2.0 and 2.3-litre four-cylinder engines just launched in the new Mondeo.“We can get similar power, torque and performance with much reduced carbon dioxide emissions,” said Jens Ludmann, Ford’s head of development.The 1.6 turbo is likely to replace the 128bhp 2.0-litre and the new 158bhp 2.3-litre in the next couple of years. “We have learned from the old Mondeo that you need to keep bringing in something new every year to keep it fresh. This small capacity turbo is not too far away,” added Ludmann.Some of the technical challenges to be solved include hushing the whistling induction-noise typical with a turbo and engineering a smooth transmission with a small clutch that also has to cope with a higher than usual power ouput.Ludmann says that experience gained engineering turbocharged diesel engines is helping to beat these problems in petrol turbos.
1.6 litres, 160bhp
There’s no word on the output of Ford’s new 1.6t, but similar engines from other car companies indicate that a range of 120 to 160bhp ought to easily achievable.Vauxhall has already squeezed 180bhp out of the 1.6 turbo in the Corsa VXR/Meriva VXR/Astra SRi. The latter engine replaced a 2.0-litre turbo.Sources suggest that a detuned version of this engine is destined from the new Vectra, where it could replace both 2.0 and 2.2 petrols with an output of between 120 and 170bhp.Volkswagen also has similar downsizing plans, and it’s reasonable to assume other European car makers are considering similar small-capacity turbo engines.Autocar.co.uk has already reported a new 1.4-litre direct injection TSI engine for 2008’s new Polo, Golf and Touran (read the story here).Rated at 122bhp and 148lbft at just 1500rpm, the small-capacity turbo easily makes more power and torque than today’s 1.6 DI petrol.Mated to a new seven-speed DSG gearbox, the 1.4 TSI is said to be capable of 48mpg combined fuel economy, not far off a small-capacity diesel.