Last summer, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation threw down the gauntlet: They set a new standard that will require the average car to run at 54.5 miles per gallon—nearly double today's average—by 2025. Carmakers could reach that goal the easy way, making vehicles smaller and lighter but, at the same time, less powerful. Instead, several are getting there the hard way, building pint-size engines that squeeze out as many horses as their beefier predecessors.
Consumers, especially those accustomed to luxury, often dismiss small engines as weak, noisy, and unreliable. But modifications like turbocharging and direct fuel injection allow more-precise fuel delivery and near-complete combustion, boosting an engine's horsepower even as it consumes less gas. And of course, burning less fuel reduces greenhouse emissions and saves drivers money.
Turbocharging and direct fuel injection helped Ford engineers to get 123 horsepower—a healthy amount for a compact—out of the Fiesta's tiny 1-liter engine. The four-door hatchback or sedan will clock more than 40 mpg on the highway. $15,800 (est.)
The i8's three-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine, called the B38, cranks out 220 horsepower. An electric motor on the drivetrain adds a jolt of acceleration that propels the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Analysts expect that the engine, which helps the i8 peak at 80 mpg, will also power the next-generation Mini and 1-series coupe. $125,000 (est.)
MERCEDES CLA45 AMG
The 2-liter M133 engine in the AMG produces 355 horsepower, a record output-to-displacement ratio for any engine. A twin-scroll turbocharger adds 26.1 pounds per square inch of engine pressure, which sends the compact sedan from zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds. Even with all that power, it should approach 30 mpg. $48,375
This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Popular Science. See more stories from the magazine here.
Or, we could get rid of the EPA and NHTSA regulations nationally as well as many of California's silly regulations that have prevented clean diesel tech that has hit well over this mark for years - in big four-door Jaguars!
Stupid liberals forced clean air restrictions on cars for decades where a gas guzzler had a better rating than a Fiat did. If the EPA had forced mileage a long time ago the air would have gotten cleaner as a result and billions of gallons of gas would have been saved.
I agree that diesel is a better use of fuel.
Just to let you know, before they invent exotic technology to achieve this goal and cost the consumer a ka-zillion dollars to have it and make it not cost effective, I just thought I point this out.
1987 Chevy Sprint 1.0 liter
Fuel economy: in mpg (U.S.)
Estimated mileage (fuel economy) by constant speeds on top gear, steady ride without acceleration or braking, flat concrete or tarmac surface, no wind
by 31 mph (50 km/h): 63.5 mpg (U.S.)
by 37 mph (60 km/h): 61.8 mpg (U.S.)
by 44 mph (70 km/h): 58.8 mpg (U.S.)
by 50 mph (80 km/h): 56 mpg (U.S.)
by 56 mph (90 km/h): 53.4 mpg (U.S.)
by 62 mph (100 km/h): 51.1 mpg (U.S.)
by 75 mph (120 km/h): 46.1 mpg (U.S.)
by 87 mph (140 km/h): 39.2 mpg (U.S.)
I look the above facts up on the internet, so others can research and find this too.
But to let you know on a personal note. I drove this car, with the air conditioner on and 4 people in the care and got 50mpg average.
..."The 2-liter M133 engine in the AMG produces 355 horsepower, a record output-to-displacement ratio for any engine."...
ANY engine? No, not even close. At 355HP over 2 liters. That's 177.5HP per liter.
The 2013 SSC Ultimate Aero XT has 1,299HP over 6.942 liters. That's 185.5HP per liter.
This doesn't even include tuned cars from gear heads. Mitsubishi EVO's can put out 500HP when properly tuned. That's a 2 liter engine too. 250HP per liter for those counting.
But maybe they meant, the most HP per liter AND the most fuel efficient... or street legal...
And maybe people could be less stupid about the amount of horsepower they need in a car. My car has a 150 HP 4 cylinder engine, and is plenty spacious and gets 50 MPG highway and 40 MPG city. 150 HP is more than enough to get up to highway speeds quickly and to pull a car through deep snow and mud. BMW's 220 HP engine getting 80 MPG is impressive, but thats on a car that costs 125,000$. The absolute most one should spend on a car is 40,000$, any more and your over compensating for something. Maybe they should take that impressive engineering and put it into more realistically priced cars. If they can squeeze 80 MPG out of a 220 HP engine then I bet they could get 100 MPG easily out of a 150 HP engine.
I just hope they make a cost effective, efficent car that is affordable to the masses and long term reliable without all the exotic\hybrid crap that unessarily drives the price up and up.
The reality is the hybrid crap, makes for a higher price car and therefore more profit,
so my wish is simply dreaming on my part........ sad sigh.
We the US market will probably will still have to depend upon Japan to provide us
a great economic dependable car. They do make GREAT cars!
I'm glad you think that 150hp is plenty and that i should be able to buy anything else. I drove an old chevy truck had lots of horsepower but was very slow couldn't get up above 70. When that truck needed to be put to bed i bought an Audi A4. And the difference was dramatic, and amazing. It was so much mroe fun to drive, and actually a little safer, i could merge onto highways and quicker speeds, and mvoe in highway traffic easier. Your assement that 150 HP is all I need is silly at best and condesending thinking you can dictate what I need or want.
SciGuy2013, you don't even have to look that far for a car that does better for displacement to power - the euro version RX-8 got 190 horses per liter (247 from 1.3 liters) but admittedly Wankel engines are far from the most efficient. We probably shouldn't split hairs here though - the advance in output and efficiency in these engines is undeniable, and might be the one thing that saves us from regulatory purgatory.
Imagine no liters, 90 miles to the gallon and 0 - 60 in 4.2 seconds, plus, no oil, no engine or transmission. That future is already here, it's called Tesla Model S and it can be powered by the sun. The article should be about how engines will become so small, they'll disappear.
From the headline, I was hoping for something more in depth than "turbocharging and direct injection."
Maybe a little discussion of why these techniques make for more efficiency. Possibly a little prediction on their reliability and maintainability.
Can't wait until the wreckers get some of these. I have a honda civic that would be a real hoot with an m133 motor dropped in.
I love this whole idea - smaller displacement engines producing high output. Currently VW and Alfa have dual air (Turbochargers & Superchargers) 1.4L producing around 147kw - which is exciting! The BMW i8 sounds fantastic, but at $120 000 - probably not worth the tradeoff between economy and price.