INTERNATIONAL ENGINE OF THE YEAR 2011
Fiat has joined BMW in becoming the only car maker throughout the history of the Awards to record back-to-back wins in the New Engine class. Last year, the Italian OEM took this prestigious award with its 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo, and for 2011 the same technology has been recognized, but this time in the 875cc TwinAir unit.
Like it’s bigger 1.4-litre brother, TwinAir boasts a number of sophisticated technological features that are normally only found in higher engine classes. Examples include the electrohydraulic control of the Multiair inlet valves and an innovative timing chain that drastically cuts engine running costs because it does not need any maintenance. A counterrotating balancer shaft also guarantees that vibrational comfort is maintained in all operating conditions.
The MultiAir engine technology is particularly special because it is able to increase power and torque while reducing fuel consumption and emissions, which are further cut on TwinAir due to a three-way catalyst in the engine compartment and two Lambda probes. Spewing only 95g/km of CO2, Fiat claims it has the world’s greenest mass-production engine, which is why so many of the IEOTYA jury gave it top marks.
“I was as sceptical as anyone before I tried this engine, but it’s an entirely ‘new-old’ experience that is the ultimate minimalist IC engine expression,” enthused Matt Davis, a leading international freelancer. “I dig the simplicity here and the sound inside the car. Fuel is literally sipped.”
While the dimensions might be small – TwinAir measures 307mm in length, 500mm in width and 596mm in height – the two-cylinder packs a punch, due mainly to a Mitsubishi turbo helping to generate 85bhp and 150Nm of torque. “Light, economical, clean and powerful, this TwinAir engine can also be the perfect motor for even Cor D-segment cars,” commented Hungary’s Gábor Szécsényi, one of many IEOTYA judges eager to praise TwinAir powertrain.