Twin rises to occasion

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 May, 2011, 12:00am


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Porsche revved the 3.6-litre Boxer turbo in its GT2 RS; Audi tweaked a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo in its TT RS; and Volkswagen again wowed a jury of 76 motoring journalists with its 1.4-litre TSI Twincharger. But Fiat's little 875cc two-cylinder TwinAir block was named International Engine of the Year at the Engine Expo in Stuttgart last week.

The tiny turbocharged petrol engine weighs 85kg, yet punches 85 brake horsepower, emits only 95g/km of carbon dioxide and enables a Fiat 500 to 'consume around 4.34 litres/100km', the annual event's organisers say.

Soon available in the new Chrysler Ypsilon, the TwinAir will shortly also be launched in 65bhp aspirated, 105bhp turbo and 80hp turbo bi-fuel versions. Its success in Stuttgart could encourage Fiat to flaunt its technological success in Hong Kong, where the Fiat 500 has proved a popular runabout.

Fitted with sophisticated MultiAir intake-valve technology, Fiat's TwinAir was also named best new engine ahead of the 3.8-litre V8 in the stunning McLaren MP4-12C, and cheekily snatched the sub 1-litre category from the Smart ForTwo's 799cc diesel and the one-litre, three-cylinder blocks in the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107, Citroen C1 and Subaru Justy.

Fiat's showcase also snatched the Green engine category from the tree-hugging 1.8-litre hybrid Toyota Prius, Volkswagen's 1.2- and 1.4-litre FSIs and, surprisingly perhaps, the vaunted zero-emission, pure electric powertrains of the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi iMIEV, Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero.

In other categories, Fiat stablemate Ferrari zoomed in on the best performance and above-4-litre engine awards for the 570bhp, 4.5-litre V8 in the 458 Italia. BMW won the 3-litre to 4-litre category for its M3's 4-litre V8; the 2.5-litre to 3-litre category for its 3-litre DI Twin Turbo in the 35i, M Coupe, 335i, X3 3Z4 and 740i; the 1.8-litre to 2-litre category for its 2-litre Twin Turbo diesel engine found in the 123d and X1; and the 1.4-litre to 1.8-litre category for its 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine co-developed with PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Volkswagen's 1.4-litre TSI Twincharger engine, the International Engine of the Year in 2009 and last year, again won the 1-litre to 1.4-litre category, but Fiat's triumph proves the Italian marque has raised new standards in cleaner, punchier downsized engine technology.