Category: Engines

By on May 25, 2017

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD LTZ crew cab pickup

Suing automakers over diesel emissions violations is quickly on its way to becoming passé.

Since Volkswagen admitted to installing software that circumvented pollution laws, regulators have been on the hunt for their next big target. While it might make their efforts seem like a bit of a witch hunt, there’s good reason to be on the lookout. Studies have shown diesel emission levels are often much higher than analysts expected, with experts attributing the results to the high probability that other automakers are skirting regulatory guidelines — likely by way of defeat devices.

Daimler, Renault, and PSA Group are all being investigated in their home countries as FCA faces legal action within the United States.

General Motors is now being sued for allegedly installing defeat devices in its trucks to sidestep emissions tests, making it the sixth major manufacturer accused of diesel cheating since 2015. However, General Motors isn’t dabbling in gray areas, acting confused, or assuring the public it will get to the bottom of the accusations. It says the claims against it are flat out wrong.  Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan - Image: Volkswagen

Complete with an alternate Miller Cycle that Volkswagen is calling the “Budack Cycle,” the German automaker has evolved its ubiquitous EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for installation in the second-generation 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.

Horsepower? For a 2.0T, it’s rather unimpressive at only 184 ponies. But Volkswagen isn’t caught up in horsepower per liter figures. Instead, Volkswagen’s own introduction of this “Budack Cycle” 2.0T makes the company’s existing 1.8T — currently on duty in four product lines — sound downright ineffective.

Naturally then, Volkswagen won’t reserve the Budack Cycle EA888 2.0T solely for the 2018 Tiguan. According to Volkswagen of America communications manager Mark Gillies, “It will eventually supersede the 1.8T in the Passat and Beetle.”  Read More >

By on May 24, 2017

A Class Concept Mercedes

Like Steve Austin’s doctors, Mercedes-Benz engineers realized they had the technology to make the brand’s four-cylinder engines better than they were before. Better, stronger…smaller.

As the automaker prepares to expand its lineup of compact, front-wheel-drive offerings to eight models, new powerplants are the order of the day. Designed to propel vehicles using the next-generation MFA2 platform, the new engine family comes in a variety of flavors, one of which will likely appear stateside. Read More >

By on May 19, 2017

olds omega 1977

Around the time of the Bicentennial, 300 horsepower was reserved for from-the-factory supercars and custom builds aimed at the drag strip. Today, you can find family sedans eclipsing that benchmark without a lot of trouble. Compare the first decade of Toyota Corollas to hit North American shores to their modern day equivalents and you’ll note that 0 to 60 time have been almost halved.

It’s the same with most models. A few years ago, I had the privilege of driving a well-maintained 1977 Oldsmobile Omega and wondered how enthusiasm ever survived malaise era automobiles. It must have been the gorgeous styling keeping us going.

Modern cars aren’t just more powerful, they’re also far more efficient and significantly less dirty. Additional safety regulations and standard equipment should have left us with bogged-down fuel hogs, yet automakers have managed to roll with the punches — not just maintaining the status quo but routinely moving it forward. However, to really appreciate just how far we’ve come you need to see those decades of progress plotted.  Read More >

By on May 17, 2017

2018 Jeep Wrangler Hurricane Turbo Spy Shot, Image: © 2016 Spiedbilde/The Truth About Cars

Should you expect Ford Fusion levels of engine choice in the next-generation Jeep Wrangler? A new report claims yes, you should.

A source who claims connections at a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant has told Jalopnik the upcoming 2018 model will host six engines, but a rational take on the matter would suggest readers not get their hopes up — at least, not in the U.S. Read More >

By on May 16, 2017

2016 Hyundai Sonata, Image: Hyundai Motor America

He lost his job for it, but Kim Gwang-ho, a 25-year Hyundai veteran at the automaker’s Seoul, South Korea facility, knew he needed to speak out.

The engineer blew the whistle on his employer, reporting the automaker to both South Korean and American officials after uncovering evidence Hyundai was covering up a defect in several of its models. Kim even published internal documents to back up his claim.

Kim, 55, was fired from his job, but authorities took note. As a result, a further 240,000 vehicles — totaling 12 models — have been added to a recall already 1.4 million strong. Read More >

By on May 11, 2017

mazda cx-5

Diesel power has traditionally proved a tough sell in the United States, at least among light-vehicle buyers. If it doesn’t belong on a worksite, chances are a vehicle’s engine choices have remained gasoline-only since the model’s debut.

While the high-mileage technology suffered a black, sooty eye from the Volkswagen affair, several automakers are gambling on Americans want of higher torque figures and improved fuel economy — the rosy promises of diesel motivation. Mazda, the only automaker without a hybrid or electric vehicle in its stable, plans to add a diesel CX-5 to its gas-only U.S. fleet later this year.

The automaker knows exactly how many it wants Americans to buy. If this litmus test on wheels reaches the pre-determined mark, expect to see more zoom-zoom diesels appearing in local showrooms. Read More >

By on May 10, 2017

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse Limousine (W 213) 2016Mercedes-Benz E-Cl

Fans of German compression-ignition engines had best dig out those old, glossy posters of an olive green 300D, as they’re going to need it.

Daimler announced it will not sell 2017 diesel Mercedes-Benz models in the U.S. as rumors swirl that the automaker might give up on the segment altogether.

The problem lies in regulatory approval, which Daimler has struggled — and failed — to obtain. Following the Volkswagen diesel scandal, the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board began going over diesel emissions with a fine-toothed comb. The four diesels Mercedes-Benz had hoped to sell in the U.S. this year became trapped in a bottleneck last fall.

After killing off the C300d’s prospects for good, the automaker then sought approval for just one model — the GLS350d. No dice. Investigations on both sides of the Atlantic could now cap the company’s 57-year diesel history in the U.S. Read More >

By on May 6, 2017

2017 Jaguar F-Pace - Image: Jaguar

Ralf Speth isn’t having it. Across Europe governments are cracking down on the use of diesel vehicles in a bid to lower air pollution, especially in the Jaguar Land Rover CEO’s own country. London has announced plans to levy stiff charges on anyone driving a diesel-powered vehicle through central areas of the capital starting in early 2019, adding fuel to the anti-diesel fire. Paris, Berlin and Athens also plan to ban the technology.

With compression ignition still a significant part of the automaker’s engine lineup — both in Europe and North America — Speth recently defended the technology’s importance in a finger-pointing spiel. The world needs diesel, he claimed, and the media (and Volkswagen) haven’t done anything to help the situation. Read More >

By on May 2, 2017

2017 BMW 340i - Image: BMW USA

BMW isn’t known for revolutionary design changes, so it likely won’t be hard to pick the upcoming 3 Series and X3 crossover out of a crowd of domestic and Japanese competitors. Nor will the models’ powerplants see a complete overhaul.

One somewhat surprising claim, given recent events, is that both next-generation models will retain a diesel option in the United States — and a new one, at that. Read More >

By on April 28, 2017

2017 Volkswagen model range – Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen Group is about to drop gas and diesel engines like names at a swank party.

The automaker’s CEO has announced a multi-billion push to prepare the company for a much more stringent marketplace, part of which includes giving its internal combustion engine lineup a haircut.

Speaking at an auto industry conference in Vienna, Matthias Müller said the company needs to boost the efficiency of its engines by 10 to 15 percent to stay ahead of picky European and American regulators, Reuters reports. Reaching that goal carries a price tag of $11 billion, spread out over the next five years.

Up to 40 percent of the company’s engines won’t survive the operation, Müller claims. Read More >

By on April 27, 2017

[Image: GM]

General Motors will happily let you configure a newly downsized 2018 Chevrolet Equinox, but moving up a step in power means cooling your heels for a few more months.

The third-generation crossover bowed this spring with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder as its base powerplant, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel-drive traction. While that mill generates 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque, more power is on the way. Read More >

By on April 10, 2017

[Image: FCA]

Just in time for spring and dry pavement, FCA heeds the internet credo to Hellcat All the Things by dropping that model’s supercharged 6.2-liter mill in its Jeep Grand Cherokee.

This completes the trifecta of gonzo SUVs, with the Tesla Model X and fish-faced Bentley Bentayga already scorching the pavement. Think a Jeep won’t play in the same league as those rarified SUVs? Both of those vehicles lay claim to 0-60 times in the three-and-a-half second range; with 707 hp on tap, all-wheel drive, and an estimated weight of around 900 lbs more than a Charger Hellcat, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk should do the same.

Read More >

By on April 4, 2017

2018 Audi TT RS

Math was never this writer’s strong suit, but it’s easy to work out what the looming Audi TT RS means for its occupants: 100 horsepower per passenger. (Does anyone ever venture to that abbreviated backseat?)

That’s right, Audi’s smallest offering will gain an impressive amount of brawn when the new-for-2018 RS variant bows at the New York International Auto Show. It also grows an extra cylinder. Read More >

By on March 30, 2017

2015 Volkswagen Golf family, Image: Volkswagen of America

If you’ve felt left out of the Volkswagen diesel affair until now, chin up. You’ll soon be able to purchase your very own piece of automotive scandal history.

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the sale of 2015 Volkswagen Group vehicles equipped with Generation 3 2.0-liter diesel engines, making this the first time any of the half-million-plus sidelined vehicles have been legally available to customers since the scandal began.

The contrarian’s list of unlikely daily drivers just grew a bit longer. Read More >

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