By on February 17, 2010

As much grumbling as there is among US-based enthusiasts about increasing efficiency standards, Europe’s emissions requirements are yielding even stranger fruit than mere V6-powered Porsche Panameras. One such product of the conintental obsession with downsizing: Fiat’s new TwinAir engine, available this summer on European-spec Fiat 500s. The 900 cc turbocharged twin generates 85 horsepower while emitting fewer than 100 grams of C02 per kilometer, and uses Fiat’s much-vaunted MultiAir technology. An uprated turbo version with 105 hp will become available later, reports Edmunds, as will a 60 hp naturally-aspirated version. The only other automaker to offer a two-pot in a road car? That would be Tata, which equips its Nano with a 33 hp, 632 cc engine. Given the close ties between Tata and Fiat, could Europeans have a 100 hp+ Abarth-branded Nano in their future?

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29 Comments on “Fiat Launches Two-Cylinder Engine For European 500...”

  • avatar

    This would never work in America. Any car with less than 300 hp isn’t even worthy of a magazine review.

    • 0 avatar

      Speaking as the owner of a 300HP Acura MDX, I would have to concur. It is woefully underpowered, and is the absolute minimum I would consider for picking up my groceries. Honestly, I feel sorry for people who drive Hondas, and have to get by with only 250.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t worry, someone insane enough would push that little biatch to over 400HP. Then it will appear in European Car, Eurotuner, etc…

    • 0 avatar

      Gee, there where does that leave me on my 150cc scooter in daily rush hour traffic? That’s right, faster away from the light than those yuppie 300hp CUV’s and getting to work about ten minutes faster by cutting through traffic, unburdened by all that sheet metal and “look at me, I’m well off.”

      I don’t need 300hp+, a certain very important part of my (male) body works just fine, thank you.

  • avatar

    2 cylinders can be fine if done well. I’m a bit worried about the turbo and reliability. but that is more a gasoline-turbo reliability issue, with any company. Diesel have colder exhaust, less of a concern.

    I had a 75 hp 3-cylinder Seat Ibiza TDi… it was a blast to drive, 100 mph on the autobahn easily. nose… it was a diesel. but never disturbing, more like a bear that just has a lot of torque.

  • avatar

    Now all we need to do is get Citroen to start cranking out 2CV bodies, and we just might have the makings of a party…

  • avatar

    This already works in the USA. Hundreds of thousands of vehicles are sold here with similar performance profiles.

    They’re called heavyweight motorcycles:)

  • avatar
    crash sled

    …nice little motorcycle engine… though it looks a bit wide to fit a crotch-rocket.

    • 0 avatar

      I think crotch rockets generally have inline 4’s and are usually at least 100hp at the rear wheel +. This is too big with too little power to fit a crotch rocket (and short 2 cylinders).

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Horsepower has become a meaningless, obsolete statistic as curb weights continue to climb. The real number that matters is the power-to-weight ratio. I would rather see that number advertised than raw HP.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      I saw some chop shop company advertising that sorta data, and how much they could improve power to weight ratio in your vehicle (with a Sawz-All, and misc. other weight saving components).

      After the government mandates black boxes, and we put load cells on all the axles, we’ll be able to report any illicit modifications like this. You’ll drive what we tell you to drive, and you’ll like it.

  • avatar

    Anyone else realize the 500 weighs as much as a shoe?

    A yaris with 110hp or 105hp has decent pull in the city. No reason this engine wouldn’t fare as well as those cars.

  • avatar

    The thing is already turbo from the factory. It’s internals should support at least 150HP, provided it’s not designed to a very tight safety factor.

    I’d say, give it a nitrous shot. Or tune it with a bigger turbo.

    Only concern I see is the ECU programming, since that Multiair technology must be a bit difficult to master. Or modify its parameters.

    My bet is that this is a Fire engine with 2 cylinders sawed off. Not something Fiat haven’t done before.

    And… the Cinquecento would be back to a 2 banger motor, like the original. The original was air cooled, however.

  • avatar

    As long as it’s a better engine than Fiat’s gutless 1.2 4 pot. I’ve driven ride on mowers with more get up and go.

  • avatar

    This would be the perfect engine to complement a hybrid system is a small to midsize car. The light weight of the engine would offset the added pounds of the hybrid batteries compared to a 4 cylinder hybrid.

  • avatar

    This could be a smart strategic move by Fiat. The world – including the developed nations – is about to become much poorer due to the taxes and money-printing needed to support exploding national debts and rapidly growing government sectors. That’s especially true of nations foolish enough to hamstring themselves with greentaxes.

  • avatar

    I would call engine downsizing an “obsession” only if it had no rational basis, i.e. if the engineering cost yielded no real benefits. But if I look at the mileage figures of many smaller-engined variants of European cars (that the U.S. market doesn’t get, e.g. the VW TSI Twincharger), trying to do more with less doesn’t sound all that psychologically outré to me.

  • avatar

    They should make it a v-twin and tune it to make torque like v-twin motorcycles.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t bother, the V-twin motorcycle engine is an artifact of available magnetos in the early days and the packaging restrictions of a motorcycle frame. A parallel twin with a balancer shaft or a flat twin offer better packaging for a car and lower vibration, unless the V-twin is 90 degree (ala Ducati). Torque is mostly a function of displacement,and camshaft design, and has nothing to do with cylinder layout.

    • 0 avatar
      Tricky Dicky

      @Slow_Joe: surely stroke length is one of the biggest factors in determining torque after displacement? That was one of the design problems that the Ducati race engineers faced – making their bikes rev high with a shorter stroke for more power, but stopping the conrod from smacking the bottom of the cylinder jacket. I ride a Honda RC51 so I have no doubts that a little engine can deliver a whole fistful of torque. Those Fiat 500 900c owners aren’t going to be disappointed I suspect.

  • avatar

    I’d love to have one of these two-pot engines.

    Wonder if Fiat’s interested in selling them to John Deere? My current riding mower only has something like 25 hp.

  • avatar

    Citroen 2CV chassis and bodies are still manufactured by several companies; they are given the “identity” of a wrecked 2CV so they are technically classed as a restoration despite being a completely new car.

    Of course, the 2CV engine was an horizontally opposed design. My question about this new parallel twin from Fiat is what crank-pin angle have they chosen for it?

  • avatar

    Better them than me. No one here in the U.S. would want to limit my choices to such a puny engine. Oh wait…

  • avatar
    Brian P

    To anyone familiar with the history of the Fiat 500 nameplate … the right number of cylinders for that car is two.

  • avatar

    Having ridden motorcycles for years, “900cc turbo twin” sounds like fun until it needs an expensive rebuild every 4 or 5 years.

    I like the idea of micro-cars, but would it be so bad to simply stick a Honda Fit engine in there? It could be geared to loaf along all day at 1500 rpm, with outstanding efficiency, low maintenance and long-term durability.

  • avatar

    A motorcycle engine needs a rebuild that often because it uses a ton of revs to make that power.

    A modest turbocharged 900cc engine won’t have the high boost or high revs to unduly stress the internals, and the meaty powerband given by the turbo should make it more tractable at low rpms than the displacement suggests.

    Of course, twins are boring. Three-pots sound much better. I’m waiting for Honda to sell me a Fit with a turbocharged 3-cylinder 1.0.

  • avatar

    i would drop one in an old school beatle

  • avatar

    Hmm, ‘not having at least 300hp’ misses the point entirely.
    It’s not a 2 cylinder for power – somewhat obviously – but the important issue is co2 output – less than 100g/km.
    Not much point having 300hp if you’re sitting in traffic most of the time.
    ‘Wouldn’t work in America’ is another matter entirely.
    When fuel prices in the US match those in most other places – Europe is around 2 to 3 times the US price (location dependent) – there may be a change in attitude.

    US fuel price is around 37p/litre – UK is 96, Netherlands is 100.3.

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