Engine of the Year Honor Goes to Fiat

The International Engine of the Year jury has named the winner of this year’s top honors, and it goes to the Fiat 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, the engine that Chrysler is hoping will put them back on the map. The company is counting on the MultiAir Turbo engine system to help them gain some ground in today’s auto market, which is being flooded with fuel efficient small cars by just about every manufacturer. Competition is steep, and with Fiat technology, Chrysler hopes to be a serious contender.

The winning engine is a four cylinder which was introduced in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta small car and the Alfa MiTo subcompact models. It is capable of producing 170 horsepower while providing excellent fuel economy, which was measured at 47 miles per gallon on the European combined city-highway cycle.

Fiat has been in control of Chrysler since last year after the company underwent bankruptcy and restructuring. Fiat says that the plan is to engineer the Multi-Air technology into Chrysler’s 4-cylinder “World” engines in the U.S. market.

The engine will be introduced in the North American model of the Fiat 500 subcompact car, which is being produced in Mexico at the Chrysler plant there. The car will be available for purchase later this year.

The 1.4 MultiAir system’s electrohydraulic valve controls are truly cutting edge, permitting virtually unlimited independent adjustment of inlet vales at each cylinder.

The judges for the Engine of the Year award make up an international panel which includes chief road test editor for Edmunds.com, Chris Walton. The panel cited claims made by Fiat that the MultiAir system can provide up to a 10% power boost and a 15% torque increase over similarly sized engines that do not have the system; the engine accomplishes this while also raising fuel economy by up to 10%.

Concerning emissions, Fiat says the MultiAir system can lower CO2 by 10%, particulate matter by 40%, and smog producing nitrogen oxides (NOx) by up to 60%. The engine does so by controlling fuel and air intake with great precision.

With the power boost provided by the MultiAir system, Fiat and Chrysler will be able to use smaller displacement engines to decrease tailpipe emissions and increase fuel efficiency while maintaining superior performance and power.

MulitAir technology will be used in a series of new Fiat engines, and the company is currently working on a 105-horsepower, two-cylinder turbocharged model for European minicar models.

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