General Motors Unveils New Engine Family, Coming to U.S. Soon

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General Motors has unveiled a new family of small engines meant to go into GM's small and midsize cars all over the world. The new three- and four-cylinder engines all share a common architecture and replace three separate families of engines, which will help GM reduce costs as it continues to globalize operations.

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Ranging in displacement from 1.0- to 1.5-liter, the new Ecotec engines will have 11 variants built and used around the world. They range from a naturally aspirated 1.0-liter three-cylinder for the South Korean market up to a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder. Horsepower ranges from a scant 75 hp in the smallest motor to 165 in the turbocharged 1.5-liter. The company also said there will be a "hybrid" variant as well, suggesting a replacement for the 1.4-liter engine currently used to help power the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR. However, GM offered no details on what engine it will be or its planned application.

GM has totally re-engineered these motors, claiming major improvements in fuel efficiency, emissions and quietness versus competitors' engines. For instance, GM is claiming that the turbo 1.4-liter engine will be nearly 50 percent quieter than the 1.8-liter motor in the Audi A3, and that the turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine will be nearly 25 percent quieter than the similar EcoBoost engine in the Ford Fiesta. So far, GM has only announced two applications: The European Opel Adam city car will have a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine, and the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze for the Chinese market will get a choice of turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder or naturally aspirated 1.5-liter four-cylinder engines.

As for what's coming to the U.S., GM refused to divulge any product plans for the U.S. market. But given that the current U.S. lineup features several small engines, it would not be a stretch to imagine the turbo three-cylinder engine finding a home in our Chevrolet Spark and Sonic, while the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine could head to the larger Chevy Cruze and perhaps even the Malibu and Equinox compact crossover. The next-generation Volt could even get a turbo three-cylinder for its range-extender as well, given its power requirements. GM will unveil more about which of its cars will get the new Ecotec engines as the year continues.

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By Aaron Bragman | March 20, 2014 | Comments (4)

Comments 

Steve

So long to reliable, reasonably simple engines. I'm just happy to have driven and enjoyed working on them since I could drive. The more I hear Ford and now GM do this, the chances of me owning a Honda soon are that much greater.

Ken L.

Sounds like the future will be bleak in terms of the passion for driving. Entry-level engines are becoming smaller and smaller. These small turbocharged and supercharged engines are not as durable as a naturally aspirated, highly advanced engine. I remember when engine technologies like V-TEC and VVT-i came onto the scene; it inspired engine advancements from other manufacturers. Now, I know some of these upcoming engines are due to regulations, etc., that is why if you can get a hold of a naturally aspirated big engine, and can afford the fuel, do it. I wanted a 300 SRT8 with the 6.4 since there's nothing like the sound of one. No need for anything to get wind up before the power is delivered and no additional sound emanating from the engine bay.

carma

I also am not looking forward to small displacement turbocharged engines because there's no free lunch and the turbos will mean more maintenance and some of it expensive. Unfortunately it's the only way to meet future mileage requirements and we're going to be surprised at how small some of the mills will be, pushing around rather large cars - think a four cylinder BMW 7 series, etc. Hopefully they'll use computers to manage turbo boost, coolant and oil temperature, etc., so it will be much harder to fry the turbo bearings and other parts. If they can make a turbo that will last the life of the car and idiot proof it for those who don't know the proper way to use a turbo I'll feel better about the whole thing. At least GM has avoided turbo charging in their pickups so far.

jai

most of the small engines are coming out not because of efficiency or durability. its because of the rules in Europe and Asia, where manufacures get great incentives for using smaller displacement engines. also lot of european and Asian contries have higher taxes on higher displacement engines. eg there is higher tax on engins higher than 1.2l for goasoline and 1.5l for diesel

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