Motors that make 100 horsepower per liter are nothing new. Using forced induction, manufacturers have cranked out production cars that hit this benchmark for the last 20 years, but none of them are particularly fuel efficient. Gas 2.0 tells us that Fiat will soon change this by introducing the TwinAir engine option for Fiat 500s sold in the EU.
Rated at 85 horsepower, the 900 cc turbocharged motor produces power comparable to a 1.4 liter, normally aspirated motor. In the diminutive Fiat 500, that’s enough power to see 60 mph in 11 seconds; not exactly sports car territory, but not bad, either. The new motor’s real success is in fuel economy; using the European standards for fuel mileage, a TwinAir equipped Fiat 500 achieves a combined rating of 57 mpg. By comparison, this would give it about 50 mpg combined using our own EPS’s test standards.
We’ll see the Fiat 500 on these shores before the end of the year, but we won’t be getting the TwinAir engine option any time soon. That’s a shame, really, since a 50 mpg Fiat 500 makes an attractive (and less complicated) alternative to hybrid cars. Speaking of hybrids, the TwinAir’s compact design makes it ideal as the gasoline powered component of a hybrid drivetrain. The motor can even be configured to run on compressed natural gas, so who knows what Fiat has up their sleeves for the future. I just hope the Italian auto giant continues to expand their product offerings on this side of the pond.