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EcoLust: Fiat’s TwinAir Gets 85 Horsepower, 50 MPG From 0.9 Liters

Posted in auto industry, EcoLust, Emissions, Engines, Environment, Fiat, Fuel-efficient by Kurt Ernst | July 9th, 2010 | 5 Responses |

Fiat 500 With TwinAir Motor

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.

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5 Responses

  1. Jim says:

    Interesting, but my bike in the driveway right now has 85 horsepower and gets 60 MPG from an engine that is 100cc SMALLER. It’s a BMW F800ST, made THREE years ago. That much horsepower for that size engine in a motorcycle makes it that more impressive compared to this car. However MPG is kinda not comparing apples to apples.

  2. Nads says:

    Why wouldn’t they introduce the 50mpg engine?

  3. Kurt says:

    Jim, MPG aside, car engines are in a lower state of tune than motorcycle engines, as car manufacturer’s trade performance for durability and engine longevity.

    BMW may be one of the few exceptions to this. I ride a K1200RS myself, and know of examples with better than 200k on the clock. Hell, the transmission on my old R1100S wasn’t even broken in until 25k miles.

  4. Kurt says:

    Nads, I’m not sure. The Fiat 500 will be a sales experiment for Fiat in the US; if it sells well (and I think it will), we’ll probably see the TwinAir version in the future. Assuming it passes EPA emission standards.

  5. Stephen Philips says:


    Domestic manufacturers continue to “tell us” what we want and don’t want.. refusing to import or manufacture highly efficient, copiously quipped KEI-class “pocket rockets” from Japan, Chevrolet’s Matiz and a plethora of TDi-types from Europe (from ALL European manufacturers) … all that offer phenomenal economy and yet remain autobahn-“sporty” enough to compete for real-estate on our domestic roadways with the predominant SUV-behemoths that ply our highways today.

    I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to acquire a TwinAir – OR their hybrid version…

    Detroit asks for billions to “help them learn to build efficient vehicles”, yet sells them already around the world, at truly remarkable prices (the Matiz – 54 mpg/combined – sells in London for $11,500 USD today)…

    I say let’s drop our prohibitive vehicle import barriers from the current 25 year vintage to at LEAST Canada’s 15-year restriction (which they’re lobbying to reduce to 10): Once cottage industries are established to support imported KEI class and relate types (like Canada has already experienced), just SEE how long it takes Motor City’s models to “evolve”!

    Personally? I’d trade 0~60 “performance” for 60 MPG ratings, any day!