Fiat Revolutionary 900cc TwinAir two-cylinder engine debuts in the Cinquecento

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To celebrate the Cinquecento’s third birthday, Fiat is introducing an innovative 900cc TwinAir two-cylinder 63 kW / 85 HP which will be marketed in Europe starting from September on the 500 (hatch and cabrio alike). This revolutionary engine will definitely ‘worm’ its way into South African Cinquecentos in 2011.

The first of a new family of two-cylinder engines made by FPT – Fiat Powertrain Technologies, it implements the revolutionary MultiAir system combined with specific fluid dynamics optimised for maximum fuel efficiency.

Furthermore, by taking the concept of downsizing to the extreme and masterfully tuning the basic mechanics, the new family – delivering from 48 kW to 78 kW – emits 30% less CO2 than an engine of equal performance.

Significantly the new 900cc TwinAir 63 kW two-cylinder engine will complement the many technological solutions already adopted by the Fiat 500 to contain consumption and emissions as demonstrated by the recent expansion of the engine range, now featuring a second-generation 1.3 MultiJet diesel (European markets only) delivering power of up to 71 kW. With 8 injections per cycle, the 1.3 MultiJet II improves low rpm torque delivery by up to 38% and cuts CO2 emissions by 6%.

Again with a focus on environmental protection, the Fiat 500 (hatch and cabrio) is available in Europe with Start&Stop, the system which temporarily stops the engine and starts it again when the car is stationary with the engine idling: this reduces urban cycle average consumption by up to 12%.

The principles of the Fiat 500 range are also implemented in eco:Drive (Europe only), innovative software for analysing driving behaviour and helping motorists optimise consumptions and emissions by using the USB port of the Blue&Me system.

In short, the Fiat 500 perfectly expresses the commitment of Fiat in the field of environmental protection and encourages users to adopt a more responsible, eco-friendly use of the car.

It is no coincidence that, for the third year in a row, Fiat is the most environmentally-friendly of the top-selling 10 car brands in Europe, with an average CO2 emission level of 127.8 g/km, compared to the market average of 145.8 g/km (analyses carried out by the independent institution Jato Dynamics).

A fundamental boost to obtaining this result was certainly given by the extraordinary growth of methane, the most eco-friendly and cost-effective fuel available on the market today.

A forward-thinking direction chosen over ten years ago, that has made Fiat the undisputed European leader in factory-fitted methane systems (OEM), as demonstrated by nearly 400,000 units sold to date in the Natural Power range, which includes 14 bi-fuel (methane/petrol) models – cars and commercial vehicles – for responding to all mobility needs.

As an expression of Italy’s finest automotive design, the 500 is not merely a super-compact city car, but a real platform upon which Fiat Automobiles is building a whole family of cars with technology and attention to detail worthy of a higher category.

That’s without forgetting that the Fiat 500 has introduced many innovations and achieved important records in its segment. For example, in 2007, it was the first car only 3.55 metres long to be awarded 5 EuroNCAP stars. Similarly, the adoption of seven standard airbags (it is the only compact to include knee bags) and the availability of advanced ESP for all engine versions (standard on the 1.4 16v 100 HP) was an absolute “première” in this class.

That’s without counting that even back in 2007, the entire engine Fiat 500 range was already compliant with Euro 5 standard emission limits, three years ahead of the legal deadline. Last but not least, Fiat 500 was the first small car to offer such a wide, articulated range, typical of higher range models: by combining different versions, engines, interiors, upholstery, body colours, rims, accessories and so on, customers could choose from over 500,000 variants.

Product innovations also came in thick and fast: 500 by Diesel (September 2008), 500 Pink (June 2009), 500C (July 2009), 500C by Diesel (June 2010).

TwinAir in detail

Using next-generation technology, the new TwinAir engine implements the revolutionary MultiAir system combined with special fluid dynamics optimised for maximum fuel efficiency. Furthermore, by taking the concept of downsizing to the extreme and masterfully tuning the basic mechanics, the new family – delivering from 48 kW to 78 kW – emits 30% less CO2 than an engine of equal performance.

The 500 will be the first Fiat model to adopt this, which will be the progenitor of a new family of engines: a 63 kW (900 cc) turbo two-cylinder with the lowest CO2 emission for a petrol engine (92 g/km with a Dualogic robotised gearbox and 95 g/km with manual gearbox) without skimping on performance or driving pleasure.

This is thanks to the small-sized turbine which, combined with dedicated valve management strategies, minimises transient response times and, at the same time, keeps maximum power levels high. In this way, despite its small size, the engine ensures excellent performance and an appreciable reduction in fuel consumption: compared with a 1.2 8v, the new 63 kW turbo has 23% more power and a 30% better performance index. In fact, the performance of the two-cylinder is not only equivalent to a 1.4 16v, but consumption is a remarkable 30% lower.

Equipped in this way, the Fiat 500 reaches a top speed of 173 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in only 11 seconds. This remarkable performance corresponds to a significant reduction of fuel consumption and emissions: 4.1 l/100 km and 95 g/km respectively on the urban cycle (with manual gearbox), that becomes 4.0 l/100 km and 92 g/km with a Dualogic robotised gearbox.

Furthermore, the Fiat 500 with TwinAir 63 kW is provided with an ECO button – positioned on the dashboard – for further cutting fuel consumption in cities and guaranteeing very eco-friendly running. Two driving modes can be selected: Normal and ECO.

In the first mode, the ECO function is off and the engine delivers the maximum available torque (145 Nm), guaranteeing prompt, brilliant response and a “sportier” driving feel. Steering assistance is also specifically calibrated for Normal mode. No indication appears on the dashboard in this mode (City is not selected). Consequently, this configuration is recommended for maximum response and full enjoyment of all available torque.

In ECO mode, instead, the emphasis is on “eco-friendly” engine running: torque delivery is cut off to 100 Nm at 2000 rpm to minimise consumption and promote a driving style more suitable for city traffic.

The steering wheel is lighter (CITY mode is automatically selected). The driver only needs to press the specific button on the dashboard to activate the ECO function. The lettering ECO will appear on the panel (the letter “E” will appear on the panel if the car has a Dualogic robotised gearbox).

Furthermore, the Dualogic shifting strategy also switches to ECO mode to further optimise fuel consumption.

Furthermore, compared with a medium-sized four-cylinder of equal performance, the new engine is significantly shorter (-23%) and lighter (-10%), opening the way to further developments, such as methane fuel supply or hybrid technology combinations, again on the theme of greater eco-friendliness.

In particular, a methane version of the TwinAir will be available soon in Europe providing a further CO2 emission reduction, by adopting a pair of special injectors in addition to the petrol injectors on the intake manifold ducts. Improving on these fuel saving results using internal combustion engines will be difficult and alternative technologies will need to be developed.

The combination of traditional engines and electric motors appears particularly promising. Due to its reduced size, the TwinAir is quite suitable for being paired with an electric engine and in general with a device located between the engine and gearbox for recovering and storing the energy that is normally wasted during braking.

Interestingly, the TwinAir
63 kW comes with “Start&Stop” as standard. This device temporarily stops the engine and restarts it, ensuring reductions in fuel consumption and noise in the passenger compartment.

The Gear Shift Indicator (GSI) associated to the Start&Stop system is a genuine “co-pilot” that discreetly suggests when to shift gear, leading to more efficient use of the engine in terms of fuel consumption. For example, the GSI may suggest shifting up, by means of an indication on the control panel, to allow the engine to burn a leaner mixture, i.e. one containing less fuel, or shifting down to make best use of the available torque.

Nothing short of an engineering gem, the two-cylinder implements the revolutionary MultiAir technology developed and patented by FPT – Fiat Powertrain Technologies, which was introduced on FIRE engines last year for the first time.

The heart of MultiAir is a new electro-hydraulic valve management system that reduces fuel consumption by controlling air directly via the inlet valves (without using the throttle).

MultiAir reduces polluting emissions (thanks to combustion control) and also considerably improves performance by boosting driveability with respect to a traditional petrol engine of equal displacement. In brief, the advantages of MultiAir technology applied to petrol engines are:

  • maximum power boosted by 10% compared with a traditional engine of equal size;
  • 15% more torque at low rpm and during transitions by applying early intake valve closing strategies to maximise the air introduced into the cylinders;
  • less fuel consumption and consequently lower CO2 emissions, equal to 10% by eliminating pumping losses and precise parameter calibration for optimising combustion;
  • lower polluting emissions from the engine by optimising valve control strategies during the intake stroke;
  • prompter response to accelerator commands due to the constant air pressure upstream of the cylinders combined with extremely fast control of the intake valves.

Also, the new TwinAir engine takes the concept of downsizing to an extreme: by combining a small-sized engine with a next-generation turbocharger performance comparable to – or even better than – that of a larger engine is obtained but with less fuel consumption and lower emissions.

Not only that, the turbo significantly increases the maximum torque, making it available at a very low rpm, with the result of offering greater flexibility and an unrivalled responsiveness compared to conventional aspirated engines. All this comes with a simple build to the benefit of strength and reliability.

Last but not least, the new engine was painstakingly optimised and tuned. For instance, the basic two-cylinder architecture – combined with the low friction of internal parts – ranks this engine best in the world as far as friction is concerned.

Furthermore, calculated simulations have been used to identify the best possible unit displacement in terms of thermo-dynamic efficiency, and the best fluid dynamic configuration to optimise and get the best out of the MultiAir system.

Finally, special attention has been placed on the NVH (Noise, vibration, and harshness) aspect to ensure vibration performance at least equivalent to that of a four-cylinder, with equal performance but with a characteristic sound.

For this purpose, a balancing countershaft was used to maintain optimal vibration levels in all operating conditions of the engine, from idling speed to top power.

Fiat Group: a history of technological supremacy and state-of-the-art engines

With the TwinAir system, the Fiat Group has acquired new pre-eminence in the field of engines. The result of the remarkable know-how gained by the company in over one century of life is expressed by some of the most important technological automotive developments in the world.

Technology is indeed the only possible solution for the problems of the environment and mobility, as demonstrated by breakthroughs which over the years has allowed drastic reductions in exhaust emissions, fuel consumption and noise. Several significant milestones have attributed a new meaning to the concept of sustainable mobility, and the Fiat Group has contributed to some of the most important technological breakthroughs of the past decades.

1980 – The world’s first variable valve timing (VVT)

Alfa Romeo was the first auto maker to introduce variable valve timing on standard production cars, namely on the 2.0 litre Alfa Romeo Spider in 1980. The Alfa Romeo system allows two-step variable timing of the intake camshaft.

The delayed opening of the intake valve at low rpm improves idling stability and handling, while the early opening of the intake valve at medium-to-high rpm improves engine torque with the valve completely open, reducing hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions at partial load, by increasing internal exhaust gas recirculation speed (EGR). Variable valve timing technology was later adopted by nearly all auto makers worldwide.

1985 – FIRE engine (Fully Integrated and Robotised Engine )

The FIRE engine, developed during the early 1980s, adopted the most advanced combustion and fluid dynamic technologies of the day. The engine structure was essential and designed to be produced cost-effectively on highly automated, robotised production lines.

Today the FIRE is still the best in its class and its modern, flexible design can be continuously, easily updated with state-of-the-art technology (turbocharger and MultiAir).

1987 – The world’s first direct injection diesel engine for cars (Fiat Croma)

Pre-chamber diesel engines were introduced during the second half of the 1970s while research efforts were being concentrated on the more efficient direct injection technology with turbocharger then used for marine, commercial and industrial engines. In 1987, Fiat Group introduced the world’s first direct injection diesel engine with variable geometry turbocharger on the Croma.

Fuel consumption was excellent: 15% less than a previous-generation pre-chamber diesel engine, 30% less than a petrol engine.

1990 – Panda Elettra, the first mass produced electric car

Mass production of the Panda Elettra started in 1990. The car was equipped with a direct current motor and a lead–acid battery capable of ensuring a range of 70 km in the urban cycle and a top speed of 75 km/h.

Following this experience, Fiat starting mass producing another electric car in 1998 (the 600 Elettra) with better performance provided by a high-voltage alternating current induction engine.

1997 – The affirmation of Common Rail technology

When developing direct injection engines with turbocharger for cars (Fiat Croma – 1987), researchers discovered that another, fundamental revolution in direct diesel injection was needed to further improve engine performance and drastically improve noise and emissions. In 1987, the Fiat Group started a strategic research project (called UNIJET) to design an electronically controlled diesel injection system.

The industrial feasibility of the Common Rail system was fully demonstrated in 1993, and in 1994 Fiat and Bosch signed an agreement for industrialising the technology. The world’s first Common Rail direct injection diesel engine was introduced on the Alfa Romeo 156 in 1997.

1999 – The world’s first automated manual transmission (Selespeed)

In an automated manual transmission, gear shifts and the clutch, normally controlled by the driver, are instead controlled by a hydroelectric servo system, which automatically and very smoothly disengages the clutch, selects the optimal gear and engages the clutch.

Development of the manual automated transmission technology started in 1992 on the basis of previous experience with Ferrari F1. In 1999, the world’s first standard production manual automated transmission was introduced on the Alfa Romeo 156 – Selespeed.

2003 – MultiJet technology and SDE (Small Diesel Engine)

In 2003, Fiat created MultiJet, the second-generation multiple injection Common Rail: up to 5 injectors during one combustion stroke using an improved servo valve. In particular, the introduction of pre-injection further reduces combustion noise, while post-injection allows a considerable reduction of particulate and particulate filter regeneration.

MultiJet was designed for the new 1.3 litre SDE (Small Diesel Engine), the smallest direction injection diesel ever made. With low fuel consumption and excellent driving pleasure, the SDE MultiJet could be applied to the smallest models.

2003 – Flex Fuel

In Brazil, FPT – Fiat Powertrain Technologies – created Flex Fuel technology, able to use two different fuels, such as petrol and ethanol, mixed together in the same tank. FPT initially applied the technology to 1.0 litre engines, which accounts for 51.33% of all sales in Brazil (according to the May 2010 report of the Federação Nacional da Distribuição de Veículos Automotores).

Since 2003 when it was first released, the FPT Flex engine range has been installed on nearly all Fiat cars sold in Brazil, including the Palio, the Idea, the Linea 1.9 and the recently introduced Uno.

Currently, FPT is preparing the launch of 1.6 litre and 1.8 litre E.torQ family engines also with Flex options. With a series of technological evolutions, the new engines mark the entrance in the medium segment of the company to offer Flex Fuel technology solutions on the entire vehicle range.

2006 – Tetra Fuel

Fiat went beyond, demonstrating its capacity of innovating within the alternative fuel vehicle segment by releasing the Tetrafuel engine in 2006. Applied to the Siena, the engine can run on ethanol and petrol, neat or in any mixing ratio, and also natural gas.

2009 – MultiJet II technology

MultiJet II technology achieves exceptional flexibility while maintaining the consolidated concept of electro-hydraulic injectors: up to 8 injections during each combustion stroke.

An innovative hydraulically balanced servo valve allows faster, flexible programming of injection events and is the basis for increasingly advanced combustion control strategies.

With correct management of pauses between two consecutive injections (Injection Rate Shaping), the MultiJet II can modulate fuel supply into the combustion chamber, further reducing emissions, fuel consumption and combustion noise.

2009 – The appearance of MultiAir technology

Another Fiat world first: MultiAir, introduced on 1.4 litre FIRE petrol engines, is a revolutionary electro-hydraulic valve control system for dynamic, direct air and combustion management, one cylinder at a time, one stroke at a time.

Directly controlling the air by means of engine intake valves without using the throttle, MultiAir allows a drastic reduction in fuel consumption. Controlling fuel consumption also means lower pollutant emissions. Furthermore, response is considerably improved as a result of rapid, direct air management.

2010 – TCT (Twin Clutch Transmission)

Fiat Group Automobiles launched a new C635 6-speed transmission with TCT allowing a driving comfort equivalent to or even better than that of a conventional automatic transmission, at lower costs and with better fuel efficiency.

The 350 Nm Twin Clutch Transmission (TCT) delivers more torque than any dry clutch transmission on the market. It was released for the first time on the Alfa Romeo MiTo in conjunction with a Fire MultiAir turbocharged engine, to provide optimally integrated control of the entire kinematic chain.

2010 – TwinAir: the world’s first high-tech two-cylinder

The TwinAir, a high-tech two-cylinder engine with a displacement of only 0.9 litres, is an example of radical downsizing to obtain extremely low CO2 emission and fuel consumption levels in A and B segment cars.

This result is possible by integrating MultiAir technology and a turbocharger which cooperate efficiently to optimise costs and fuel consumption. Advanced technical solutions were adopted to improve NVH (noise, vibrations and harshness), while excellent response is ensured by specifically tuning the control parameters of the kinematic chain.

Fiat 500 TwinAir 63 kW / 85 HP technical specifications

Dimensions
Length 3546: mm – Width: 1627 mm – Height: 1488 mm – Wheelbase: 2300 mm

Engine 0.9 TwinAir

Emissions level

Euro 5

No. of cylinders and arrangement

2, in line, transverse front

Bore x stroke (mm)

80.5×86

Displacement (cm3)

875

No. of valves per cylinder

4

Compression ratio

10.0:1

Max. power output: CV-EEC (kW-EEC) @ rpm

85 (63 kW) @ 5500

(63 kW @ 6000 rpm with ECO button)

Max. torque: kgm-EEC (Nm-EEC) @ rpm

14,8 (145 ) @ 1900

(100 Nm @ 2000 rpm with ECO button)

Timing type

Fully variable valve lift on intake; fixed timing on exhaust

Tappet control

MultiAir on intake RFF on exhaust

Distribution (control)

Chains

Fuel supply

Multipoint port fuel

Ignition

Controlled

Transmission
Traction

Front

Clutch

Mechanical

Brakes – D (disc) – T (drum)
Front (mm)

D 240 self-ventilated

Rear (mm)

T180

Suspensions
Front

independent-wheel, MacPherson-type with lower transverse wishbones secured to an auxiliary crossmember, anti-roll bar connected to the shock absorber

Rear

inter-connected suspension through torsion beam and anti-roll bar

Performance and Consumption
Max. speed (km/h)

173

Acceleration (sec.): 0 – 100 km/h

11.0

Consumption (l/100 km):

urban – extra-urban – combined cycles

4.9 – 3.7 – 4.1 (Start&Stop)

4.6 – 3.6 – 4.0 (Dualogic and Start&Stop)

CO2 (g/km) (with Start&Stop)

95 (manual gearbox) – 92 (Dualogic gearbox)