Geneva Motor Show 2012: Fiat Freemont AWD







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: February 21, 2012
Categories: FIAT, Fiat Freemont

Fiat Freemont AWD: freedom and safety for ‘all the cars you want’

  • All-wheel drive for the greatest safety in all driving conditions
  • Performance and efficiency mark the 170 HP 2.0 MultiJet 2 and 280 HP 3.6 petrol V6 engines
  • The convenience of the new 6-speed automatic transmission

Fiat Freemont Geneva Motor Show

The Freemont evokes a sense of freedom, and the feeling that this vehicle can face up to any situation that everyday life might bring. Today, with the new AWD (All-Wheel Drive) version, the model further accentuates its multi-faceted soul created by crossing the versatility and presence on the road characteristic of a SUV, the typical handling of a station wagon and the 7-seat passenger room of an MPV.

The new Fiat Freemont AWD is the four-wheel drive version matched with the 170 HP 2.0 MultiJet 2 and 280 HP 3.6 V6 petrol engines, both offered with the new six-speed automatic transmission.  It is a technologically sophisticated and completely automated system that allows the driver to control the vehicle in extreme conditions in total safety.

All-wheel drive for the greatest safety in all driving conditions

The Fiat Freemont AWD active four-wheel drive system is on-demand, and it is equipped with an electronic control unit which uses sensors anti-skid to detect the grip of the four wheels and decides when to transmit traction to the rear. The system intervenes on surfaces where the wheels may not have good grip (mud, snow, ice...) to ensure maximum traction and no limits to the routes the vehicle can take, or in the case of asphalt surfaces, to ensure additional traction and greater safety on bends.

Specifically, the electronic system modulates torque transfer through the use of the electronically controlled coupling (ECC). Since it only operates when necessary, the system contributes to limiting fuel consumption. In addition, the ECC on the AWD system is more flexible and more accurate than a viscous coupling or a Torsen® system. In addition, the control unit also interfaces with the ESP and the traction control system.

The 'active' Freemont all-wheel drive system does not require any controls or input. In detail, the system is passive for many driving conditions and traction is only transmitted to the front wheels.

The AWD technology steps in to optimise traction and driveability using the following strategies:

Preventive control: in this phase, the system acts without considering wheel slip but only analyses the driver's action on the pedal according to the driving conditions. If the driver is requesting a lot of power, the AWD traction is automatically activated, transferring part of the torque (up to 50%) to the rear wheels. This prevents the front wheels from slipping, since the power is transmitted through all four wheels.

Slip control: a second operating mode uses the feedback from the wheel speed sensors to determine the appropriate torque to transfer. When the front wheels slip, the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) activates the ECC in order to start transferring power to the rear wheels. If the car is to start with the front wheels on ice (or surface with a poor grip) and the rear wheels on a dry surface, the system sends more torque to the rear wheels in order to reduce slip. The power to the rear wheels is also modulated in the event of lost traction at constant speed. For instance, during “aquaplaning” on a puddle of water, the system is capable of remodulating the power sent to the rear wheels, since higher values would not be necessary.

Improvement of driveability: the AWD system is used to optimise the vehicle dynamics. On the Fiat Freemont, the ECU controls the torque on the rear wheels (in  bends and acceleration) to improve driveability, making  cornering easier and increasing safety at high speeds.

This is achieved via the electronic control system, which is preferable to viscous couplings that transfer the torque to the rear wheels only after having detected a certain difference in speed between the front and rear axles.

Performance and efficiency mark the 170 HP 2.0 MultiJet 2 and 280 HP 3.6 petrol V6 engines

The 170 HP 2.0 MultiJet 2 engine fitted on the AWD version ensures the optimum balance of performance, driving pleasure and fuel consumption. The vehicle's driveability is guaranteed by a maximum torque value (350 Nm) which is already reached at 1750 rpm and constant up to 2500 for the 170 HP version. For the normal usage range (from 1500 rpm up to 3000 rpm), the torque never falls below 300 Nm, avoiding uncomfortable "downshifts" and enhancing driving pleasure. This makes the engine very flexible, with optimum acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h and maximum speeds: 11.1 seconds and 184 km/h. All of this translates into dynamic and safe driving.

Fiat Freemont

The values recorded by the powerful 3.6 V6 petrol engine available only with the AWD system are also outstanding: 280 HP (206 kW) at 6350 rpm of maximum power, 342 Nm at 4350 rpm of maximum torque, top speed of 206 km/h and acceleration from 0 - 100 km/h in just 8.4 seconds.

The convenience of the new 6-speed automatic transmission

Both Fiat Freemont AWD engines are combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission that ensures excellent performance together with precise and quiet operation to provide ultimate comfort and driveability.

With this new transmission, driving is more pleasant and smoother owing to minimal rev fluctuations during each gear change. For example, when maximum acceleration is necessary, when overtaking, the kick-down speeds up the automatic changing of gears to make the manoeuvre easier. The six gears of the Freemont automatic transmission also allow the engine to always operate in the most efficient rev band, ensuring lower emissions and fuel consumption. In the same way the new transmission ensures excellent performance in all situations (gear change, pick-up, acceleration) thanks to precise torque management.

Finally, the transmission has been carefully designed so that the engine operates at lower revs, ensuring a quieter drive at motorway speeds. Moreover, the Freemont's new automatic transmission can also be used in sequential mode with the “Autostick” function.