Geneva Motor Show – Vauxhall New Engines


New state-of-the-art three-cylinder petrol engine debuts in ADAM

  • 1.0-litre Direct Injection Turbo raises bar for three-cylinder engine refinement
  • Greater low-end torque and pulling power than 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated engines
  • Greener small petrol engine footprint with ultra-low 99g/km CO2 emissions
  • Teamed with all-new six-speed gearbox that’s 30 per cent lighter than predecessor


Luton – Vauxhall’s new cutting-edge 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine is set to debut in the urban-chic ADAM at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.

ADAM is the first car in the Vauxhall range to receive the new, all-aluminium 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo petrol engine that has been developed at Vauxhall/Opel’s International Technical Development Centre.

The pocket powerhouse will come in two power outputs, giving 90PS and 115PS. Both deliver strong, low-end torque of 166Nm from just 1,800 rpm. Like the two new generation 1.6-litre mid-size units Vauxhall has launched recently, the1.6 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo petrol and the 1.6 CDTi ‘Whisper Diesel’, the new 1.0 ECOTEC offers benchmark refinement with outstandingly low noise, vibration and harshness.

With Start/Stop functionality as standard, the 90PS version gives ADAM combined cycle fuel consumption as low as 62mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, according to preliminary data. Efficiency enablers include direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, weight-saving all-aluminium construction and a switchable water pump.

The first in a completely new family of small displacement petrol engines, the 12-valve 1.0 ECOTEC is the next step in Vauxhall’s powertrain offensive following the recent introduction of new 1.6-litre mid-size petrol and diesel engine families.

These three new powertrain families share a common DNA and development target: to be the most refined in their respective categories. Starting with a clean sheet of paper, Vauxhall/Opel engineers focused on eliminating ‘off-beat’ running characteristics which traditionally detract from the economical driving appeal of three-cylinder engines.

“We not only set out to minimise fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, we also wanted to demonstrate that three cylinders can be just as refined as four or more,” says Dr. Matthias Alt, Vauxhall/Opel’s Chief Engineer, Small Gasoline Engines. “We tackled at source the balance, noise and vibration issues typical of conventional three-cylinder engines, and we’re confident ADAM customers will be enthusiastic about the results.”

The cylinder block, in high pressure die-cast aluminium, is designed to reduce radiated and structure-borne engine noise, as well as reduce weight. The high-pressure fuel rail and injectors are also structurally isolated from the cylinder head to minimise the transmission of pulsing, while both the fuel pump and fuel line are acoustically treated.

A further contributor to running refinement is the installation of a balance shaft in the oil sump. Driven by a chain with inverted teeth for quiet running, it counter-rotates at crankshaft speed and is carefully mass-optimised to offset the inherent vibrations of a three cylinder operation.

Other noise attenuation measures include: acoustically-optimised covers for the top and front of the engine, the intake manifold and camshaft housings; crankshaft isolation with iron main bearing inserts; inverted teeth for camshaft drive chains; a low-hiss turbo charger, and a lower oil pan in steel.


With all these ‘sound engineering’ features, the new 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo is not only more refined than other three-cylinder engines, it’s also quieter than many four-cylinder units. For example, in bench testing at full throttle, it emits lower noise levels across all engine speeds than similarly powerful petrol naturally-aspirated engines of 1.6-litre displacement.

Small engine with big appeal

The new 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo also packs a punch. It has all the power characteristics to make down-sizing feel like right-sizing, generating more torque, for example, than most 1.6-litre, naturally-aspirated engines.

In the ADAM, the 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo produces 166Nm from just 1,800 rpm. That’s almost 30 per cent more pulling power than the naturally-aspirated 1.6-litre generates at the same rpm. The 115PS version extends the torque plateau to up to 4,700 rpm. The exhaust manifold is housed in the aluminium cylinder head, to which the tiny, low-inertia, water-cooled turbocharger is directly bolted. This compact installation contributes to the delivery of a fast boost charge which gives the 1.0 ECOTEC such strong, low-end power.

The six-vent fuel injectors in the direct injection system are centrally located above each piston to provide efficient combustion, and dual cam-phasing enables variable valve timing for optimum engine breathing. A twin displacement oil pump and a switchable water pump, which is disengaged when the engine coolant is cold in order to accelerate warm-up, also contribute to low fuel consumption.


New lightweight gearbox

If benchmark-setting running refinement, low-end torque and efficiency wasn’t enough, this 1.0-litre powerhouse is mated to a new generation six-speed manual transmission. With a compact design and a dry weight of only 37kg, it is about 30 per cent lighter than units it replaces.

Featuring superior shift quality and excellent precision, with a short lever travel and low effort, the new transmission incorporates many of the smooth gear change refinements recently introduced by Vauxhall. These include the use of gears with wide, asymmetrically-cut dog teeth and triple-cone synchronisers for first/second gear, with double cones for third/fourth. Reverse gear is also synchronised. In addition to ADAM, this slick-shifting new gearbox will be rolled out into in other Vauxhall models.

The new 1.0-litre engine will go on sale on ADAM in the spring.