First of all, what the heck is the Atkinson Cycle and why should we care? Naturally, it's a bit complicated, but basically in a modern Atkinson Cycle engine, the intake valve is held open longer than normal to allow a reverse flow of intake air into the intake manifold and allowing for a smaller compression ratio than the expansion ratio, making the engine more efficient with a slight reduction in overall power. Consult the all-knowing Wiki for more on that.
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