Honda's engineers have been busily figuring out how to make their VTEC engine better, and today the auto giant released the first details about the next-generation powerplant, which they're calling Advanced VTEC. Honda says it plans to have the new engine in a production car within the next three years.

Torquier at all speeds, the engine also sets the valves for low lift and early closure at lower load levels, which boosts fuel economy to the tune of 13% over the current 2.4L i-VTEC when the engine is equipped with the proper intake bits. In addition to being punchier and more economical, the engine is cleaner-burning as well, garnering a LEV2-ULEV emissions rating.

This is good news. While research and implementation of the various alternative fuel and propulsion solutions is most welcome, there's a lot to be said for the regular, economical four-cylinder gasoline engine. If Honda is on the verge of producing a four with power, more torque (hooray!), better fuel economy and cleaner emissions, the Advanced VTEC is going to be a highly attractive alternative to the alternatives.

(Additional photos, press release after the jump)

[Source: Honda]

Honda Advanced VTEC Research Vehicle:

Honda Develops Advanced VTEC Engine Combining High Power and Environmental Performance

September 25, 2006–Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has further advanced its VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control System) technology with the development of the Advanced VTEC engine, which achieves high performance along with outstanding fuel economy and lower emissions. The new engine combines continuously variable valve lift and timing control with the continuously variable phase control of VTC (Variable Timing Control). Honda plans to release a production vehicle equipped with the new engine within three years.

This new system permits optimum control over intake valve lift and phase in response to driving conditions, achieving improved charging efficiency for a significant increase in torque at all engine speeds. Under low to medium load levels, the valves are set for low lift and early closure to reduce pumping losses and improve fuel economy.

In combination with optimized intake components, these advances in control technology result in world-class dynamic performance along with approximately 13%* improvement in fuel economy. The new engine is also exceptionally clean, with exhaust emissions that meet both U.S. Environmental Protection Agency LEV2-ULEV regulations and Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport requirements for Low-Emission Vehicles, with emission levels 75% lower than those required by the 2005 standards (based on Honda calculations).
* Engine only, as compared to production 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine (Honda calculations)

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