Honda's new VTEC offers more power, better fuel economy, cleaner emissions

Honda introduced the wonders of their innovative VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control System) technology to Americans by rolling out the NSX in 1990. At the time, many considered the technology to be the normally-aspirated alternative to turbocharging and supercharging. For some, though, Honda engineers made the turbos and superchargers seem like archaic add-ons because instead of increasing horsepower by dumping more fuel into the combustion chamber with high air pressures, the brilliance of VTEC actually looked to improve the engine's combustion efficiency as you approach redline. The result was a horsepower punch with a limited hit on fuel economy.

Since then, there have been a few different iterations of the technology. In 1992, Honda focused their efforts on gas mileage and introduced VTEC-E which increased efficiency by using a sliding pin that kept one intake valve per cylinder closed at lower RPMs. In 2002, the i-VTEC arrived to U.S. shores which added camshaft phasing for either higher performance or increased fuel efficiency depending on which model vehicle it resided in.

Today, Honda announced the latest iteration of its VTEC technology (simply dubbed Advanced VTEC) which they plan to release into production within 3 years. The system offers increased control over intake valve lift and phase under different driving conditions. Preliminary internal tests show a significant increase in torque throughout the rev range as well as a 13 percent improvement in fuel economy. And being a Honda, you can expect the new engines will run relatively clean. The company states that they will meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency LEV2-ULEV standards.

[Source: Honda Motor Company]

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