Fiat 875-cc TwinAir named International Engine of the Year

Fiat 875-cc TwinAir engine

The votes have been tallied and Fiat's turbocharged 875-cc TwinAir two-cylinder engine has captured the title of Best New Engine of 2011, Green Engine of the Year, Sub 1.0-liter Engine of the Year and even the big one: International Engine of the Year, a first for Fiat.

It's only the second time – the first being Toyota's 1.0-liter VVT-i engine way back in 1999 – that a 1.0-liter or smaller engine has earned the title of International Engine of the Year. Given how complex the TwinAir mill is, who better to describe this frugal motor than its program manager, Gianni Mastrangelo:
We wanted an engine to fully demonstrate our downsizing capabilities and we needed a displacement that could fully exploit our MultiAir system. We concluded that a two-cylinder, 875-cc setup with a turbo was capable of realizing all our development targets. There were lots of problems to be solved during this project, keeping in mind that this architecture was new. The most important challenge to overcome was integrating the MultiAir system within the two-cylinder activation unit. Plus, we wanted the NVH of the TwinAir to be at least as good as that of a four-cylinder engine.
The TwinAir crushed the competition (372 points), beating out the ever-popular Volkswagen 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger (346 points), which was bidding for its third consecutive win, by 26 points. Congrats to Fiat!

[Source: International Engine of the Year]
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Fiat's diminutive 875cc, two-cylinder is judged to be world's finest engine by a jury of 76 international motoring journalists
Downsized, economical internal combustion engines more popular and 'greener' than hybrid and electrical powertrains
Ferrari contributes to the Italian domination: Fiat and Ferrari take home 6 of the 12 Awards!

The results of the 2011 International Engine of the Year Awards have today been announced at Engine Expo in Stuttgart, Germany. The global jury, consisting of some of the world's most respected and popular motoring journalists, voted Fiat's innovative and diminutive 875cc two-cylinder TwinAir the greatest automotive engine available today! The tiny turbocharged engine impressed judges with its extremely low emissions, high fuel economy and impressive power of 85bhp. The unit can be found powering Fiat's hugely fashionable '500' model.

Dean Slavnich, editor of Engine Technology International and co-chairman of the International Engine of the Year Awards, says: "Fiat has now produced one of the all-time great engines. Who would have thought that a two-cylinder unit could have won the International Engine of the Year title when we launched the Awards in 1999? Its triumph is a clear signal that less is more: people want low-emission, fuel-efficient yet powerful engines, and just two cylinders certainly seems to provide a comprehensive solution!"

Indeed, the TwinAir engine not only managed to scoop the overall International Engine of the Year title, but it was also victorious in the Best New Engine, Best Sub 1-litre, and Best Green Engine categories, even beating zero-emission pure electric vehicle engines from Nissan and Mitsubishi in the latter category.

Joining Fiat in its success was compatriot and stablemate Ferrari, the judges finding it hard not to be impressed by the Italian car maker's mighty new 570bhp, 4.5-litre V8 engine as featured in the 458 Italia. This wonderful and potent powerplant scooped both 'Best Performance Engine' and 'Above 4-litre' category trophies.

But it was not just the Italian manufacturers who tasted success: BMW is always dominant in the Awards and 2011 has been no exception. The German marque bagged four category wins, including the '3-litre to 4-litre' category for its 4-litre V8 found in the M3; the '2.5-litre to 3-litre' category for its 3-litre DI Twin Turbo fitted across much of its range; the '1.8-litre to 2-litre' category for its 2-litre Twin Turbo diesel engine found in the 123d and X1; and the '1.4-litre to 1.8-litre' category for its 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine co-developed with PSA Peugeot Citroën, which also scooped the same Award.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen's 1.4-litre TSI Twincharger engine, which won the overall International Engine of the Year title in both 2009 and 2010, once again defended its crown in the '1-litre to 1.4-litre' category.

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