GM Unveils New Powertrain Portfolio In Europe|

GM Unveils New Powertrain Portfolio in Europe

Just the Facts:
  • GM launchs a major powertrain overhaul in Europe, featuring three new engine families and 13 new engines by 2016.
  • A new generation of "downsized" 1.6-liter gasoline and diesel engines are at the center of the GM revamp.
  • Although designed in Europe and built in Hungary, GM's powertrains have been planned to comply with global emissions regulations, so they are likely to show up in U.S. models as well over time, GM said.

DUDENHOFEN, Germany — General Motors is spicing up its lineup in Europe with a new generation of engines and transmissions.

Although designed in Europe and built in Hungary, GM's powertrains have been planned to comply with global emissions regulations, so they are likely to show up in U.S. models as well over time, GM said. It's too early to go into specifics as to which engine/transmission would appear where and when, Edmunds was told at the event here.

In the U.S., however, it seems a safe bet to say that the Chevrolet brand would be a front runner to get these new-tech powertrains. They include a pair of all-new 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engines — one gasoline, one diesel. The engines deliver class-leading performance, GM says.

The 1.6-liter engines will be joined by new-generation five- and six-speed gearboxes as well as, in the longer term, a completely new eight-speed automatic.

At a powertrain conference at GM's Dudenhofen R&D center, engineers admitted that its current technology in the class wasn't always up with the best.

Mike Ableson, vice president of General Motors Europe Engineering, said, however, that the powertrain renewal marks "a big step forward."

GM's all-new four-cylinder Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) engine is a 1.6-liter turbo that offers up to 30 percent more power and torque than its processor. Economy and C02 emissions improve by 13 percent.

It comes in two forms, as the Eco Turbo (170 horsepower) already seen in GM's stylish Opel/Vauxhall Cascada convertible in Europe, while the Performance Turbo offers a strong 200 hp, plus overboost function in models like the fun and racy Astra GTC OPC hatchback.

GM has previously collaborated with Fiat and Isuzu with diesel engines in Europe but the new 1.6 CDTI diesel is all GM's own work and another clean sheet design, with low noise and vibration another top priority.

Core engineering work took place at GM's powertrain engineering center in Turin, Italy, but in the U.S., GM's R&D center in Warren, Michigan, was one of several in the GM global group to provide technical support.

GM is to build both gas and diesel engines side-by-side at its "Flex" manufacturing plant in Hungary.

Before the end of the year, a new small-capacity gasoline engine (rumored to be a 1.0-liter three-cylinder for the Adam city car) will also bow.

GM is overhauling its transmission family too, improving shift feel and efficiency, and helping to reduce overall fuel consumption. By 2016, 20 percent of its transmission portfolio will be new.

Along with new five- and six-speed manual shift gearboxes, GM is working on an improved six-speed auto and all-new eight-speed automatic that can accept huge torque loads of up to 370 pound-feet.

Continuously variable (CVT) and sporty dual-clutch transmissions are included in GM's thinking as well, albeit in relatively small numbers.

GM is also drastically downsizing its engineering footprint. At the presentation it showed a slide in which 30 global architectures will be reduced to 14 by 2018.

The presentation also comes in the same week that GM confirmed its Bochum plant building Opels will close in late 2014.

Edmunds says: GM gets up to speed with these new and improved engines and transmissions.

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