Ford’s big story for 2012 was less about a car launch and more about a tiny 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine that offered credit-crunch-busting economy and zippy performance.
This miniscule three-cylinder engine is small enough to sit on an A4 sheet of paper, yet packs the sort of punch that you would expect from a far larger unit.
It is impressive enough to have won several awards – even though it has only been available this year, and just in Europe – perhaps the most significant of which was being named the 2012 ‘International Engine of the Year’, as well as ‘Best New Engine’ and ‘Best Engine Under 1.0-litre’, at the International Engine of the Year awards.
Joe Bakaj, Ford global powertrain vice president, said: “We set the bar incredibly high when we started to design this engine. We wanted to deliver eye-popping fuel economy, surprising performance, quietness and refinement – and all from a very small, three-cylinder engine. The team responded to this challenge with some really exciting innovation and the result is a game-changer for petrol engines globally.”
The popularity of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost with judges saw it receive 28 per cent more points than its closest rival, as well as the highest points total of any engine in the competition’s history.
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost uses low-inertia turbos to deliver power quickly when the throttle is opened from low rpm, and rapidly builds up to high power – at turbine speeds of up to 248,000rpm.
Further innovations include an exhaust manifold cast into the cylinder head, lowering the temperature of exhaust gases to enable the optimum fuel-to-air ratio across a wider rev band. A cast iron block warms the engine more quickly than a conventional aluminium block, to cut the amount of warm-up energy required by 50 per cent, and thus cut fuel consumption.
The two main engine drive belts are immersed in oil to deliver a quieter, more efficient engine, while Ford engineers have also offset the engine configuration by deliberately ‘unbalancing’ the flywheel and pulley, instead of adding energy-draining balancer shafts.
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is currently available in two states of tune: a 100HP version that delivers 58.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 109g/km, and a 125HP model that returns 56.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 114g/km.