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      02-05-2013, 01:59 PM   #1
rjc32000
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Consumer Reports slams "smaller" turbo engines

Video: CR slams "small" turbo engines

Good news at the end, CR singles out BMW's implementation of small turbo engines as delivering both improved economy and acceleration. Of course, I'd wager that many outside the US will snicker at the characterization of a 2L engine as "small."

Consumer Reports finds small turbo engines don't deliver on fuel economy claims
Feb 5, 2013 12:01 AM

Small turbocharged engines are marketed as delivering the power of a large engine, with the fuel economy of a smaller one. That's a tempting proposition, but our testing shows these small-displacement turbos are not delivering on the promises.
By now, we've tested many cars with these engines, and lots of competitors with traditional, naturally-aspirated powerplants, big and small. Generally, the turbocharged cars have slower acceleration and no better fuel economy than the models with bigger, conventional engines. Looking at EPA fuel-economy estimates (calculated based on laboratory tests), some of these cars' turbocharged engines seem to have an advantage. But we found those results don't match the findings from our own fuel-economy tests.
The latest example is the collection of EcoBoost Ford Fusions we tested, which come with small, direct-injection, turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The smallest one—a 1.6-liter producing 173 hp—is a $795 option over the basic conventional 2.5-liter four cylinder on Fusion SE models. But that car's 0-60 mph acceleration time trails most competitors, and its 25 mpg overall places it among the worst of the crop of recently-redesigned family sedans. The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima, all with conventional 2.4- or 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, get an additional 2, 5, and 6 mpg, respectively. And all accelerate more quickly.
The larger among Ford's EcoBoost four-cylinder engines, the turbocharged 231-hp, 2.0-liter, is billed as having the power of a V6 but delivering the fuel economy of a four-cylinder. However, our so-equipped Fusion Titanium returned 22 mpg (which pales against the 25 and 26 mpg we recorded for the best V6 family sedans), slower acceleration and reduced refinement compared to its V6-powered peers.
Another example is our tests of the Chevrolet Cruze. Our base Cruze had the 1.8-liter four-cylinder; our higher-end 1LT version came with the 1.4-liter turbo four cylinder. While the 1.4-liter feels marginally more powerful in daily driving, it was barely faster to 60 mph, and it got the same fuel economy as the larger engine—26 mpg overall.
Turbochargers pump extra air into the engine to deliver more power. But all engines have to be operated at a very specific air-to-fuel ratio. So this extra air has to be augmented with extra fuel, which may offset any savings from shrinking engine sizes.
One benefit to the turbocharged engines is an abundance of torque at low to mid rpm. In daily driving, this means a more effortless feeling of thrust with reduced need to downshift while climbing hills or when delivering the kind of moderate acceleration most drivers demand. That can make a car feel more responsive, even if its actual acceleration times from a standstill are slower. However, not all of these turbocharged models deliver that benefit. Many, especially those smaller 1.4- and 1.6-liter engines, still downshift frequently to keep up with traffic. And all but one of the tested cars have slower mid-range acceleration from 45-65 mph.
In contrast, BMW's turbocharged four-cylinder engines seem to deliver both good fuel economy and acceleration: The 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder contributes to 28 mpg overall in our last tested 328i sedan. It improved mileage only marginally in the 2013 X3 SUV compared to the six-cylinder 2011 X3 we tested, with essentially identical power and acceleration but somewhat comprised refinement. The 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder engine we've tested in Audis and Volkswagens usually return impressive mileage, though we haven't tested any identical model powered by two different engines for such a direct comparison.
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      02-05-2013, 02:21 PM   #2
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The real fuel economy will come when Americans start driving small 2 doors hatchbacks with a 1.0 diesel engine making 60 hp like in Europe.
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      02-05-2013, 02:25 PM   #3
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It's still kind of sad that BMW got praise for "marginally" improving fuel economy during the downsizing, but still, that's way above the norm and there's something to be said about that.

I've been whining about this as soon as I got my A4 2.0T in late 2010. The fuel economy I got was very slimly better than the 3.2 V6 loaners (and IMO that's due to ZF 8HP vs ZF 6HP, not 2.0T vs 3.2), and if I really drove aggressively, the 2.0T guzzled gas in ways I've never seen other cars do.
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      02-05-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdong View Post
It's still kind of sad that BMW got praise for "marginally" improving fuel economy during the downsizing, but still, that's way above the norm and there's something to be said about that.

I've been whining about this as soon as I got my A4 2.0T in late 2010. The fuel economy I got was very slimly better than the 3.2 V6 loaners (and IMO that's due to ZF 8HP vs ZF 6HP, not 2.0T vs 3.2), and if I really drove aggressively, the 2.0T guzzled gas in ways I've never seen other cars do.
Downsizing while offering more power/torque and improving acceleration. You are forgetting the other half of the equation.

The fact that the base 3(prior to the newly announced 320) does 0-60 in the mid 5's, 14 secs at 99+mph in the 1/4 is crazy. In 95-99 those were M3 stats.
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      02-05-2013, 02:40 PM   #5
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Are the N20s no faster? On paper they are 0.3-0.4s faster 0-100kmh.
So glad I have the 255PS 3.0L N52.
But they have better weight +weight distribution right.
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      02-05-2013, 02:47 PM   #6
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LOL . Thanks for the news but it's old news to me tbh.

I got a F20 5 door 1 series 114i(102BHP 1.6 litre turbo petrol) 6MT as a loaner and drove 300kms(180 miles) with it. Riding a bicycle felt faster with 5 persons inside and some luggage. I got 10L/100km as a result.

28.25MPG(UK) and 23.52MPG(US) which sucked terribly with this kind of NON performance(I maxed at 100mph at one time it would not go any mile faster! Heavy wind upfront)
Compare this to the same result when I drive on the cc with my 1M on the highway @ 120kmh(75mph) same MPG!!!!

Terrible engine(understatement of the year). Shame on you BMW! Al Gore lied. They all lie about everything.

Cheers
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      02-05-2013, 03:20 PM   #7
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The real fuel economy will come when Americans start driving small 2 doors hatchbacks with a 1.0 diesel engine making 60 hp like in Europe.
Yeah, that so isn't going to happen. Americans like their cars, and their cheeseburgers, far too much to downsize their automobiles.
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      02-05-2013, 03:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jamesons Viggen View Post
The fact that the base 3(prior to the newly announced 320) does 0-60 in the mid 5's, 14 secs at 99+mph in the 1/4 is crazy. In 95-99 those were M3 stats.
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      02-05-2013, 06:00 PM   #9
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Perfect. Fabulous article. Exactly what I think. This turbo craziness makes no sense. BTW, their 0-60mph is not like other mags.... they just mash it from idle, unless the brake-stressing starts in most publishers.
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      02-05-2013, 10:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesons Viggen
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdong View Post
It's still kind of sad that BMW got praise for "marginally" improving fuel economy during the downsizing, but still, that's way above the norm and there's something to be said about that.

I've been whining about this as soon as I got my A4 2.0T in late 2010. The fuel economy I got was very slimly better than the 3.2 V6 loaners (and IMO that's due to ZF 8HP vs ZF 6HP, not 2.0T vs 3.2), and if I really drove aggressively, the 2.0T guzzled gas in ways I've never seen other cars do.
Downsizing while offering more power/torque and improving acceleration. You are forgetting the other half of the equation.

The fact that the base 3(prior to the newly announced 320) does 0-60 in the mid 5's, 14 secs at 99+mph in the 1/4 is crazy. In 95-99 those were M3 stats.
I mean sure for BMW, both halves of the equation worked and I'm not criticizing BMW. Audi's downsize didn't work as well (very noticeable low end lag, craps out above 4500RPM), and you can see from their articles Ford's EcoBoosts are both slower and less fuel efficient than their competitors despite having class leading EPA numbers.
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      02-05-2013, 11:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
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The real fuel economy will come when Americans start driving small 2 doors hatchbacks with a 1.0 diesel engine making 60 hp like in Europe.
Like the Smart car?
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      02-05-2013, 11:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesons Viggen View Post
Downsizing while offering more power/torque and improving acceleration. You are forgetting the other half of the equation.

The fact that the base 3(prior to the newly announced 320) does 0-60 in the mid 5's, 14 secs at 99+mph in the 1/4 is crazy. In 95-99 those were M3 stats.
GREAT POINT! When driving on hwy at constant speed (turbo not working hard) they get way better mileage too.
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      02-05-2013, 11:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jamesons Viggen View Post
The fact that the base 3(prior to the newly announced 320) does 0-60 in the mid 5's, 14 secs at 99+mph in the 1/4 is crazy. In 95-99 those were M3 stats.
again
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      02-06-2013, 12:17 AM   #14
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The real fuel economy will come when Americans start driving small 2 doors hatchbacks with a 1.0 diesel engine making 60 hp like in Europe.
That will not happen until the cost of fuel in North America approaches Euro prices for gas and diesel. A federal fuel tax in the US would go a long way toward reducing the US federal deficit, but of course, current Senate/House leaders do not have the courage to advocate such a solution any time soon.
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      02-06-2013, 01:05 AM   #15
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I agree with the others the new 328 outperforms the previous 6 cyl in performance and fuel efficiency.

I always thought it was a bad decision by Ford to charge more for the more fuel efficient engines. I can't even imagine the debates on this forum if BMW actually charged more for a 328 than a 335 because it gets better MPG.
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      02-06-2013, 01:32 AM   #16
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Ford's pricing models are pretty wacky. I know a lot of people put off by the way Ford does their pricing, because every single engine option is a different price. Instead of doing one trim level with one engine, there are 2 or 3 engine options in some trim levels. It's pretty ridiculous.

I think the turbo-4 engines from Germany are a much different breed than from other countries, but BMW really made it exceptional. The power is much greater and the performance actually exists. I have yet to drive an American 4-cylinder that doesn't disappoint me. The Ford EcoBoost 2.0L is only pulling 0-60 in 6.9s an 1/4mile in 15.2s. Yay! Cool! It matches the Mercedes C250. But it's not the 5.6s 0-60 and 14.2s 1/4mile of the F30 N20.
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      02-06-2013, 01:55 AM   #17
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I agree with the others the new 328 outperforms the previous 6 cyl in performance and fuel efficiency.
Easily. I had an E90 325i with the 2.5 litre (Euro not USA) N52 for just over 7 years. Driving around the suburban street of my city, the car managed 13.5L/100 km, tank in, tank out - for years.

My new 328i, not even run in yet on the same streets at pretty much the same time of day/night ( the usual home, work, gym, family, friends etc) does 9L/100 km.

Not even the air conditioning (summer here now) affects fuel consumption and performance. I could feel it on the E90.
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      02-06-2013, 07:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesons Viggen View Post
Downsizing while offering more power/torque and improving acceleration. You are forgetting the other half of the equation.

The fact that the base 3(prior to the newly announced 320) does 0-60 in the mid 5's, 14 secs at 99+mph in the 1/4 is crazy. In 95-99 those were M3 stats.
The 'more torque' is false because higher torque at low rpm is still lower HP (since HP=torque*rev)
It just feels more powerful because the torque comes on more quickly.
Max HP is the only measure of power.
High torque at low RPM is good, as it means more HP than the NA at low revs, but I believe alot of these acceleration figures are fudged with launching and not from flooring the pedal, at which the turbos waste alot of time loading.
Just as diesels 'feel' fast because of high HP(torque) wrt. revs, turbos even more so because there is the 'punch' as boost comes on - but its momentary and does not pull constantly in the same way an NA does.
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      02-06-2013, 08:33 AM   #19
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That will not happen until the cost of fuel in North America approaches Euro prices for gas and diesel. A federal fuel tax in the US would go a long way toward reducing the US federal deficit, but of course, current Senate/House leaders do not have the courage to advocate such a solution any time soon.
Dont you people have The Smart Car down their? Tiny 2 door 2 or 3 cyl city car.
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      02-06-2013, 10:18 AM   #20
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The 'more torque' is false because higher torque at low rpm is still lower HP (since HP=torque*rev)
It just feels more powerful because the torque comes on more quickly.
Max HP is the only measure of power.
High torque at low RPM is good, as it means more HP than the NA at low revs, but I believe alot of these acceleration figures are fudged with launching and not from flooring the pedal, at which the turbos waste alot of time loading.
Just as diesels 'feel' fast because of high HP(torque) wrt. revs, turbos even more so because there is the 'punch' as boost comes on - but its momentary and does not pull constantly in the same way an NA does.
Look at dynos.

What you say does not apply here as the n20 makes more torque than the n52 at any and all rpms.

On my many dyno pulls with the n20, there was also little hp fall off all the way to 6700, it seemed to be within 10-15% of its peak. Considering the nearly 40whp advantage of n20 to n52, again, rpms do not matter if the n20 makes more power low or high.
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      02-06-2013, 10:43 AM   #21
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Like the Smart car?
Nobody drive that smart POS in Europe dude, it's too expensive for the size. Yes even for Europe this crap is small and laughed at. Think Peugeot (107, 208, 308...), Renault (Twingo, Clio, Megane...) type cars. Even VW (Polo, Golf). All are diesel and make 60 mpg+ combined, I mean in France especially since diesel is promoted and subsidized by gov.
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      02-06-2013, 10:51 AM   #22
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Nobody drive that smart POS in Europe dude, it's too expensive for the size. Yes even for Europe this crap is small and laughed at. Think Peugeot (107, 208, 308...), Renault (Twingo, Clio, Megane...) type cars. Even VW (Polo, Golf). All are diesel and make 60 mpg+ combined, I mean in France especially since diesel is promoted and subsidized by gov.
They are all over the place up here.
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