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Vauxhall cleans up with engine range overhaul

Date: 01 May 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Vauxhall has revealed intentions to revamp its existing range of engines and drivetrains and replace them with a series of more efficient and cost-effective options over the coming years.

The firm revealed its powertrain plans to BusinessCar at European parent firm Opel's headquarters in Rüsselsheim last week, where it said it would launch "13 new engines by 2016".

Mike Ableson, vice president at General Motors Europe Engineering, continued: "We'll have an 80% new engine portfolio and a 20% new transmission portfolio by 2016."

He explained the aim is to cash-in on economies of scale by reducing the existing engine and chassis line-up and making greater use of a smaller technology base.

"We're going from 30 [platforms] in 2010 to 24 in 2014 to 14 in 2018. We have a target of 10 engine platforms by 2020 and we had around double that in 2009.

"By 2020, we estimate that technologies and improvements to our fleet will result in a 27% reduction in CO2 from today's levels."

Ableson also said Vauxhall would imminently announce "some great news" about emissions regulations for its cars, which may mean its range is well on the way to meeting Euro6 emissions standards across the board.

Three new "families" of petrol engines, dubbed SIDI, due for imminent launch are a three-cylinder in 1.0- or 1.5-litre guise and a pair of four-cylinder units available with 1.6- and 1.8-litre capacities and 2.0- and 2.5-litres respectively.

All will be turbocharged and are said to be significantly cleaner and more economical than Vauxhall's outgoing equivalent engines, with refinement a particular strong point. The new 1.6 can be ordered with the Cascada convertible already.

Stephan Schamschula, manager for gasoline engine system development at GME Europe, hinted that range extender or hybrid versions of those engines could also be in the offing and that the firm was considering the use of E85 ethanol in future versions.

"It's not a secret that GM is into alternative fuels. We're working on an E85 solution for Euro6. We need a solution that avoids the production of particulates."

Vauxhall also revealed its new 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine would be fitted to the Zafira Tourer MPV and cut its emissions to 109g/km. It is expected to be available in late summer 2013.

Gianmarco Boretto, programme manager and chief engineer for midsize diesel engines, confirmed that the new unit will replace a number of existing powerplants.

"[With this engine] we will be able to convert all our diesel engines from now into 2014 when Euro6 will become mandatory in Europe. From now until September 2015 it will be used in all diesel Vauxhalls.

"It will replace the lower power output 2.0-litre CDTi in cars like the Insignia and the Astra. It will also replace the 1.7 CDTi."

A series of new transmissions are also due between now and 2016, comprising 6- and 8-speed automatics, a five-speed manual and a 5-speed automated manual.

All are said to be more refined and efficient than existing gearboxes.