Fiat Group was one of the first manufacturers to adopt what has become the increasingly common practice of improving official fuel economy and CO2 emissions by creating a small forced-induction engine which uses fuel at a modest rate when the turbocharger isn't operating but produces similar power to a much larger unit when it is. In 2010, it has taken the idea a stage further by introducing various versions the 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engine to the Punto Evo and Alfa Romeo MiTo ranges.
In the Geneva Auto Show to launch a new engine technology which could ultimately be as important as the common rail diesel technology it invented 15 years ago. Dubbed MultiAir, the hydraulically-actuated variable valve timing (VVT) technology was first announced as a concept two years ago, and offers a more controllable flow of air during the combustion cycle in comparison with mechanical VVT systems. Vastly reduced fuel consumption and emmissions plus significantly more power are claimed, and the technology is even more effective when used with a supercharger or a diesel engine.
Fiat claims Multiair is a fundamental breakthrough in petrol engine design that will dramatically cut fuel consumption, as well as significantly boosting power and torque, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by between 10 and 25 percent, and up to a 60 percent reduction in other engine pollutants.
This higher output will allow Fiat to replace larger engines with smaller, more efficient ones, and the company's 1.0 liter and 1.4 liter engines will be the first to get the new technology, along with a new 900cc twin cylinder engine.
Unlike the common rail diesel technology, which it sold to Bosch during a financial crisis, and has regreted ever since, FIAT will not be relinquishing ownership of the new Multiair system, having announced it will license it to other manufacturers or provide entire engines.