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Future engine displacements, that is ;)

Environment: Saab embraces downsizing

05 Oct 07 11:25
Jonathan Nash

Expect future Saabs to have smaller-capacity engines to reduce harmful emissions - and turbochargers to keep the power up.

Saab GB managing director Jonathan Nash said that the combination of hybrid powertrains and biofuels seemed to be the way ahead, but in the shorter term Saab was banking on turbocharged small-capacity flexfuel engines capable of running on E85 biofuel, regular unleaded or a mix of the two.

In Sweden the government was offering tax incentives to drivers of biofuel cars, and had introduced legislation encouraging filling stations to make E85 widely available. Biofuel was also taking off in France. But in Britain, he admitted, E85-compatible cars were usually running on unleaded because E85 was so hard to find.

'We have some difficulties in the UK and flexfuel isn't really a viable alternative to fossil fuels,' said Nash. 'But 90% of our sales in Sweden are flexfuel cars, and we're the biggest seller of high-blend ethanol cars in Europe. At the moment there's somewhat of a headwind because of a lack of government interest in the UK.'

He added: 'Unlike some others, our engines are producing more power when they're running on biofuel. It allows us to embrace what we call 'right sized' engines. There's no reason why you can't use turbocharging and biofuel to bring capacity down from the typical 2.0 litres to 1.4 or 1.6 litres, and thus bring emissions down.'

It's the same approach recently adopted by Renault, whose 1.2 TCE engine, a turbocharged 16-valve petrol four, has the power of a 1.4, the torque of a 1.6 and the economy of a 1.2. VW's super- and turbocharged TSI engines are the result of similar thinking.

Speaking at the launch of the new 9-3, Nash stressed that a sporty driver focus remained one of the key things that Saab stood for: 'We're going to keep that at the heart of the brand. It involves enjoyment when you're driving. We believe you shouldn't have to apologise when you use your car.'

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I think that this is great news! Why go where other car companies have gone in the past two decades. Bigger is not always better! It's the size of the turbo thrust that counts. HA!
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