Editors Picks - Cars With The Best Rightsized Engines

Jek Ray Low
29 Jun 2020

In an ideal world, money, and the environment for that matter, will be of no object. This means that there simply will not be a “right-sized” engine, as you’ll purchase the car and engine combo that you prefer regardless of its configuration.

Unfortunately, utopia doesn’t exist. In the real world that we live in, fuel economy, carbon emissions and running costs take precedence over power and the visceral rumble of a big V8. Right-sizing means dodging potentially exorbitant fuel and tax costs to just keep these engines happy and well fed in the little red dot we call home. Car makers have just about perfected the art of “Right-Sizing” though, and here are a few examples!

4. Suzuki K10C

Capacity: 1.0 litre
Configuration: Inline 3

Suzuki’s new K10C engine started out life as a 4 banger. Reworked and rebalanced, the now-1.0 litre Inline 3, with its new BoosterJet Direct Injection technology, pushes out a healthy 109bhp, and 160Nm of torque, from between 1,700 to 4,000rpm.

Here's a Suzuki Swift with said engine!

Suzuki claims that the power levels of this compact powertrain can rival engines twice the capacity, and some of that can be attributed to having four valves per cylinder and a tiny turbo, allowing it to be both economical and responsive. Short port intake manifold and an integrated exhaust manifold further improves efficiency. Expect some lag at the start, but once you have built up boost pressure, you’ll experience a consistent pull from the tiny motor.

3. Hyundai-KIA Kappa II GDi

Capacity: 1.0 litre
Configuration: Inline 3

The second generation Kappa engines were launched in 2015. These motors are designed with laser-drilled injectors, that can more accurately spray fuel in the engine block to optimise the air-fuel ratio for a cleaner and more efficient bang.

Perhaps one of the best looking smallcars on our roads today?

The snail that hangs off the side of the engine comes with an electric wastegate, that can more precisely control the flow of air in and out of said power adder. The result is an increase in low-end torque and responsiveness, and improvements in fuel economy on heavier loads. In the Stonic, this powerplant is good for 120ps and 171Nm, with maximum torque available from a very low 1,500rpm, and power levels being consistent till 4,000rpm.

2. VW-Audi EA211

Capacity: 1.0 litre
Configuration: Inline 3

The EA211 first made an appearance in 2012. It has since been applied across the conglomerate’s portfolio in various states of tune. These engines come equipped with VW’s Turbo Fuel Stratified Injection (or TFSI for short) technology, that injects highly-pressurised fuel into the combustion chamber, creating a stratified charge for a higher compression ratio.

This means more power, with increased efficiency. In last-gen Audi A3 guise, this combination pushed out 115bhp, with only minimal turbo lag under 2,000 rpm. The engine hits peak power till around 3,500 rpm, only experiencing a minimal dip once you scream past 5,000 rpm.

This 3-cylinder is used across the group's product range, including cars like the Spanish SEAT Ibiza and its German cousin, the Volkswagen 

SEAT Ibiza

The fun-loving Audi Q2 also uses this engine, which matches its body weight well.

Audi Q2

1. Mercedes M282

Capacity: 1.3 litre
Configuration: Inline 4

The M282 first saw use in 2018, and was the result of engineering efforts with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. It is the successor to the older, and larger, M270 engine. It sports a key few improvements over the previous generation powerunits, which include low-friction cylinder walls and cylinder deactivation. A turbocharger with an electronic wastegate helps ensure the motor is fed just the right amount of air at all times, optimising throttle response and efficiency.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA

The compact engine sees overall power improvements of up to 11%, and power per litre by no less than 25%. It churns out 163hp and 250Nm of torque, the latter of which is available from 1,620rpm. Expect a buzz in the mid-range, though on full throttle, you’ll be rewarded with brisk acceleration.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon

Bonus Entry:
Mercedes M176/M177/M178

Capacity: 4.0 litre
Configuration: V8

Supercars have not been spared in the right-sizing movement. The days of big thirsty V8s and V12s are fading, and fast. Automakers are increasingly ditching these motors in favour of smaller capacity engines with power adders. The 4.0 litre twin turbo V8 replaces the once-ubiquitous 6.3 litre M156 found across the entire AMG range.

British Skin, German Heart... Sounds like a song from Morrissey...

The M176 can be found in non-AMG versions of big Benzes. The M177 is reserved for the full-fat AMG models, as well as in a smattering of Aston Martin cars. The M178 is a minor revision of the M177, and is reserved for use exclusively in the automaker’s flagship supercar, also in various states of tune depending on the variant

In a country with sky-high fuel prices, it makes sense that dealers are offering vehicles that are frugal. Small capacity but heavily turbocharged engines have come a really long way since the early days, with modern units suffering from less lag and more efficiency than their forebearers. However, there really is no replacement for displacement; right-sized engines may not do so well under heavy loads. They can be noisier, and perhaps even less efficient than a similar car equipped with a larger, but less stressed, engine. Perhaps once electric turbochargers become the norm, can such a con be eliminated.

Thinking of a car with a right-sized engine? Browse through Carousell's listings to find your ideal car today!

#Rightsizing #Engines #Singapore #EDITORSPICKS #Motoring #Autos #MercedesBenz #CLA #AClass #Saloon #Audi #AudiA3 #AudiQ2 #SEATIbiza #Volkswagen #VolkswagenPolo #SEAT #VW #SuzukiSwift #Suzuki #KIA #SG #AstonMartin

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