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by Tim Beissmann

Opel has revealed more details of its new powertrain family, announcing performance figures for its new turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol family as well as plans for the introduction of an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The all-new 1.6 SIDI (spark ignition direct injection) Turbo four-cylinder petrol engine will be available initially in two states of tune.

The efficiency focused Eco Turbo produces 125kW of power (between 4250-6000rpm) and 280Nm of torque (1650-4250rpm), while the sportier Performance Turbo ups the totals to 147kW (4700-5500rpm) and 300Nm (1750-4700rpm) respectively.

Opel says the new engines offer up to 30 per cent more power and torque than the engines they replace, are 13 per cent more fuel efficient and cleaner-emitting, and claim class-leading refinement and noise levels.

The Opel Cascada convertible will be the first model to gain the 1.6 SIDI Turbo motor – which will be built at the company’s powertrain plant in Szentgotthard, Hungary – ahead of its rollout across other models in the line-up.

The 1.6 SIDI Turbo is one of three new engine families that will comprise 13 new engines and will power 80 per cent of Opel’s vehicle range by 2016.

Opel confirmed the details of the first engine from its new all-aluminium 1.6 CDTI four-cylinder diesel family in January. The 100kW/320Nm unit consumes just 4.1 litres per 100km on the combined cycle when powering the Opel Zafira Tourer people-mover, and will hit sub-4.0L/100km figures in smaller models.

The 1.6-litre duo will be joined at the end of this year by a new “small-displacement [petrol] engine family” – a circa-1.0-litre three-cylinder unit has been rumoured – for the brand’s city-sized and compact cars.

A range of new manual and automatic transmission will complement the engines.

Opel has already invested 50 million euros ($62 million) in upgrading its existing five- and six-speed manual transmissions and is currently rolling them out into Adam, Antara, Astra, Corsa, Insignia, Meriva, Mokka and Zafira models with engines exceeding 130Nm.

An all-new six-speed manual will be introduced into the brand’s sub-compact and small models powered by engines with up to 235Nm. Opel says the transmission’s dry weight of 37kg makes it 15 per cent lighter than its predecessor, and promises improved efficiency and CO2 performance and smoother shift quality.

Adam and Corsa models will also benefit from a new automated manual transmission. Developed from Opel’s next-generation five-speed manual, the automated gearbox uses an electro-hydraulic clutch actuator, which eliminates the need for a clutch pedal, allowing the car to be driven like an automatic.

Opel has also revealed the first details of an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission destined for its future flagship models. The eight-speed unit – which will have a maximum torque rating of 500Nm and feature stop-start functionality – promises to offer efficiency gains of up to three per cent over a standard six-speed, as well as faster and more sophisticated shifts.

The details come as Opel’s parent company General Motors announced a four billion euro ($4.95 billion) investment into the European division over the next four years, shoring up its long-term future.




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