Chrysler Media has released detailed information on two of the new engines they’re integrating into the 2010-2014 lineup, thanks to Fiat. We already know about the 100hp, 4 cylinder, 1.4 liter Multiair engine available in the base Fiat 500, but what’s truly exciting is the turbo version putting out a whopping 170hp (and 170 lb.-ft. of torque)! That’s 45 more horses than the European Abarth and even 10 more than the Esseesse! They don’t mention it in the press release, but with the Abarth confirmed for the US, it’s obvious this will be the engine being used to power it.
The Multiair engine by Fiat is an amazing, award-winning piece of machinery. Chrysler describes what makes it unique:
Both versions of the 1.4-liter FIRE feature four valves per cylinder and incorporate state-of-the-art technology for Fully Variable-valve Actuation (FVVA), also known as Multiair. Fiat’s Multiair technology significantly reduces emissions, while improving fuel economy and power. This sophisticated electro-hydraulic variable-valve actuation technology delivers an increase in power up to 10 percent, an improvement in low rpm torque up to 15 percent and a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions up to 10 percent when compared with similar engines without the technology.
According to Fiat 500 USA, the power output of the turbo version (124hp/liter) is actually one of the highest power ratios in the world. It’s also the same engine in the recently unveiled MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde.
While 170hp might not seem like much compared to the 300+ you get from most modern sports cars, it’s the power to weight ratio that really matters. The tiny Fiat 500 comes in at a much lower curb weight than it’s competitors, like the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen GTI. The European Abarth weighs in at just 2282lbs! Which, if specced with the US engine would give it a power:weight of 1:13.4. To compare, the 2010 GTI is 1:16, and the 2011 Mini Cooper S is still only 1:14.7. Unfortunately all those extra features and safety equipment in the US Abarth will no doubt weight it down, but I hope it can still retain it’s edge over the other sporty hatchbacks.