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Old 08-08-2018   #16
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Quote Originally Posted by puntofan01 View Post
The idea of using a smaller turbo engine instead of a larger N/A 1 for better economy is a genuinely good 1. The trouble is that the manufacturers took it way too far, resulting in cars with engines that whilst capable enough of moving the car, were too overworked to give good economy. A prime example being a 1 litre, 3 cylinder turbo Mondeo. If the manufacturers had kept things sensible, then it would've been a good concept.
Did you actually watch the video? He is an actual engineer, I think he knows a little bit more about engines and efficiency than you do. Small engines with turbos was a terrible idea for efficiency and the results bear it out, people with 1.2s get better fuel economy than most twinair drivers.
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Old 08-08-2018   #17
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Quote Originally Posted by puntofan01 View Post
The idea of using a smaller turbo engine instead of a larger N/A 1 for better economy is a genuinely good 1.
No it isn't. It's a good way of getting better performance out of a a small engine, and it's one way of getting decent emissions & mpg figures under the old and now discredited testing regime, but it's not good for real world economy. A carefully driven 1.2 will take you a lot further than a carefully driven TA on a tank of fuel.

Manufacturers have put their emphasis on designing for performance, not economy, because that's what most buyers want and it's what sells cars. The TA is a prime example of that; it gives impressive performance for its capacity, but an engine for the dedicated eco driver it most certainly isn't.
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Old 08-08-2018   #18
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Quote Originally Posted by 306maxi View Post
Did you actually watch the video? He is an actual engineer, I think he knows a little bit more about engines and efficiency than you do. Small engines with turbos was a terrible idea for efficiency and the results bear it out, people with 1.2s get better fuel economy than most twinair drivers.


Maybe it would have been better to have small engines turbos, if they didnít cater to the lowest common denominator. As they have to make a car they will survive any manor of mechanical mistreatment.

If they were able to make an engine that had a higher tolerances and better tuning it would likely be far better in terms of economy, however would be far more highly strung and therefore likely to break down if mistreated.

Itís this very reason that supercars tend to get far better economy figures for their relative engine size than small mass market engines. A supercar is far less tolerant of a bad driver but far more effective and efficient in the way it creates power.

So the twinair actually has the potential to be a good and very efficient engine, it is those who drive them who are the problem not saying anyone on here is the problem, but 90 year old Dorris who rides he clutch and drives everywhere in 2nd gear at 20mph and alike who have to expect a certain level of performance and robustness, that means fiat have to release a car to the mass market that isnít as good as it could be. So as highlighted in the video, they have to put things in to work around problems caused by the turbo and small engine size (such as deliberate over fueling) where as with a high (more expensive) level of refinement the engine wouldnít need these work arounds.

But then who would pay £30,000 for a 900cc two cylinder 100hp tiny hatch back ?

I suspect the reason for the Ferrari and Maserati as well as the biposto editions of the 500 with the 1.4 multiair with much higher levels of power, help fiat refine and research better tuning set ups on their usually detuned engines. They are more highly strung cars and only bought by certain types of people not the general public.
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Old 08-08-2018   #19
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Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post
No it isn't. It's a good way of getting better performance out of a a small engine, and it's one way of getting decent emissions & mpg figures under the old and now discredited testing regime, but it's not good for real world economy. A carefully driven 1.2 will take you a lot further than a carefully driven TA on a tank of fuel.

Manufacturers have put their emphasis on designing for performance, not economy, because that's what most buyers want and it's what sells cars. The TA is a prime example of that; it gives impressive performance for its capacity, but an engine for the dedicated eco driver it most certainly isn't.
Just to build on what you said, the twinair was sold as an eco engine, it isnít an eco engine.
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Old 08-08-2018   #20
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Quote Originally Posted by AndyRKett View Post
Maybe it would have been better to have small engines turbos, if they didnít cater to the lowest common denominator. As they have to make a car they will survive any manor of mechanical mistreatment.

If they were able to make an engine that had a higher tolerances and better tuning it would likely be far better in terms of economy, however would be far more highly strung and therefore likely to break down if mistreated.

Itís this very reason that supercars tend to get far better economy figures for their relative engine size than small mass market engines. A supercar is far less tolerant of a bad driver but far more effective and efficient in the way it creates power.

So the twinair actually has the potential to be a good and very efficient engine, it is those who drive them who are the problem not saying anyone on here is the problem, but 90 year old Dorris who rides he clutch and drives everywhere in 2nd gear at 20mph and alike who have to expect a certain level of performance and robustness, that means fiat have to release a car to the mass market that isnít as good as it could be. So as highlighted in the video, they have to put things in to work around problems caused by the turbo and small engine size (such as deliberate over fueling) where as with a high (more expensive) level of refinement the engine wouldnít need these work arounds.

But then who would pay £30,000 for a 900cc two cylinder 100hp tiny hatch back ?

I suspect the reason for the Ferrari and Maserati as well as the biposto editions of the 500 with the 1.4 multiair with much higher levels of power, help fiat refine and research better tuning set ups on their usually detuned engines. They are more highly strung cars and only bought by certain types of people not the general public.
While yes, it is peopleís fault somewhat, as the video shows, you end up with a lot of performance that you canít use without burning a lot of fuel.
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Old 08-08-2018   #21
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Quote Originally Posted by 306maxi View Post
While yes, it is peopleís fault somewhat, as the video shows, you end up with a lot of performance that you canít use without burning a lot of fuel.


Indeed, if you want power out you have to put the same amount of fuel in, the very act of burning the fuel has not yielded any significant improvements in the last 100 years, any gains have been modest at best.

With small engines most of he gains come from the engine being physically smaller hence less losses in number of moving parts and reduced friction.

These days the design of he cylinder can be carefully made on computer and the most efficient designs planned out before a piece of metal is cast, the next major leap would only come from a radical redesign of the internal combustion engine, or as the manufacturers are realising a switch to electric is far more efficient.
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Old 08-08-2018   #22
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Quote Originally Posted by AndyRKett View Post
Indeed, if you want power out you have to put the same amount of fuel in, the very act of burning the fuel has not yielded any significant improvements in the last 100 years, any gains have been modest at best.

With small engines most of he gains come from the engine being physically smaller hence less losses in number of moving parts and reduced friction.

These days the design of he cylinder can be carefully made on computer and the most efficient designs planned out before a piece of metal is cast, the next major leap would only come from a radical redesign of the internal combustion engine, or as the manufacturers are realising a switch to electric is far more efficient.
Watch the video, you can actually get better economy by using a bigger engine thatís a bit less stressed as it doesnít have to enrich the air to fuel mixture to prevent detonation as much in typical use cases.
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Old 08-08-2018   #23
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Quote Originally Posted by 306maxi View Post
Watch the video, you can actually get better economy by using a bigger engine that’s a bit less stressed as it doesn’t have to enrich the air to fuel mixture to prevent detonation as much in typical use cases.
But you then have frictional increases etc to overcome. The twin air if kept below boosting point should match or beat the 1.2 - but the gearing does not encourage this.

A small engine at 20% of performance will be better than a larger engine - but a smaller engine at 40% is likely to use more than a larger engine at 20%. Its down to the driver.

Their is still lots of way to improve petrol engines, variable compression springs to mind.

My xsr is capable of 55mpg if driven like a granny, but I can also manage 8 mpg if I am driving like a a loon.
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Last edited by lsgraham_uk; 08-08-2018 at 09:33.
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Old 08-08-2018   #24
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Quote Originally Posted by 306maxi View Post
Watch the video, you can actually get better economy by using a bigger engine thatís a bit less stressed as it doesnít have to enrich the air to fuel mixture to prevent detonation as much in typical use cases.


I did watch the video. With better engineering and more money spent you could overcome the problems such as pre-detonation and knock, when dealing. With small engine mass market cars it doesnít make any commercial sense to chase these problems when the real goal is to get high figures from the standardised economy tests which are done at low loads in a controlled environment.

Essentially the small turbo engine is great for passing these tests but naff all use in terms of economy in the real world.

If you want a small engine with great economy and a turbo the best engine fiat have, (and have made for many years) is the 1.3 multijet one of their most robust engines and will easily get 60+ mpg all day every day no matter what you throw at it.


If there was any benefit to be had then I could see that they would try to fix the inherent problems, but given the looming electric revolution thatís going to happen in the next few years, the R&D money would be and is being spent elsewhere now.
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Old 08-08-2018   #25
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

[QUOTE=AndyRKett;

If you want a small engine with great economy and a turbo the best engine fiat have, (and have made for many years) is the 1.3 multijet one of their most robust engines and will easily get 60+ mpg all day every day no matter what you throw at it.
[/QUOTE]


Except short journeys on cold days, that engine chucked out no heat for at least 4 miles, too damn efficient for its own good.

Must point out I only managed 45mpg average with a best of 60 when I had it in my grande Punto. Sadly they discontinued the 6 speed just as I ordered.
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Old 08-08-2018   #26
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Quote Originally Posted by AndyRKett View Post
Indeed, if you want power out you have to put the same amount of fuel in, the very act of burning the fuel has not yielded any significant improvements in the last 100 years, any gains have been modest at best.

With small engines most of he gains come from the engine being physically smaller hence less losses in number of moving parts and reduced friction.




Reducing friction is the simplest way of gaining a modest improvement in efficiency. Fiat exploited this with the eco Panda in 2009 by moving to low rolling resistance tyres and thinner oil ; the two taken together were just enough to enable the car to make the 119g/km cut, allowing the car to just squeeze into what was then the £35 RFL band.
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Old 08-08-2018   #27
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Quote Originally Posted by 306maxi View Post
Just to build on what you said, the twinair was sold as an eco engine, it isn’t an eco engine.
That, in a nutshell, is perhaps the best single-sentence answer to the question posed in the thread title.

Although the real truth about this engine was out there soon after launch for anyone who took the trouble to research it, anyone buying it as an eco choice based solely on Fiat's marketing literature and published economy figures would, IMO, have a valid claim for misrepresentation.
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Old 08-08-2018   #28
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Perhaps not an Eco engine as such but it's not exactly a guzzler either and considering the performance (relatively) it's pretty economical I think, currently over 50mpg on mine. There's not many petrol cars/engines that are as characterful and fun to drive that also achieve over 50mpg under normal urban conditions
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Old 08-08-2018   #29
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Quote Originally Posted by Mercky View Post
Perhaps not an Eco engine as such but it's not exactly a guzzler either and considering the performance (relatively) it's pretty economical I think, currently over 50mpg on mine.

Itís no gas guzzler, youíre right, but that said itís not really much better than cars built 20-30 years ago that are the same size.

The very old Citroen AX diesel built in the 1980ís could achieve 100mpg

A 1990s petrol fiesta could be eeked out to 50mpg.

The truth is that these cars are not really anymore economical than they where years ago, these days itís their ability to pass emissions standards which is being sold to the general public as an improvement in economy.

All cars with an engine pollute, your average paying customer is not going to draw a distinction between 119kg/km versus 150kg/km of CO2, however tell them that they will get 5mpg more then they are more motivated to pick your car. Also by getting he CO2 figures down it changed the car tax bracket so again another reason to buy the car when really in the real world the car was no more economical than any other, in this case it is purely the engine technology used, helped the car look good on paper.
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Old 08-08-2018   #30
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Re: Why Twinair never really worked

Any turbocharged engine is more efficient than a naturally-aspirated engine of the same capacity. Basic thermodynamics! The turbocharger or supercharger ensures volumetric efficiency (filling the cylinders completely) and this is particularly apparent when comparing our 1.4 Lounge with my 1.4 Abarth. Driving the Abarth so that the turbocharger is boosting only slightly, I can make the same trip as in the Lounge, but with one less litre used per 100km.

Andy made mention of supercar engines being efficient. I think that’s particularly hilarious. In the case of the Lamborghini Gallardo’s non-Turbo 5L V10 (for example), it’s extremely inefficient! Useful torque is produced over a narrow range from 4000 to 6000RPM - accessible when climbing a hill in 2nd gear, for example. At 2000RPM the engine struggles to pull the skin off a rice pudding, which equates to many driving conditions in 4th, 5th, and 6th gear - so it has to be kept ‘on the boil’ in low gears. The only time it might be efficient is if cruising at 4000RPM in 6th - so 100mph+, in which it might use a similar amount of fuel to a ‘normal’ car travelling at 100mph. But with too many cylinders and poor volumetric efficiency, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Overall average economy is in the region of 12mpg. I imagine driving an F1 car on the road would be broadly similar.

My Mercedes CLS had an even larger engine (5.5L V8) but was a lot more economical, 35mpg was achievable on trips and 26mpg as an overall average. Probably because it only had 392bhp and therefore excellent low-RPM torque. 100Nm was available at idle speed!

The reason the 500 with 1.2 is economical is, in my opinion, because it is tuned for a good spread of torque at 1500-3000RPM when engine and transmission frictional losses are low. The gearing exploits this torque to move the 900kg vehicle around easily at low speeds, even in high gears. The 69bhp allows for a top speed around 100mph. Attempting to cruise at 100mph would be difficult and inefficient.

The reason the Gallardo with 5.0 is uneconomical is, in my opinion, because it is tuned for the maximum possible power at 8400RPM when frictional losses are high. The gearing exploits this high RPM and is therefore less useful at moving the 1700kg vehicle around at low speeds. The 520bhp allows for a top speed around 200mph. Attempting to cruise at 100mph would be easy and relatively efficient.

Personally I feel there’s nothing wrong with the TwinAir apart from the ridiculous claims made for it. Similarly unrealistic claims were made for Alfa Romeo’s 1.4 MultiAir.

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