July 25, 2007 Don’t count out the petrol engine just yet according to motoring giant Mercedes-Benz, which has unveiled a new gasoline engine offering the high torque and fuel economy of a diesel together with extremely clean emissions. The company is highly optimistic, calling it “the future of the gasoline engine.” The Mercedes-Benz DiesOtto powertrain is a further development of the spark-ignition engine and includes features such as direct gasoline injection, turbocharging, variable valve timing and variable compression and it will be used in conjunction with a hybrid integrated starter/generator module. At its core lies the controlled auto ignition, a highly efficient combustion process similar to that of a diesel. The result is an 1800cc four-cylinder motor producing 238 bhp (175 kW) with torque of 400 nm while delivering 6 l/100 km (47 UK mpg, 40 US mpg) in an S-class.

Optimising the internal combustion engine is one of the milestones on the Mercedes-Benz roadmap for sustainable mobility.

The company’s powerful and economical BLUETEC diesel engine diesel has already been available in the US in the E-Class since 2006, and it will also become available in Europe from the end of this year.

The E 300 BLUETEC will be by far the cleanest diesel in its class, and will meet the requirements of the EU5 exhaust emission standards in full.

"Our next goal will now be to make the gasoline engine as economical as a diesel. All the preconditions for this are provided by our DiesOtto concept, which incorporates the foremost strengths of both the gasoline engine and diesel engine," says Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler, Head of Group Research & Advanced Engineering Vehicle and Powertrain; Chief Environmental Officer of DaimlerChrysler.

The result of this " marriage " is a four-cylinder unit with a displacement of just 1.8 litres, which combines the strengths of the low-emission gasoline engine with the fuel economy of a diesel.

Despite its considerably reduced displacement – downsizing is one of the major factors for achieving a lower fuel consumption – this compact power unit delivers superior performance together with refinement at the level of the luxury class.

An output of 175 kW/238 hp and a maximum torque of 400 newton metres are achieved together with the hybridisation a fuel consumption of less than six litres of gasoline per 100 kilometres. This figure by no means relates to a small or compact car, but to a vehicle the size of the current S-Class, with the level of comfort and safety that is typical of a Mercedes.

" In line with the worldwide success of today's diesel engine, vehicles equipped with gasoline engines will continue to have a long-term attraction for many customers and in many markets. Accordingly we are giving our attention to both engine types – including a full hybrid option for diesel and gasoline vehicles, " says Prof. Kohler. Mercedes-Benz is working on its DiesOtto concept with corresponding emphasis.

Its key technological features are as follows:

* Downsizing with fewer cylinders and a smaller displacement * Turbocharging for superior performance * Direct gasoline injection as a further fuel economy measure * Controlled auto ignition, a combustion process similar to that of a diesel * Variable valve control * A variable compression ratio leading to even better fuel economy and, depending on customer needs and the type of operation, * A hybrid module with an integrated starter/generator, which makes the drive unit even more economical.

When starting and under full load, the fuel/air mixture is ignited by a spark plug, as in a conventional spark-ignition engine (homogeneous combustion). The controlled auto ignition to which the DiesOtto automatically reverts within its working cycle occurs under partial load conditions, i.e. at low and medium engine speeds. The result is the very low nitrogen oxide emissions of homogeneous combustion at reduced reaction temperatures. All further emissions control in the DiesOtto engine is by means of a standard three-way catalytic converter. A highly efficient engine management and control system has also been realised to combine the individual sub-systems into a drive concept.

The current prospects for the future of the internal combustion engine reveal its great potential, and show that the new drive concept is a feasible proposition in the mid-term according to Benz. Some of the intermediate solutions incorporated, e.g. direct gasoline injection, are already in series production at Mercedes-Benz. Others will be gradually integrated into series-production engines until the overall solution has been realised.

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