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Opel comes out fighting with feisty diesel

Power on: Opel’s new 1.6-litre CDTi diesel engine can match the performance of most 2.0-litre diesels.

Welcome good news from Opel as 101kW diesel engine sets 1.6-litre benchmarks

Opel logo17 Jan 2013

By RON HAMMERTON

OPEL has revealed one of the world’s most powerful 1.6-litre turbo diesel production engines that it says not only pumps out 101kW of power and 320Nm of torque but also meets Euro 6 emissions regulations and sets a new benchmark for refinement.

The 1.6 CDTi engine replaces the current 1.7-litre unit and will be made in Hungary alongside new petrol engines by General Motors’ embattled European arm.

In its most powerful form, the Opel engine pips Renault’s benchmark 97kW/320Nm 1.6-litre Energy DCi launched in Scenic in Europe in 2011.

It also has almost the same power and as much torque as the bigger 2.0-litre unit offered by rival Volkswagen in its 103kW/320Nm Golf TDI, while outpacing the German brand’s 77kW/250Nm 1.6-litre engine offered in the entry level diesel Golf.

Opel Australia is yet to say if the engine will make it to Australia where the only Opel diesel on offer so far is the 2.0-litre CDTi in Astra (121kW/350Nm) and Insignia (118kW/350Nm).

A company spokesperson said Opel had yet to announce which specific models the engine would appear in, and until then, Opel Australia could not say which local models were likely to get it.

 center imageLeft: Opel Mokka.

Opel says the new 1.6 will not only replace the 1.7-litre diesel also replace some of the lower-power 2.0-litre diesel applications, and will available in a variety of power outputs across a range of models.

A likely contender for the engine in Australia is Opel’s Mokka compact SUV, which is due to be launched locally in the second half of this year.

In Europe, Mokka has been launched with the 1.7-litre diesel, but as Opel says that engine will make way for the new 1.6 unit, it could be on the cards.

The new diesel follows the introduction in Europe of a fresh 1.6-litre direct-injected Ecotec petrol four-cylinder engine as Opel and its British Vauxhall partner renew their powertrain line-up with downsized engines.

Opel says it will offer 13 new powertrains by 2016 as it rolls out 23 new models in the same time frame.

The Frankfurt based company says the new diesel was an in-house collaboration by engineers in Germany, the United States and Italy, meaning it had nothing to do with its previous diesel partner VM Motori.

The Italian input came from GM’s diesel powertrain centre in Turin, where the American company once had an engineering joint venture with Fiat.

The engine is the first GM diesel to comply with the strict Euro 6 emissions regulations coming into force in Europe, employing a closed-loop combustion process.

The engine features an aluminium block to reduce weight, along with what Opel describes as an innovative control unit developed by its own engineers.

Opel is claiming class-leading noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance from the engine – a big step up from current diesel offerings in the GM world.

The company has not given fuel economy figures for the engine, instead saying fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 10 per cent “with similarly powerful 2.0-litre diesels”.

Opel’s 2.0-litre diesel Astra manual uses 4.7 litres per 100km on the combined test cycle, while the six-speed automatic sucks a relatively thirsty 5.9L/100km.

VW’s 2.0-litre Golf TDI BlueMotion uses 5.3L/100km.

Opel/Vauxhall deputy chairman Thomas Sedran said Opel’s powertrain renewal continued at full throttle.

“Our new 1.6-litre diesel will set benchmarks for refinement, performance and environmental compatibility,” he said.

“By the end of next year we will have launched three all-new generations of petrol and diesel engines, as part of our roll-out of 23 new models and 13 new powertrains by 2016.”

It is unclear if Opel plans to share the new engine with PSA Peugeot-Citroen, with whom it has announced a plan to co-develop some new petrol engines as part of money-saving venture.

PSA previously shared small-capacity diesels with BMW for its Mini range.

GM is desperate to stem the financial bleeding from Opel, which is expected to reach $US12 billion ($A11.4 billion) in 2012.

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