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Opel powers up new engine

Power plant: Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán and Opel deputy chairman Thomas Sedran with one of the new Opel 1.6-litre engines now in production in Hungary.

New Cascada drop-top tipped to get latest Ecotec 1.6-litre turbo engine from Opel

Opel logo11 Oct 2012

OPEL is one step closer to introducing its new-generation of more powerful and cleaner turbocharged petrol engines, with production of the new units starting at the company’s new engine plant in Hungary yesterday.

The upgraded Ecotec 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injected four-cylinder engine range is expected to make it into the Australian Opel range at some point, possibly in the upcoming 2013 Cascada convertible that is very much on the local radar.

The premium 147kW/287Nm version of the engine reportedly will appear in the Cascada – Spanish for waterfall – that is expected to make its formal public debut at the Geneva motor show in March.

Logic suggests the engine will eventually replace the current 132kW230Nm 1.6-litre petrol units powering the Astra Select and Astra GTC models that were introduced to Australia in September.

This would represent an 11 per cent jump in power and 22 per cent increase in torque over the current unit, while meeting tough Euro 6 emissions regulations.

Opel Australia marketing and public relations head Michelle Lang said she had no word on when or if the new engine would make it to Australia, saying the company had no immediate plans to make the switch.

 center imageFrom top: Opel Cascada teaser image Opel Astra OPC Astra sedan Astra GTC.

“I would think it is a long way off,” she said.

The new engine is one of 13 new petrol and diesel engines to be put into production by Opel by 2016.

Opel says the first 1.6-litre petrol engines from the Hungarian plant are destined for the new Astra sedan that had its world premiere last month at the Moscow International Motor Show.

“The engines provide extraordinarily high maximum torque along with significantly reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions,” Opel said in a media release announcing the production start-up at the new €500 million ($A625m) plant at Szentgotthárd, Hungary.

The plant, which was opened by Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, will be capable of producing 500,000 engines a year when running at full capacity.

While the new 1.6-litre engine range brings power and cleanliness gains, it pales into insignificance in performance terms against the 2.0-litre turbo direct-injected engine that is set to make its Australian debut in the Astra OPC hot hatch at the Australian International Motor Show next week.

Banging out 206kW of power and 400Nm of torque, the Astra OPC is not only the fastest Astra ever built but also the most powerful series production front-drive four-cylinder hatchback in Europe.

The Astra OPC – using the Astra GTC’s coupe-like three-door body – will arrive in Opel’s Australian showrooms in early 2013.

No one would be surprised if that hot engine also made it into the Cascada, which is in the final stages of development in Germany.

The Cascada is thought to be based mainly on the Astra, but is bigger, with some pundits suggesting it borrows some underpinnings from the larger Insignia.

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