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French to build turbo-petrol triple

Threesome: Peugeot's next generation 207 is expected to be one of the beneficiaries of a new turbo three-cylinder engine from 2012.

Peugeot-Citroen announces a new turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine

Peugeot logo13 Apr 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

PSA Peugeot Citroen has announced it will produce a turbocharged version of its new three-cylinder petrol engine, with turbo and normally aspirated variants both going into production in 2012.

Although PSA has not revealed which models the new petrol triple will power, the turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine will be produced at the same French factory that now manufactures the naturally aspirated and turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines for its own models and BMW’s Mini.

The 1.2-litre force-fed petrol engine was announced as part of a €175 million ($A256.8m) investment in PSA’s joint-venture (with fellow French car-maker Renault) Française de Mécanique engine plant at Douvrin in northern France between now and 2013.

From 2012, Douvrin will have annual capacity of 320,000 of the 1.2 turbo engines, which is based on the 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre naturally aspirated engine to be produced from the same year at PSA’s Trémery plant, which has an annual capacity of 640,000 engines.

 center imageFrom top: Citroen C3, Mini Cooper, BMW Vision EfficiencyDynamics.

The 1.2 turbo-petrol four is likely to power a range of small Citroen and Peugeot models, including the new C3, DS3 and next-generation C4, plus replacements for the 207 and 308 – but not the C1 or 107/108 produced alongside the Aygo from Toyota, which supplies their engines.

However, it could also make its way under the bonnets of the first front-drive BMW model, the small 0 Series hatch due in 2013, as well as the third-generation Mini upon which it will be based – and a potential hybrid version of the ‘Megacity’ micro-car being developed by BMW’s Project i skunkworks.

Either way, BMW and PSA in February confirmed they will extend their powertrain alliance by replacing the current BMW-developed ‘Prince’, or EP, 1.4 and 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine family – 1.3 million examples of which have been made since 2006 – with a new generation that will meet stringent EU6 emissions requirements.

Although there is no word of a diesel triple, BMW has signalled its move towards the engine configuration by revealing a three-cylinder diesel engine in the scissor-doored Vision EfficientDynamics plug-in hybrid coupe concept at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show.

While Suzuki’s 1.0-litre Alto is one of the few triple-cylinder cars available in Australia, Volkswagen offers a number of three-cylinder petrol engines in Europe ranging between 1.0 and 1.2 litres – unrelated to the four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine employed in the latest VW Polo and Audi’s facelifted A3.

PSA chief Philippe Varin said the latest announcement confirmed his company’s commitment to maintaining extensive engine production operations in France.

“By producing this new engine at La Française de Mécanique, we will be able to leverage world-class manufacturing expertise,” he said. “And with its state-of-the-art environmental technology, the new powerplant will enable PSA Peugeot Citroën to strengthen its leadership in low-carbon vehicles.”

La Française de Mécanique was established in 1969 as a 50-50 joint-venture between PSA and Renault. Employing 3400 staff, its machining and assembly lines produce 6200 engines per day. Output in 2009 totalled 1.3 million units, including 942,000 for Peugeot and Citroen vehicles.

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