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Australia to wait for Toyota’s 1.2-litre turbo

Small package: Toyota’s new 1.2-litre version of its four-cylinder turbo-charged engine family is not on the immediate agenda in Australia.

Toyota’s belated turbo charge continues with 1.2-litre, but only in Japan for now

8 Apr 2015

AUSTRALIANS will have cool their heels before they can get a chance to buy a Toyota fitted with the Japanese giant’s snappy new 1.2-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder engine that has just entered showrooms in Japan.

Officially, Toyota Australia says it has no plans to introduce the newly developed engine – Toyota’s second blown offering after the 2.0-litre turbo that recently made its debut in the Lexus NX200t – in the immediate future.

However, it concedes that the new engine – dubbed 8NR-FTS – is a logical step for a fresh model to be sold in Australia at some point.

Toyota Australia product public relations manager Steve Coughlan said “There is no reason that it won’t be released here in the long term, but we have no immediate plans.”

Promising “superb driving performance”, the little blown 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivers 85kW of power at 5200rpm and 185Nm of torque between 1500rpm and 4000rpm.

This compares with Volkswagen Polo’s 1.2-litre turbo engine that comes in 66kW/160Nm and 81/175Nm states of tune, and Renault’s 1.2-litre turbo that pumps out 88kW and 190Nm in Clio and 97kW and 205Nm in the Megane GT-Line.

And while Peugeot’s 1.2-litre turbo offering is a three-cylinder, it still packs 96kW and 230Nm.

No fuel efficiency figures were immediately available for the Toyota engine, but the VW engine manages 4.7 litres per 100km, while the Polo achieves 4.8L/100km and the Peugeot 308 gets between 4.6L/100km and 5.1L/100km, depending on variant.

Toyota engineers dipped into their bag of hybrid technology tricks to enhance the engine performance, using continuous variable valve timing on the intake side to switch between conventional Otto cycle and Atkinson cycle by adjusting valve timing according to load.

All of Toyota’s hybrid vehicles, including Prius and Camry Hybrid, use Atkinson cycle engines that deliver a little less power – due to holding the intake valve open a little longer than usual – but greater efficiency.

Combined with the latest version of Toyota’s direct injection, a single-scroll turbo-charger and a cylinder head that creates a strong tumble flow for improved combustion speed, the engine is said produce maximum thermal efficiency of 36 per cent, which Toyota says is a leading level among mass-produced petrol engines.

The engine also features an integrated water-cooled exhaust manifold that, in league with adaptive intake cooling, is said to improve engine response and deliver maximum torque across a wider rev range.

Toyota has introduced the new engine in the Japanese-market Auris – Corolla hatch in Australia – but has no disclosed any plans for further roll-out in either other markets or other models.

The Japanese giant has been late to the turbo-charging party, having preferred to dabble with hybrids and enhanced normally aspirated engines.

In the face of widespread success with such tiny-but-powerful powerplants from mainly European and American rivals, Toyota has belatedly run the white flag up the pole and jumped into forced induction for both Toyota and Lexus models.

“Despite the success of hybrids, Toyota is aware that vehicles with conventional powertrains still represent the majority of vehicles sold,” the company said in its press release.

“By constantly increasing environmental performance across its entire vehicle line-up, Toyota aims to offer a portfolio of environment-friendly vehicles that meet the diverse needs of consumers.”

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