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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fiat 500: I'll take the diesel!

MultiJet II, Fiat's new innovation in diesel engine technology (you can read a description here) is making its debut in the Fiat 500 and 500C (the cabriolet version of the normal 500). MultiJet II is one of the technologies that Fiat is sharing with Chrysler and it could change how Americans perceive diesel engines and prefer what type of engine equips their car.

Below is a comparison of the specifications on all the available engines in the Fiat 500 range. First up is the new MultiJet II 1.3L :

New 1.3L 16V MultiJet II Turbo diesel

95hp @ 4000 rpm
148 lbs ft @ 1500 rpm

0-100 kph: 10.7 seconds
Top Speed: 180 kph (113 mph)

Fuel consumption (combined urban/Hway): 3.9 l/100km (60 mpg)

Compare the output of the new MultiJet II engine to the output of the previous diesel engine:

1.3L 16V Turbo diesel

75HP @ 4000 rpm
107 lbs ft @ 1500 rpm

0-100 kph: 12.5 seconds
Top Speed: 165 kph (103 mph)

Fuel consumption (combined urban/Hway): 4.2 l/100km (56 mpg)

Now compare the new MultiJet II engine to the gasoline engine version of the 500:

1.4L 16V gasoline engine

105 HP @ 6000 rpm
97 lbs ft @ 4250 rpm

0-100 kph: 10.5 seconds
Top Speed: 182 kph (113 mph)

Fuel consumption (combined urban/Hway): 6.3 l/100km (37 mpg)

Below are the engine specs for the Fiat 500 Abarth:

1.4 16V Turbo in the 500 Abarth
135 HP @ 5500 rpm
153 lbs ft @ 3000 rpm

0-100 kph: 7.9 seconds
Top Speed: 205 kph (128 mph)

Fuel consumption (combined urban/Hway): 6.5 l/100km (36 mpg)

1.4 16V Turbo with esseesse (SS) performance upgrade kit

160hp @ 5750 rpm
153 lbs ft @ 3000 rpm (170 lbs ft in sports boost mode)

0-100 kph: 7.4 seconds
Top Speed: 211 kph (132 mph)

Fuel consumption (combined urban/Hway): 6.5 l/100km (36 mpg)

What we see is the MultiJet II engine has outstanding performance with a large amount of torque, substantially more than the 1.4L gas engine (51 lbs ft more!). This maximum torque figure is reached at very low revs (1500 rpm or just over idle), and translates to always having lots of passing power available all the time. Driving a high torque car is a treat because you never have to "wind" the engine up, just use slight toe pressure and away you go!

It is the opposite way most small gasoline engines drive, where the peak torque output is high in the rpm range and you're always revving the engine, downshifting and generally working pretty hard to keep up or pass traffic. It's also one of the reasons why Americans traditionally aren't "into" small four cylinder engines.

With the advent of MultiJet II, all that's out the window. This technology has the potential to make as big a difference in the US as it did when Fiat introduced its predecessor, the Common Rail diesel, in 1997. Common Rail changed how diesel engines performed, making them very much "un-diesel like". At once, diesels were smoother, less noisy, less stinky, and more powerful.

Fiat sold this technology off and all major car makers now use it. The result is, in Europe, the market responded by going from a 15% diesel car mix to a 50% mix.

Here in America, we haven't been exposed to this new technology in a large degree because diesel engines are normally available here in only the more expensive car ranges. Now that's going to change.

With MultiJet II, now smaller, less expensive diesels can achieve fantastic performance and drivability gains and still retain the high fuel efficiency, low cost maintenance characteristics that diesels are known for.

Even with Common Rail and MutiJet I, diesels were still down somewhat on horsepower compared with a gasoline engine. Engine displacement was still needed to produce the power the market expected. MultiJet II gives the Fiat engineers the ability to fine tune the engine, maximizing efficiency and power while increasing comfort and refinement with also the potential of reducing displacement.

The proof is in the comparison of the previous diesel engine specs. Compared with the original 1.3L diesel (equipped with MultiJet I), MultiJet II boosts horsepower by 20hp and torque an incredible 41 lbs ft! That's a huge number for a 1.3L engine.

Or, using a theoretical example (using the same specific output of the above MultiJet II engine), you could potentially have a 1.0L diesel engine making 75 hp with a substantial 116 lbs ft of torque! And remember, a physically smaller engine has many advantages over a larger engine, with the same power, in terms of packaging, fuel economy and performance.

All this boils down to a few important points.

First is this 1.3L MultiJet II diesel, being available in the Fiat 500 (which is a relatively lower priced car), offers a new generation of Americans the ability to access a new type of diesel engine with drivability characteristics never before experienced by them. Their experience of driving a highly fuel efficient, powerful, fun to drive car has the potential to make a large impact on what is expected out of a fuel efficient car.

The second point is that after driving a diesel car, many of these owners will look for another diesel car when they move on. Fiat/Chrysler will be in a unique position to upgrade these owners with other diesel offerings. Other car manufacturers will sure to follow with their own diesel offerings (with a licensed copy of MultiJet II, no doubt).

The third point is that all this technology is available today, and it's relatively simple, easily understood compared with electric-hybrid technology. With Fiat's (and now Chrysler's) diesel experience, everyone can start driving a fuel efficient car now and not have to wait or be the beta tester for electric-hybrid technology that still needs a lot of work before it can be used by everyone.

From the above points, we see that MultiJet II could make a big impact on what Americans drive in the future.

So what will it be? A 1.3L 16V MultiJet II turbo diesel or the gasoline 1.4L 16V engine? I know which one I want!

*Fuel economy figures are European and converted to US MPG


Anonymous said...

Great post! Just a question though, I don't think it's clear in this if the MJII will be available stateside. Please say it will make it across the pond! said...

Yes, MultiJet II will come to the US. Exactly when hasn't been announced, although Chrysler projects 14% of its engine mix will be diesels by 2014.

So far, looking at Chrysler's plans, engine sizes from 1.6 - 2 liters are being talked about, however, as the 500 is being developed into a more full range with station wagons and possibly a 4x4 version, etc., It would make sense for Fiat to eventually bring the 1.3L here.

I believe by introducing young buyers to the benefits of diesels, it would be a great way to cultivate a loyal following and also help break people out of old notions (like there's no substitute for cubic inches, etc)that still hang around in this country and, frankly, have limited the creation of new technology (like small displacement, high output engines).

So it might be a while, but if there is enough of a demand, who knows!

Here a link to a slide from Chrysler 5 year plan showing some engine technology being shared:

Here's another slide concerning MultiJet II:

Just copy and paste these to see them.

Anonymous said...

Chris, 2014 is far too late for the US MultiJet!

The US ... NEEDS ... the MultiJet I & II and their fuel frugality ... NOW!

They could open the almost totally untapped MARKET ... ABOVE 45 mpg(US) combined average! That could EXPAND the US market from the present (and expected through 2012) of 11 million units annually to possibly above 15 million units by 2013/14.

Imagine what the sales could be IF ... Chrysler-Fiat quickly brought a 40~45 mpg(US) combined average van to the US market. Nobody could compete with that ... it would generate conquest sales from all segments. I don't believe there would be any way to satisfy the demand ... even with a reasonable price premium. And, for at least 3 to 4 years this market segment would theirs.

If you or Chrysler-Fiat are interested ... I have developed a strategy that can "jump-start" the process in less than 3 months. It is low cost, low risk, and above all quick ... let me know and maybe we can figure out how to get the info to you.

GOOD LUCK to Fiat-Chrysler and the MultiJet II ... may we see it soon!

Anonymous said...

Watch what happens to the diesel Mahindra 2 and 4 door pickup sales starting in February 2010.

That will give you a clue about the US consumers' attitude toward a "total unknown" diesel.

Daniël Mantione said...

An 1.6L diesel is not a good engine for a 500. If it would physically fit, it would make the car way too heavy and move the center of gravity too much to the front. This would drive terrible. Remember that because of the heavy pressures in the engine, diesel engines are always heavier than petrol engines. A 500 with 1.3 Multijet weighs about 200kg more than a 500 with an 1.2 Fire, despite almost the same cylinder capacity.

The 1.6 Multijet would be a good engine for a Bravo or Dobló or so, maybe for a Grande Punto, cars like the 500 are too small for it. said...

Yes, you are correct. The bigger diesels are reserved for the larger cars being built on the C-Evo and D-Evo chassis.

The 1.3L MultiJet II diesel has plenty of power for the 500, but I'm sure there will eventually be chip tuners out there offering even more power for the not easily satisfied;) said...

"Anonymous said...
Chris, 2014 is far too late for the US MultiJet!

The US ... NEEDS ... the MultiJet I & II and their fuel frugality ... NOW! ...."

That's an excellent point, I really think MultiJet II could make a huge impact on the American market. Of course we need it now, however, there is so much to do at Chrysler, we'll have to wait to see where this fits in.

The volumes planned for the 500 (100,000 with about 60,000 cars potentially going to the US and the others to South America) might not support homologation two engines (the 1.4L Multiair gas AND the MultiJet II diesel), at least initially. However, when other related versions of the 500 are introduced (like the Giardiniera, a 4x4, Lancia Ypsilon, Panda, etc), it should make it more cost effective for Fiat to offer the 1.3L MultiJet II.

I've always been a gas engine person, and I love the Abarth, but if I were buying a regular 500, how could you resist all that torque?

Electric doesn't do it for me, and I believe a lot of other people either. Plus it's down the road aways, MultiJet II is here, NOW.

Hopefully Fiat can deliver us a MultiJet II car sooner than later...

By the way, I am just a Fiat enthusiast, and am in no way connected with Fiat or Chrysler.

Anonymous said...

Can you suggest any sources or links for MultiJet durability data?

I need a vehicle that is good for 250K miles with reasonable maintanence costs. said...

Anonymous said...
"Can you suggest any sources or links for MultiJet durability data?..."

Here's an English speaking forum that might be able to assist you:

Daniël Mantione said...

At least the 1.3 Multijet I has ultra-low maintenance costs. I'll try find a maintenance checklist for my Punto mk2b. Mine has a 1.2 Fire, but the checklist shows the maintenance tasks for all available engines.

Durability is always hard to say with new engines like the Mutijet II. But I know someone that a Fiorino with an 1.3 Multijet I. He is well over 200000km, with no issues at all, only the scheduled maintenance.

Anonymous said...

I have a 2005 Jeep Liberty diesel. I have over 100,000 miles on the clock. The Liberty weights a bit over 4,000 lbs. and the engine displaces 2.8 liters (the engine is from V.M. Motari of Italy). I am getting close to 30 mpg highway. The Jeep is four wheel drive. In summary, it's a tank.
If you divide everything by two you should end up with a car that should get over 60 mpg and 150 ft. lbs of torque. Considering the Fiat 500 would not have skid plates, a transfer gear box and the extra differenetial, I would guess a 1.4 liter car should get 65-70 mpg.
My Jeep has around 300 ft. lbs of torque and it can leap across an intersection. I would expect the same of the dreamed about Fiat 500.
I need a second car and it would fit my needs exactly. I'll take one in silver please.


Chuck Maricle said...

I currently drive a VW New Beetle diesel TDI. This would be a replacement for it. Looks like VW versus Fiat for this market.

TDi lover said...

I am on my 3rd Diesel car, one Peugeot 505TD and currently 2 VW Jetta TDi's-a 2004 and a 2010 clean diesel, which is as fast as my son's 1.8T Jetta. I cannot wait for the Fiat 500 Diesel! Chrysler needs to look at how many VW TDI's are on the road now, and realise they are missing out by not putting these right into the US market. I think when someone experiences how the diesel "purrs" and how strong they are, along with the great mileage and durability, you'll see a change in the diesel to gas car population ratio, and start to become more like Europe, with more small efficient cars. Just one question- are these "clean" diesels? Make mine silver, too.

Anonymous said...

Hello Fiat! Hello Chrysler! Where do I sign up to buy the Fiat 500 diesel?

Anonymous said...

I miss the days when you could custom order the engine your car had. Like say a 440, 426, 360, etc. I own a 2500 4x4 Dodge Diesel. I'm ready for something smaller and I love the look of these cars. My brother owned a X19 in high school and that Fiat was so much fun.

Please, give me and other the option of the Diesel engine now, because I'm ready to buy my 500 right now.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the diesel offered in the Abarth. I'm ready to buy one now!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

is any place were to find info regarding the diesel future cars in the US ???

j said...

we wood like to see the fiat 500 come to the usa in diesel the vw and mercedes audi have the tdi cdi crd diesel chrysler needs to over look at the aconame see that thay wood sell 15 times more cars over the hybrid if the maine battery gos bad it cost just the same as bying a new car my frend had a toyota prius a 2003 it cost him $15000.00 for a new battery he told the deller im not bying a new car 15k is hwy robory

Anonymous said...

Fiat's got a winner here, but they should bring that diesel over asap. Mazda will have a diesel option in the 3 and in the 6. So will the Chevy Cruze.

We have a 11 year old VW TDI and I'd sure like to another diesel if I can and soon.

I'm sure the 1.4 L gas engine in the Fiat 500 is fine, but the mpg is pedestrian for a small car.

Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to spend the past summer in europe. All of the cars i drove were diesels, and i can say with confidence that my next car will be too, as a result of my positive experience with them.

Moreover, my wife remarked about how much she loved the styling of the 500s we saw there.

If Fiat wants to sell a lot of 500s to American drivers, they need to offer a diesel quickly!

Anonymous said...

whose butt does fiat have to kiss to get the diesel imported to the us????????????????

Anonymous said...

Where is it? I'm waiting to buy. After 2 VW tdi's we're ready options.

Anonymous said...

It's 2013 and still no diesel... Come on Fiat we are ready and waiting for the fuel efficiency you've accomplished with the MJII. Make a TV commercial illuminating the virtues of the MJII. Use the Abarth girl and big rig truckers. Throw in Sheen and Leno for good measure!

Unknown said...

My patience is running out. Where is the turbodiesel?

Unknown said...

Where is the turbodiesel? Even Chevy has one for their Cruze Eco. What is holding it up?