Just how or when it may find its way into the Chrysler side of the family remains to be seen; but starting this September, Fiat's revolutionary MultiAir engine technology will be see its first production use on the Alfa Romeo MiTo with a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine tuned to produce 105, 135 or 170 horsepower. An advance that Fiat likens to the introduction of common-rail injection to diesels, the MultiAir system employs a unique computer-controlled electro-hydraulic mechanism to vary timing and lift of each valve, individually and by each stroke in the cycle. The net result is that a MultiAir engine can see gains of up to 10 percent in its power and fuel economy and a 15 percent boost in peak torque while lowering its CO2 emissions, hydrocarbon particulates (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 10, 40 and 60 percent, respectively.
Although it chose to introduce the MultiAir system on a relatively small displacement gasoline engine, Fiat says the basic technology is easily scalable and can also be configured for use on diesels. Beyond helping Chrysler to meet and even exceed the more demanding fuel-economy standards that were recently enacted, one can't help put ponder the delightful possibilities of seeing the MultiAir system work its powering-up/cleaning-up magic on true performance-oriented engines like the legendary HEMI V8 and the Viper's awesome V10.