News about the all-new and super-efficient 2.0-liter inline-four that will be used in the 2012 Ford Focus began surfacing at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show last January. Now, the automaker has opened up with a comprehensive deep dive on the technology that makes this new motivator so efficient. Ford claims the engine is one of the most technologically advanced naturally aspirated powerplants that it ever created -- and one that's expected to generate a 40-mpg highway fuel economy figure for the new Focus when it finally does roll into showrooms here early next year.

Thinking small, delivering big

At the heart of Ford's new 2.0-liter lies a synergistic combination of state-of-the-art design touches borrowed from all of its latest four-, six- and eight-cylinder engine families. Highlighting the list are the latest strain of high-pressure direct fuel injection and the implementation of Ford's Ti-VCT (twin independent variable camshaft timing) setup along with the ability to use E85 as well as regular unleaded gasoline.

"By combining direct injection and Ti-VCT, we've been able to make a quantum leap in fuel economy and performance," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. The numbers appear to validate Kuzak's contentions. This new four new develops 160 horsepower -- 20 more ponies than the 2.0-liter in the current Focus -- and 146 lb-ft of torque, a 7.3-percent gain.

Other impressive stats that contribute to its stellar efficiency include a 12.0:1 compression ratio and a new strain of ultra-precise Denso multi-orifice direct fuel injectors that operate at 2,150 psi -- about 35 times the pressure of conventional port injectors. The engine hardware also plays a significant role in the mileage-maxing effort. It starts with the extensive use of lightweight aluminum and composite materials wherever possible. Ultra-smooth surfacing on valvetrain elements, special low-friction coatings on the piston skirts, optimized scaling of the oil pump and drive plus a trick "overriding alternator decoupler" that reduces the belt tension needed for drive the alternator and water pump all feature into its computer-generated formula for success.

"The new Focus will be among the global leaders in fuel economy and CO2 emissions," said Kuzak. "We will continue to pioneer new technologies beyond launch, including the zero-emissions Focus Electric BEV launching in North America in 2011. Throughout its life cycle, Focus in all forms, in all regions, will demonstrate the Ford commitment to deliver unsurpassed fuel economy on a truly global scale."

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