Buick 2.0L Turbo Ecotec wins Wards Auto World 10 Best Engines

Buick Ecotec 2.0L Turbo named among WardsAuto 10 Best Engines

The Ecotec 2.0L turbo I-4 engine powers the all-new 2012 Buick Regal GS, and is now one of WardsAuto World’s 2012 “10 Best Engines” for North America.

This award by WardsAuto World recognizes the four-cylinder as industry leader in the 2012 Buick Regal GS. It is built at General Motors' Spring Hill, Tenn. powertrain facility.

While Buick, a division of General Motors company (NYSE: GM) is more often known as a modern luxury brand, offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance, the engine award from WardsAuto World returns Buick to the world of engine power performance, albeit in a smaller displacement than in the past.

Just look at the power-to-displacement ratio. According to the GM news release, the Ecotec 2.0L turbo’s 270 horsepower is the highest specific output of any GM production engine, and at 135 hp per liter, is the most power-dense engine certified by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

“The turbocharged Ecotec 2.0L belongs on the list this year because it makes an outrageous 135 hp per liter in the Regal GS, and it’s a blast to drive,” said WardsAuto World Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter. “This engine delivers a level of power and sophistication that redefines Buick.”

The Regal GS achieves 0-60 mph in less than 6.7 seconds and runs the quarter-mile in 15.2 seconds at 98 mph. It also recently claimed victory in the 120-mph Grand Touring class at the Silver State Classic Challenge open road rally, with only a .019 deviation from a perfect time. A variation of the same engine powers the Regal Turbo.

For the record, Ward’s reviewed 35 engines from 15 automakers in this year’s competition. Winners were chosen based on several factors, including power; noise, vibration and harshness; fuel efficiency; new technology; and comparative data for similar engines.

The Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine includes the latest in technology combinations, whereby the turbo engine is an all-aluminum, dual overhead cam, four-valve design with forged steel connecting rods. The A356 aluminum cylinder head is cast using a rotocast process for high strength, reduced machining and improved port flow. The exhaust valves have sodium-filled stems that promote valve cooling.

"Our continuously variable valve timing is tuned to work in tandem with direct injection and twin scroll turbocharging to achieve optimum fuel economy, lower emissions, and instant performance when needed,” said Mike Anderson, global chief engineer for Ecotec engines. “Having 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque available over a wide range of engine speeds makes for a very exciting driving experience.”

An advanced, electronically controlled turbocharger uses a twin-scroll design to increase power. Each of two scrolls on the turbine is fed by a separate exhaust passage – one from cylinders one and four, the other from cylinders two and three – to virtually eliminates turbo lag at low engine speeds, giving the engine immediate throttle response associated with a naturally aspirated high-performance engine.

Based on the recent acquisition of Controlled Power Technologies by Valeo (Read: Valeo acquires electric superchargers technology business of Controlled Power Technologies , be apprised that Buick’s present turbo technology will likely be challenged in the near future with electric-powered superchargers, which virtually eliminate the lag at low speeds, as well as the inrush of power that standard and modified turbos often exhibit.

An a vehicle note, the GS is equipped with Brembo four-piston front-caliper brakes, a HiPer Strut front suspension system, six-speed manual transmission, driver-adjustable suspension and steering settings, and 19-inch standard and 20-inch optional alloy wheels.

You may learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick or at www.facebook.com/buick.

About the Reporter: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks, futures and writes articles, books and ebooks like, "Perfecting Corporate Character," "Awaken Your Speculator Mind", and "Millennial World Order" via authorfrank.com. He may be contacted here by email: [email protected] and followed in Twitter under @Authorfranks
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