The new engine has the small capacity and high power of a petrol engine combined with the economy of a diesel. The technology can be applied to any size of petrol engine, in line or V configuration. But first off the line is a four cylinder in-line unit with a compression ratio of 20 to 1. Power output is 150PS at 6,500rpm - more than the current 2.0-litre multi-point fuel-injected engine.
The new technology allows an air-to-fuel ratio of 40 to 1 as opposed to the 15 to 1 ratio of conventional petrol engines. This leads to a 25% improvement in fuel economy at urban speeds - which beats a diesel too. At 75mph the fuel saving is 8%. A high rate of exhaust gas recirculation is designed in and NOX levels are substantially lower at all speeds and most importantly by as much as 90% at in town speeds of around 25 mph. Standard specification will include twin airbags and prices will start at around £18,000 - rising to £23,000 for the top of the range models.