General Motors has released an update on the 2011 Buick Regal's 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that enables it to run on any blend of gasoline or E85 Ethanol. The Detroit automaker claims the Regal's flex-fuel capability is a first for a direct-injected turbocharged production car.
There are no performance differences between the standard 2.0-liter turbo engine and its flex-fuel variant, as output remains at 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
However, engineers made some changes to allow the engine to run on E85. Given that ethanol needs a richer air-fuel mixture than gasoline to function properly, the flex-fuel engine is equipped with higher flow-rate injectors. In addition, a sensor in the fuel system measures the combination of gasoline and ethanol in the tank (a maximum of 85 percent is allowed of the latter), allowing the engine management system to automatically adjust the mixture to provide the required performance, emissions and fuel consumption.
GM's 2.0-liter Ecotec turbo engine also sports a new sand cast aluminium cylinder block, which translates into better durability, less noise and vibration than before.
The Regal's engine update is a step towards GM's goal of having more than 50 percent of its production in flex-fuel models by the end of 2012, with the company having already put on the streets more than 5 million flex-fuel cars in the last 15 years.
By Dan Mihalascu