Variable Compression engine to show at Geneva. Not a Saab.

For those of you who are of a mind to still lament the fact that Saab don’t have a variable compression engine after working so long at it some time ago, this probably won’t be encouraging news.
As I reported last year, there’s a company in France working on variable compression technology. They are called MCE and next week, they’ll show their latest offering at the Geneva Motor Show – in a Peugeot 407 body.
At least Saab get a credit in the writeup.

The idea isn’t new, in fact Saab claims to have been working on it since the 1980s, but it’s never been commercially viable. Nine years after the last attempt to bring it to market, the variable compression engine is back for another round and it’s got some big promises to keep.
This time, another European company is giving it a go. France-based MCE-5 Development was founded in the year 2000 by a small group of engineers from a school in Paris dedicated to developing VCR technology….

That’s variable compression ratio technology, not video cassette recorder technology. When I first read that I thought they were working on the first programmable VCR that someone could actually figure out and operate!

Here’s what they’ve come up with: The gasoline-powered, four-cylinder MCE-5 VCRi (for Intelligent Variable Compression Ratio) engine uses a two-state turbocharger, displaces 1.5L and pumps out an impressive 220 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque — numbers comparable to engines with much larger displacement and more cylinders. MCE-5 says the engine will get 35 mpg and emit only 0.56 grams of CO2 per mile.

And it gets even better than that.
Once MCE figure out how to work direct injection and a few other goodies into the mix, they reckon it’ll be up around 266hp and 347ft lb of torque. From a 1.5 litre engine!!
MCE’s variable compression engine works on a different principle to Saab’s. Where Saab’s Variable Compression Engine had a hinged head on the engine that would move and and thereby change the dimensions of the combustion chamber, MCE employ some gears and other stuff (tech wiz, me) to change the stroke.
However they do it, the numbers look very promising and it makes me wish that Saab had the chance to finish their work on this brilliant piece of technology.
I guess we can only hope they get the chance again in the future. This sort of stuff is exactly what Saab’s all about and would fit perfectly with their history.
Thanks to Albert VDB!

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