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Among the decisions that a driver must make when acquiring his new vehicle, the mechanics of the car is undoubtedly one of the most important. Thus, the performance, architecture and technologies incorporated by the engine depend on its suitability for daily use and fuel consumption.

If we recently explained in a report how to choose the perfect car engine according to its use, in this second part we focus on the technical aspects that can affect the making of this important decision.

What benefits do we need?

Diesel engines, by their own conception, offer less specific power and more torque than gasoline engines of the same cylinder capacity. Although nowadays, thanks to elements such as Turbo, Compressors and other technologies, these differences can be reduced.

Focusing on the performance to define the purchase of a vehicle, we must have one thing clear: better than on power, not that it is missing. In other words, a very powerful engine can always be driven calmly, while a fair engine of power can not go faster than it gives itself.

It is for this reason that, in case of doubt, it is always preferable an engine of greater performance, both for safety in overtaking, and to anticipate future needs (such as traveling with a load or a trailer).

Another important aspect to take into account is the displacement of the vehicle, which although it is not directly related to the specific power, if it is with the Torque. The more displacement, the more torque, and the more torque, the greater the ability to move weight. It is for this reason that, depending on the type of car in question, one displacement or another will be better.

In the case of an urban utility vehicle, a small cubic capacity will allow sufficient performance for use with a very contained consumption. On the other hand, if it is a 7-seat SUV approaching 2.5 tons, the best choice will be the largest possible displacement, to have an engine capable of moving the whole similar.

How does it affect engine architecture?

In this section we focus on the construction and design of the engine, as well as its location in the vehicle. Within the different types of engine, we distinguish:

  • In-line engines, with the cylinders located one behind the other, up to a maximum of 6 cylinders, to avoid torsions that would finish with the crankshaft in tenths of a second.
  • V engines, with the cylinders located in two benches separated by an angle that normally does not exceed 120º. They are much more compact and can accommodate numerous cylinders, being common V6, V8 and V12 engines. They are usually associated with high performance.
  • Boxer engines, with cylinders opposed to 180º and which are also usually associated with high performance. The most common are 4 or 6 cylinders, are very compact and allow to lower the center of gravity significantly compared to other types of engine.
  • VR engines, constructions in V with the cylinders separated by a very small angle, that usually give good performances but high consumptions. They are a rare option in the market.
  • W engines, like the VR, are an unconventional solution, but very effective. The W or wankel engine is rotary, so it offers very high performance with very low displacement, at the cost of a high consumption of fuel and oil, determined by the nature of the engine itself. With proper maintenance are highly reliable and are associated with sports cars.

Knowing the pros and cons of each motor architecture, we will choose according to our wishes. An in-line engine will always be more reliable because it has fewer elements, so if economy of use prevails, this will be the best option.

On the other hand, if we prioritise performance, we will opt for other motor architectures. If maintenance and economy are not an important factor, enjoying the performance of a Wankel engine is a world of unique sensations.

On the other hand, if you want to combine performance and sweetness of operation, V engines are the best choice.

Take into account the technology it incorporates

Finally, we will take into account the technology used by the engine we want to choose. This aspect is directly linked to the age of the engine, as an older engine will always be much less technological (or simpler) than a more modern one.

Mainly due to the Euro anti-pollution regulations, the engines have become more sophisticated to the point of being subject to electronic control of practically all their elements. This aspect, which is positive for development and the environment, has a direct impact on higher maintenance costs and proportionally more expensive breakdowns, due to the sophistication of the propellers.

In this case, the economy of use will be directly linked to the technological development of the engine, giving priority to those engines that are simpler or that have already been on the market for a few years and have proven to be reliable.