Making its international debut on Kia’s Geneva Motor Show stand alongside the new Picanto and Rio models is an all-new version of Kia’s popular ‘Kappa’ gasoline engine, which promises an appealing blend of performance and economy.
The innovative 998 cc engine is Kia’s first three-cylinder unit fitted with a turbocharger to deliver impressive performance for its capacity (81kW), while retaining the key fuel economy benefits of a small displacement engine.
Carefully tuned by Kia’s engineers, the new unit delivers its maximum torque (137Nm) from just 1500rpm up to 4500rpm, for excellent ‘real-world’ driveability, and the turbine design has also been optimised to ensure smooth and responsive operation at all engine speeds.
The new engine is expected to be fitted to Kia production vehicles from June, 2012.
Attention to small details reaps large benefits
Painstaking attention to detail by Kia’s engineers has resulted in a series of small but clever developments which all make their contribution to enhancing efficiency, while also reducing weight, complexity and cost, compared to Kia’s normally-aspirated 1.0-litre Kappa unit – itself already a highly-efficient engine.
A Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating – a material typically reserved for application in professional motorsport and high-performance motorcycle engines – is applied to this Kappa’s tappets to reduce friction, and thereby improve efficiency. This improvement is augmented by other changes, including the use of progressive rate ‘beehive’ valve springs, an optimised CVVT programme, low friction piston rings and an off-set crankshaft centre to reduce the horizontal force acting on the piston head, and therefore cut power loss. In total the changes result in an 8.8 per cent fuel economy improvement, while enabling the engine to also deliver an increase in power.
Weight reductions and packaging improvements have also been achieved through the use of an aluminium block with a cast iron liner (15kg), by integrating the cylinder head and air filter (500g) and the turbine housing within the exhaust manifold (500g), and by integrating the engine support bracket with the timing chain cover (1kg).
Designed for long-life, low-maintenance motoring
In addition to reducing running costs through efficiency savings, the new engine will also offer Kia owners low maintenance costs throughout their vehicle’s lifecycle. Like other Kia Kappa powertrains, this unit is fitted with a chain-driven timing system to ensure low maintenance – with a 10 year / 160,000 kilometre guaranteed lifespan.