Before it was V-6 engines with the performance of a V-8 that automakers were touting, but today the big news, especially in family sedans, is turbocharged four-cylinders that are more powerful and more fuel-efficient than their V-6 brethren.
Here we take a look at four 2012 and one 2013 family sedans that may well whet your appetite for downsizing to a turbocharged four, with no compromise in power.
2012 BMW 5-SeriesEnlarge Photo
BMW is bringing back the four-cylinder engine for the first time since it was discontinued in 1999 in the 3-Series. At the time, BMW had sold less than 900 four-cylinder-powered 3-Series, down from 21,078 in 1995. In the all-new 2012 BMW 5-Series mid-size luxury sedan, however, the return of the four-cylinder promises a whole lot more in the way of power and fuel efficiency. The 528i boasts TwinPower Turbo, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generating 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, mated to the company’s newest eight-speed automatic transmission. The powerplant has similar horsepower as the 2011 model’s 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, yet delivers 13 percent more torque and faster acceleration. The 2012 528i does 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds, 0.4 seconds quicker than last year’s model. It’s also expected to get better than 32 mpg highway fuel economy. The 528i also features Auto Start/Stop technology to save even more fuel.
BMW is also putting the TwinPower Turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the 2012 Z4 roadster and, according to Bloomberg, says there’ll be other nameplates with the smaller engine, although it declined to provide specifics.
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-ClassEnlarge Photo
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The entry-level 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will offer a new, direct-injection four-cylinder turbocharged engine in sedan and coupe models out in October and in the SLK250 roadster early in 2012. The last time Mercedes-Benz offered a four-cylinder was in the 2005 model year C-Class.
In the C-Class coupe and sedan in new C250 Sport model, the powerplant is a 201-horsepower 1.8-liter turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine generating 229 pound-feet of torque. The new engine is paired with a new seven-speed automatic transmission with more advanced torque converter lock-up clutch for better fuel mileage, more responsive driving, increased durability and quieter operation.
2012 Audi A6 live photos. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.
2012 Audi A6 live photos. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.Enlarge Photo
2012 Audi A6
The redesigned seventh-generation 2012 Audi A6 five-passenger luxury sport sedan is available in 2.0T trim, powered by a 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder turbocharged engine paired with Multitronic continuously variable transmission. Generating 211 horsepower, the 2.0T sedan is expected to achieve an EPA-rated 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway/28 mpg combined.
Other Audi models for 2012 that offer the turbocharged 2.0T four-cylinder engine include the A3, A4, A5, Q5, TT and TTS.
2012 Hyundai SonataEnlarge Photo
2012 Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai offers two powerful four-cylinder engines as well as a hybrid model for the 2012 Sonata mid-size sedan. The fours include the original 200-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with gasoline direct-injection and the 274-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI engine. EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers are 22/33/26 for the 2.4-liter engine and 22/34 mpg for the 2.0T (highway mileage up from 33 mpg in 2011).
2013 Ford Taurus LimitedEnlarge Photo
2013 Ford Taurus
Due out in spring 2012, the redesigned 2013 Ford Taurus will be available with a new version of the Ford EcoBoost advanced turbocharged direct-injection in-line four-cylinder engine. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost is expected to deliver at least 31 mpg highway fuel economy as well as an estimated 237 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque and will be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with optimized gear selection. The automaker, which currently offers EcoBoost four-cylinder engines in the Explorer SUV and Edge crossover, says customers are opting for the four-cylinder in droves, since it delivers the power of a V-6 with the economy and efficiency of a smaller engine.