In something of a surprise announcement, Chrysler has unveiled tantalizing details about powertrain enhancements slated to appear on 2015 model-year vehicles. The list of offerings is something of a grab bag, but the most interesting include:
Greater availability of Chrysler's Engine Stop-Start technology: It's already offered on the Ram 1500, where it's helped the truck increase fuel economy by one mpg in the city. During the third quarter of 2014, it'll come to the Jeep Cherokee, and during the fourth quarter, it will be available on the Chrysler 200.
Greater availability of Chrysler's nine-speed automatic transmission: Chrysler says that this will roll out to 2015 models of the Chrysler 200, Jeep Renegade, and Ram ProMaster City van. In the 200, the nine-speed has boosted fuel economy by a tidy 13 percent.
From FWD to AWD and back again: Chrysler's rear-axle disconnect technology will be offered on 2015 models of the Chrysler 200 and Jeep Renegade. Without getting too technical, this feature allows vehicles to switch seamlessly from front-wheel-drive to all-wheel-drive (or in the Renegade's case, 4x4) and back again, depending on driving conditions. Ultimately, this provides more grip for drivers and boosts fuel economy, too.
A new HEMI: At the center of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT sits Chrysler's new, supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 HEMI Hellcat, which boasts a whopping 600-plus horsepower. And of course, as Chrysler points out, "its block is HEMI Orange".
A new Alfa Romeo and its engine: When Alfa Romeo returns to America with its limited-edition, $55,195 two-seater, the 4C, it'll be carrying a sporty 1750-cc direct-injected turbocharged, intercooled inline-four under the hood. Chrysler says the engine offers 237 horsepower and 258 ft-lbs of torque, adding that:
"Advanced scavenging technology enables the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C to maximize torque at low-engine speeds and deliver more response to driver input. The resulting air flow from the inlet manifold to the exhaust manifold increases combustion efficiency and turbine speed, all while eliminating turbo lag."
And in our book, anything that eliminates turbo lag is a good thing.
Stay tuned for more details about these innovations as 2015 models start rolling into showrooms during the second half of the year.