Volkswagen Up Will Have Three Pistons or More

Volkswagen excluded the possibility of using a two-cylinder engine in its Up city car, saying that engine downsizing has reached its limits, in spite of Fiat recently introducing the two-piston Twinair engine on the 500 range, and the 2009 Tata Nano using a 623 cc straight-two engine.

Improvements can now only be made in performance and economy, not in making the engines any smaller. Instead, the Up will make use of three-cylinder engines that will really advance the technology and make strong use of it.” said R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg.

The firm admitted to have been flirting with the idea of putting a two-cylinder engine in its cars, but says it needs to improve its three-cylinder engines before developing a smaller power unit. Engines that small are just too costly to develop and too complicated to bring profits.

"I've seen two-cylinder cars running, but from a production point of view it'd be very hard. Even three-cylinder engines are very expensive as they're not as smooth or refined as we'd like. But we're not going to abandon them," said Volkswagen's technical boss, Michael Hinz.

However, if Fiat is able to produce a two-cylinder engine, so could Volkswagen, even though they choose to stick to three cylinders or more, thanks to their better power characteristics.

In the 1950's, Ferrari briefly considered putting an inline-two into a Formula One car. Development was quickly abandoned due to the engine's lack of balance. This led to the forming of a myth that all the prototypes built simply exploded during tests.
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