A German manufacturer best known for its heavy duty truck engine components could re-write the rules when it comes to passenger car powertrains. The company is the Mahle Group, and it’s presently showing off a “demonstration vehicle” with an experimental three-cylinder 1.2-liter single turbocharged gasoline engine that promises to meet very tough emission regulations while maintaining performance in mid-sized cars.
Based in Stuttgart, Germany, Mahle entered the U.S. market some 40 years ago supplying aluminum pistons for heavy duty truck engines. Mahle last month opened its American headquarters and R & D facility in Farmington Hills, Michigan, in Detroit’s western suburbs.
The German company’s powertrain subsidiary is barnstorming its experimental car, dubbed a “downsizing demonstration vehicle,” to U.S. vehicle manufacturers with the objective of gaining research—not engine-production—contracts. But longer-term its design could provide the industry a significant alternative to conventional engine designs.