Interview: Tim Leverton, CTO, Tata Motors, speaks about the Nexon, new turbocharged engines and automatic transmission
OD: Is this the same petrol engine used in the Zest?
TL: Zest has an iron block engine. We moved to new-gen alloy petrol engine in the Tiago. This engine in the Nexon is from the same family. This is the boosted unit, same block but with few changes like the exhaust manifold is integrated. This is for efficiency and for looking ahead with respect to the emissions. This is a 110PS/170Nm engine. Its performance matches that of the vehicle. The car is heavy and this one suits it. This architecture helps with future engines. As we go ahead, you will see more enhancements and efficiency to match the evolution of engines. These engines will be used in future products too.
OD: ARAI-rated efficiency of the petrol engine?
TL: We are still finalising the efficiency with ARAI. But expect it to be very competitive.
OD: Apart from the 125PS EcoSport engine, this is the second-highest output in compact SUVs as far as petrols go. Was the Nexon benchmarked against the EcoSport?
TL: This is not a direct-injection engine unlike the EcoSport's. We needed a right balance of performance and economy combined with the Multi Drive modes. So the customers can decide which one they want to use Eco, Sport or City. So no, it wasn't benchmarked against the EcoSport.
OD: How much time did you take for developing this new engine?
TL: We have been working on this engine for the last 30 months. We learned a lot from the Zest's engine and it was a heavy motor. This new technology couldn't be made available with the Zest. The Zest's engine was the first of the turbo-petrol engines we made, and we already knew that there was a family in the pipeline. The iron cast meant that it was ancient architecture. So we moved to a lighter alloy. So to make sure we had the right ammunition, we first made the Zest motor and then developed this family of engines. So this is basically the same engine from the Tiago and Tigor. The power can be boosted further depending on the requirement. We're working on a really tight envelope of economy, performance, refinement and cost. So we decided to go for boosting and not for direct injection.
OD: Will you stop using the Quadrajet diesel engine from Fiat?
TL: No, we haven't. It's available in the Bolt and Zest. They haven't been discontinued. We didn't use it here because it doesn't have the performance to match this car. It was evaluated for the Nexon though.
OD: Will there be an automatic transmission in the Nexon in the future?
TL: In this segment, for ease of use and economy, the AMT is the future. The AMT will be available with both the engines in the new year or within the next few months.
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