American buyers are clasping the small but perfectly formed Fiat 500 to their collective bosom, at least in southern California. But could future customers be convinced to halve their cylinder count? The current powerplant is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder that develops 101 hp and 98 lb-ft of torque. But over in the Old World, Fiat offers its 875cc TwinAir engine and the clue’s in the name. Yep, it only has two cylinders. But it is turbocharged to make 85 hp and 110 lb-ft, along with a 30 percent improvement in consumption and emissions over its four-pot cousin. Fiat claims that it’s the greenest mass-production gasoline engine out there. The jurors of the International Engine of the Year gave it their top gong for 2011. As corporate fuel economy targets become more stringent, this unit could be good for Fiat’s USA operation, since Chrysler is also a big part.

Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!