General Motors is preparing a new generation of Ecotec small-displacement engines that will be produced in 11 engine variants ranging from 1.0 liter to 1.5 liter.

General Motors (GM) said this will allow streamlining of its global powertrain portfolio with a modular architecture that broadens its adaptability to global markets and reduce manufacturing complexity – while offering customers leading-edge efficiency, refinement and durability.

The new engines were developed for GM’s global vehicle portfolio and will power many of the company’s highest-volume small cars and compact crossovers, said GM, including the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze specifically tailored for China, which launches in 2014 as a 2015 model.

GM added by 2017, more than 2.5 million new Ecotec engines are projected to be built annually in at least five manufacturing locations around the globe: Flint, Mich. (U.S.); Shenyang, China; Szentgotthárd, Hungary; Toluca, Mexico; and Changwon, South Korea. The Flint facility alone represents an investment of more than $200 million in technology and tooling to support the engines’ production.

“Transportation solutions vary around the world and GM is committed to developing engines matched to the needs of the regions where they’re sold,” said Steve Kiefer, GM vice president, Global Powertrain Engineering. “The new engine family is designed to achieve segment-leading refinement and efficiency, and will make its way into five GM brands and 27 models by the 2017 model year.”

The smallest of the family, the Ecotec 1.0L I-3 VVT DI Turbo (LE1)

The smallest of the family, the Ecotec 1.0L I-3 VVT DI Turbo (LE1)

The new Ecotec portfolio will include 11 engines, with three- and four-cylinder variants ranging from 1.0 liter to 1.5 liter, including turbocharged versions, with power ratings ranging from 75 horsepower (56 kilowatt) to 165 horsepower (123 kilowatt), and torque ranging from 70 pound-feet to 184 pound-feet.

GM also said the new Ecotec engine architecture is designed to support hybrid propulsion systems and alternative fuels.

The first production applications include a 1.0 liter turbocharged three-cylinder for the Opel Adam in Europe, and 1.4 liter turbocharged and 1.5 liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines for the 2015 next-generation Chevrolet Cruze in China.

GM explained the turbocharged variants enable the engines to deliver the power and torque of larger-displacement engines with the efficiency of smaller engines. For example, the turbocharged 1.0 liter three-cylinder used in the Opel Adam makes as much power as the naturally aspirated 1.6 liter four-cylinder it replaces – with an estimated 20-percent improvement in efficiency.

The new Ecotec family is on the leading edge of efficiency, added GM, with the new 1.4 liter turbo up to five percent more efficient than the 1.4 liter turbo engine it will replace. The new Ecotec engines also deliver segment-challenging refinement. GM said noise intensity is up to 50-percent quieter than Volkswagen’s EA211 1.4 liter four-cylinder and up to 25-percent quieter than Ford’s 1.0 liter turbo three-cylinder engine.

Per GM, modularity in parts such as four-cylinder and three-cylinder blocks that share bore spacing, bore diameter, liners and other dimensions, reduces complexity while increasing the flexibility to quickly adapt the architecture for new applications.

All new Ecotec engines are calibrated to run on regular unleaded gas, stated GM, including the high-output turbo variants.