Maserati’s Spark of Genius

Illustration by Clint FordMotor vehicle and Driver

From the Could 2021 difficulty of Auto and Driver.

Wanting at Maserati’s forthcoming twin-turbo 3.-liter V-6, you would not know the Italian automaker has been out of the motor-creating video game for additional than 20 yrs. Set to debut in the MC20 supercar, the Nettuno (Italian for Neptune, a nod to the firm’s trident brand) vaults Maserati to the major edge of inside-combustion engineering just as exotic brand names are obtaining serious about downsizing their V-8s. Making use of a derivative of prechamber ­ignition, which is widespread in System 1, engineers have squeezed a certain electric power output of 207.6 horses per liter from the V-6. That would make the Nettuno a lot more energy-dense than any current McLaren, Ferrari, Lam­borghini, or Porsche engine.

Prechamber ignition programs get the job done by sparking a rather small volume of gas and air in a very small cavity at the prime of every cylinder. As the flames escape that chamber into the cylinder by means of multiple jets, they ­initiate pretty swift principal combustion. Prechamber ignition isn’t really new—Honda applied it in the 1970s to go emission stand­ards without the need of a catalytic converter, and Mercedes released it to System 1 in 2014—but pairing it with two turbos and port and immediate injection in a manufacturing engine surely is. Prechamber ignition burns the air-fuel mixture speedier than common spark ignition, letting for a large compression ratio (11.:1 in this scenario) to the benefit of effectiveness and perform­ance whilst preserving motor knock at bay.

At full tilt, with the turbos forcing 29. psi of boost down the six’s ingestion, the Nettuno would make 621 horsepower at 7500 rpm and 538 pound-ft of torque in between 3000 and 5500 rpm. The organization just isn’t chatting about fuel financial state nonetheless, but the displacement by itself must set the Nettuno at an benefit around bigger V-8s with comparable output. After we push the MC20, we are going to know for absolutely sure if Maserati’s new motor can hold a spear to the opposition.

Illustration by Clint FordCar and Driver

How Prechamber Ignition Function

1. Air and fuel passively fill the prechamber throughout the compression stroke.

2. When the prechamber spark plug fires, that fuel ignites and shoots via smaller orifices in the prechamber wall. This spreads out the flame so it hits and ignites the air-gas mixture in the cylinder at many details simultaneously. Undertaking so generates a quite efficient melt away in a short quantity of time—30 p.c more rapidly than with classic spark ignition, Maserati claims.

3. When prechamber ignition is just not needed (such as in small-load circumstances) or would bring about instability and undesirable sound, a secondary spark plug in the main combustion chamber initiates ignition alternatively.

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