PARIS -- The Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic minivans will be the first vehicles to use a new 1.3-liter direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine developed jointly by Renault and Daimler.
The first deliveries are scheduled for January, and the engine will be "progressively offered" on more Renault models in the coming year, the company said in a statement.
The engine has better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions than the 1.2-liter engine despite its larger displacement, Renault said. It has more torque over a wider power band. It is available in three power levels: 115 hp/220 nm torque; 130 hp/240 nm torque; and 160 hp/260 nm torque.
Automakers are moving to expand their gasoline offerings as European car buyers turn away from diesel engines in the face of tightening emissions regulations, restrictions on diesel in urban areas and fallout from the Volkswagen Group cheating scandal.
Diesel engines emit less CO2 than gasoline ones, however, so manufacturers are trying to close the gap with more efficient gasoline engines. Mazda this fall unveiled a so-called compression ignition engine that it says boosts torque and fuel efficiency by 30 percent. Renault's alliance partner brand Infiniti says its new 2-0-liter variable compression engine offers 27 percent better fuel economy.
"We want to answer to growing market expectations in Europe for more petrol engines," a Renault spokesman said. Renault's Drive the Future strategic plan calls for a 50 percent reduction in diesel offerings by 2022.
The new engine achieves gains in efficiency through higher injector pressure, bore spray coating derived from the Nissan GT-R supercar for less friction and an integrated manifold that optimizes exhaust gas temperatures, Renault said. On the Grand Scenic, for example, the 130 hp version is 8 percent more efficient while delivering an additional 30 nm of torque.
All three power levels will be available on the Scenic and Grand Scenic, increasing the number of powertrain offerings to five from four. Two diesel choices include a 48-volt mild hybrid, the first on a mass-market car in Europe. Carbon dioxide emissions are given as 122 to 125 grams per kilometer, depending on power level and model. In comparison, the 48-volt hybrid assist diesel emits 94 grams/kilometer and the non-hybrid diesel 116 grams in the Scenic.
Romain Gillet, a drivetrain analyst with IHS Markit in Paris, said the engine would be built in Renault's plant in Valladolid, Spain; Nissan's Sunderland, England, factory; and Daimler's plant in Koelleda, Germany. He said it would be used in front-wheel-drive Mercedes models, including the coming A class.
Reports have said the new engine will eventually be used in the GLA, GLC and B class. A spokesman said Daimler has not announced on which models the engine will appear, and would not provide further information about the engine or manufacturing plans.
The partnership between the Renault-Nissan alliance and Daimler started in 2010, with each company taking a 3.1 percent capital share in the other. Mercedes has adapted Renault's 1.5-liter diesel engines for use in entry-level A-class, B-class, CLA and GLA models, and Renault's 1.6-liter gasoline engine is used in the Mercedes C class.
Vehicle projects have included a common rear-engined architecture for the latest Renault Clio and Smart four-door, which are produced at Renault's Novo Mesto plant in Slovenia, as well as the Mercedes Citan light-commercial vehicle, made by Renault in Maubeuge, France.