After a well documented shift from petrol to diesel power bought benefits in performance,
as well as economy, development continues with both forms of engine. With fuel prices
continuing to increase, vehicle and engine manufacturers are using technology to
search for breakthroughs in lowering fuel consumption. Such developments include
downsizing, cylinder deactivation, and a huge growth in hybrid and electric-powered
On the transmissions side, experiments have been made with ever increasing numbers
of gear ratios, with the majority of new vehicles now being sold with 6-speed gearboxes.
Suppliers are also working on more, with at least one 9-speed transmission announced.
Semi-automatic gearboxes have also witnessed big growth in recent years.
Materials are playing a big role, with manufacturers looking to reduce the overall
engine weight, by using a range of different metals, such as magnesium and aluminium.