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McLaren, BMW think they can build better internal combustion engine together

McLaren V8
It’s a big deal when two automakers join forces, especially on a project that’s partially funded by a country’s government. McLaren and BMW announced they will link up to develop engines with greater output per liter of displacement and lower CO2 emissions.

Autocar reports this won’t just be a technology exercise; both companies confirmed the work is “destined for application in future engines.” For McLaren, we could see the results in a production car by 2020.

Britain’s Advanced Propulsion Center (APC) — a government-funded operation — is among a short list of partners involved in the project. Other parties include Ricardo (McLaren’s current engine manufacturing partner), Grainger and Worrall (which will be responsible for complex, lightweight casting technology), Lentus Composites (a composite structure specialist), and the University of Bath (which brings advanced combustion R&D to the equation).

The APC will contribute 14 million pounds to the cause and the remaining 14 million pounds needed to complete the project will be split among the other companies. McLaren will lead the charge, but it’s unclear if the automaker is also contributing the most money to the project.

”This is an exciting project that plays to the strengths of all partners,” stated McLaren Auto head Mike Flewitt. “McLaren Automotive has an exceptional reputation for building the world’s finest engines, as showcased by our M838T and its previous category wins in the International Engine of the Year awards. We will continue to independently design and build our own engines, and the benefits of this project will help us accelerate the development of our next generation of powertrain, as confirmed in our recently announced Track22 business plan.”

Indeed, McLaren’s ability to pull tremendous power from a 3.8-liter V8 is remarkable. Its twin-turbocharged engine has been spread across its lineup and has proven reliable and potent.

Similarly, BMW’s 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and 3.0-liter turbo inline six-cylinder combine efficiency with high performance.

“We are pleased to be part of this project, which plays to the strengths of all partners,” a BMW spokesperson said. “McLaren Automotive and BMW Group have exceptional reputations for building the world’s finest engines. The further development of low CO2 combustion technology is important for the BMW Group as part of our Efficient Dynamics Strategy. The low CO2 combustion technology which will result from this joint project is destined for application in BMW Group engines in the future.”

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