Toyota has announced a new 2.5L direct-injection 4-cylinder engine that will replace the 2AR series engine that powers everything from the Toyota Camry to the Lexus IS 300h hybrid — no specifications have been released yet, but here’s the details we do have:
Their lineup includes a 2.5-liter engine that has one of the world’s best thermal efficiencies — 40 percent when used in gasoline-powered vehicles and 41 percent when used in hybrid vehicles (HVs).
This new, thoroughly reconsidered and greatly evolved engine features numerous new technologies, such as technologies for minute control that make it highly responsive and allow it to generate ample torque at all speeds.
New direct-shift 8-speed and 10-speed transmissions have also been announced:
Gear tooth surfaces were processed using a new technique for a lower coefficient of friction when the gears engage, and the configuration of the friction material used inside the clutch was optimized to reduce clutch torque loss by approximately 50 percent during rotation (compared to a conventional 6-speed transmission).
In the case of the Direct Shift-10AT, even though the number of gears has been increased to 10 (compared to eight gears in the case of the Direct Shift-8AT), the use of close-ratio gears optimizes the range of use of each gear, particularly in the low-to-mid speed range. The resulting smooth gear changes, which are among the world’s quickest, create a rhythmical and comfortable sensation that is suitable for a premium rear-wheel-drive vehicle.
Hybrid technology will also get a boost with Toyota Hybrid System II:
Toyota has enhanced its hybrid system for 2.5-liter engines and developed the new, high-performance Multistage THS II for rear-wheel-drive vehicles.
Multistage THS II gives hybrid vehicles an all-new driving image with its start-from-stop acceleration performance and abundant direct feel. In addition to improving system efficiency at high speeds, intermittent use of the engine at high speeds has also been made possible, further improving high-speed fuel economy.
The system for plugin hybrid vehicles (PHVs) has also been enhanced. A new dual-mode drive system allows the electric motor, which was hitherto used only as a generator, to provide direct driving power, resulting in powerful driving, even when in EV mode. Further enhancing the system for PHVs is a large-capacity lithium-ion battery that largely increases the EV-mode cruising range to 60 kilometers or more*4.
If you think this is a lot of information to process, it gets worse — future powertrain plans were also mentioned in broad strokes:
Within the five years to the end of 2021, Toyota plans to introduce 17 versions of nine engines, including the 2.5-liter engine announced today, 10 versions of four transmissions, including multi-geared automatic transmissions and a new kind of continuously variable transmission, and 10 versions of six hybrid systems.
In this way, through TNGA-based modular development, Toyota will roll out numerous types of new powertrain units within a short timeframe, successively introducing them in various vehicle models, starting with the launch of a new-model vehicle in 2017.
By the end of 2021, Toyota aims to have the new powertrain units feature in 60 percent or more of Toyota-brand and Lexus-brand vehicles sold annually in Japan, the United States, Europe and China.
TL;DR: The engine drought is over. Toyota & Lexus will average 3.4 new engines every year for the next five years, and should all come equipped with 8-speed & 10-speed transmissions. Buckle in, it’s about to get real.