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Buick offers better fuel economy with direct injection

New Buick models with direct injection engines offer "beefy" performance and better fuel efficiency.

All 2012 Buick models will get a boost in efficiency with a direct-injection fuel delivery system. General Motors

The new Buick lineup will offer big-engine performance with small-engine fuel economy thanks to the use of direct injection.

Direct injection works by using high-pressure direct injectors that deliver fuel to the point of combustion in the cylinder so fuel doesn't get left behind on manifold walls or evaporate up out of a carburetor. This process also reduces the temperature of the compressed mixture as the fuel evaporates, which enables a higher compression ratio, allows for more spark advance, and reduces fuel consumption.

General Motors

"The beefier low-end torque and improved drivability of the direct-injected 2.0L turbo makes it a no-compromise high-efficiency substitute for a bigger and heavier V6," Ecotec chief engineer Mike Anderson said.

"The 2,200 pounds per square inch of pressure that feeds the injectors provides a more atomized and precisely metered fuel spray to each cylinder before every combustion event," he added.

Engines with direct injection also warm up faster thanks to the ability to add a second injection pulse right before the spark plug ignites the fuel following a cold start. This faster warmup can cut emissions of unburned hydrocarbons by up to 25 percent.

According to General Motors, the 220 horsepower Regal Turbo with direct injection, the beat the Acura TSX by 19 hp and 88 pound-feet of torque from just 2,000 rpm while still achieving up to 32 mpg on the highway, an advantage of 4 mpg. And the Enclave, with direct injection, is the most fuel-efficient eight-passenger crossover--with an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

Direct injection has also shown fuel economy improvements of up to 3 percent on the Buick Enclave, LaCrosse, Regal, and the upcoming Verano.