5 Key Technical Parameters

Average engine power for new passenger cars in the EU increased to 93 kW, over 30% more than the average 10 years before.

Statistics on vehicle mass and CO2 emissions show that those countries and brands with bigger, heavier fleets also have the most powerful fleets, and vice versa. Germany’s fleet is significantly more powerful than the EU average (106 kW vs. 93 kW), while BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi produce cars even more above the average, at 140 kW, 128 kW, and 130 kW respectively. At the other end of the scale, the French, Italian, and Dutch fleets all come in around or below 80 kW, while Fiat’s average barely exceeds 60 kW. The power figures also display the effects of the economic crisis, with almost all countries’ average power dipping significantly between 2008 and 2010 (Fig. 5-1 and Fig. 5-2).

Both engine displacement and average number of cylinders are decreasing, especially since 2007. This is, in part, another effect of the economic crisis, but it also signals an underlying technological trend: improved combustion processes and turbo-charging allow manufacturers to extract more power from smaller engines. Thus, manufacturers are able to substitute a 6-cylinder engine for a 4-cylinder, and to generally reduce engine displacement (Fig. 5-5 to Fig. 5-12).

The average mass of new passenger cars in the EU decreased slightly to a level of 1,385 kg. Sweden (1,567 kg in 2015) and Germany (1,460 kg) have, on average, the heaviest cars in the EU; the Netherlands (1,335 kg) has the lightest (Fig. 5-13). The average size of the new fleet increased slightly, to a footprint of about 4.02 m2 (Fig. 5-19).