Austin Metro Engine
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About The Austin Metro Engine
The Metro is a super mini car that was produced by the Austin Rover Group division of British Leyland and its successors. It was launched in 1980 as the Austin mini Metro.
The Mini-Metro was introduced in 1980 and was quickly seen as a good car in the small car range, but it was not to displace the Mini which remains in production today. Powered by the ever faithful A-series engine; mounted transversely with the gearbox in a unit underneath the engine. In 1981, much to everyone's surprise, British Leyland announced an MG version of the Metro saloon. British Leyland had expended much time and effort on the task of replacing the A-Series engine, but the trouble was that it was capable of delivering fantastic fuel consumption figures thanks in no small part to its excellent torque characteristics and thermal efficiency. Because of this, the A-Series became a victim of its own success: why produce a replacement, when there was doubt that anything new that was produced would be any better to drive?
More than 20 years of development in its transverse location had made sure that there were no problems with the 1275cc A-series engine, which had been used in the Mini Cooper S and the MG Midget.
When fitted with the turbocharger the engine output was increased by a useful margin, power was up from 72 to 93bhp, but this highlighted the inadequacies of the "long-legged" wide gearbox ratios, especially if the turbo was not producing its full designed measure of boost.
The Mini remained A-Series powered all through its life, starting out with just 34bhp in 1959, and ending its days with the 63bhp, twin-point injection unit developed in 1997 by Rover.
Metro Engine Performance
Whilst most of the engines do not really give a whole lot of difference in performance, the one outstanding version is the MG Metro engine. Where the majority of the variously similar power plants put out around 63-65bhp, the MG metro achieves a more spirited 70-74bhp. This is due to a higher compression ratio (10 -1), larger inlet valve (35.7mm instead of 33.3mm), and - mainly - a more sporty camshaft with half-decent induction and exhaust systems. The inlet manifold being a reasonably good flowing, water heated aluminium example.
Rover finally got the hint having witnessed the prolific after market fitment. The exhaust manifold is a cast iron 'LCB' style with a pair of exhaust downpipes instead of the more common single item and works very efficiently. A bonus of this over the more common after-market steel-tube LCBs is that it is much quieter by dint of absorbing more exhaust 'noise'. Coupled to a pair of Mani-flow tubular steel downpipes it is very nearly as efficient as a full tubular steel manifold. The cylinder head is more along the lines of the old Cooper S spec and in fact can flow slightly more air than its predecessor, the camshaft being the sportiest fitted to any production A-series engine. It uses the inlet profile and timing of the original 997 Cooper cam and the exhaust specification of the old Leyland Special Tuning '731' fast road cam.
Metro engine changes
In 1990 it was officially relaunched as the Rover Metro, heavily revised and fitted with a new range of engines. The ageing 998 cc and 1275 cc A-Series engines - which had been in use since the late 1950s - gave way to the K-Series 8 valve engines and a 16 valve engine in the GTi (early variants were 95 bhp (71 kW) Spi & later Mpi version 103 bhp) and the early GTa.
Latterly this car has attracted an enthusiastic following including use as a low-cost entry to motor racing. The basic just-over-100 bhp (70 kW) engine for the GTI can be boosted to over 130 hp (97 kW) at the flywheel. For ultimate performance the 1.8 K-series engine, with standard cams or VVC (Variable Valve Control) system.
Metro 6R4 rally car shared the name of the production Metro as it featured a mid-mounted engine. The resulting car was shown to the world in May 1985. It was powered by a David Wood designed bespoke 3-litre V6 engine which used some of the engine architecture of the Cosworth DFV. The engine was a break from the norm, as it wasn't turbocharged as the majority of its competitors were. The engine was mounted back to front in the car, with the forward end of the engine facing the hatchback and the gearbox attached conventionally behind it and, therefore, in the middle of the vehicle. The rear differential was mounted on the side of the engine sump with one driveshaft running through the sump to the nearside rear wheel.
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