During the 9th International Technical Conference on Vehicle Safety Experiments at Kyoto, Japan (November 1982), Alfa Romeo presented two experimental cars on the bases of the Alfasud 1.5 Quadrifoglio Oro. ESVAR was built to save as much energy as possible. SVAR was the product of special developments the Alfa Romeo engineers had made to improve imopact safety and passenger protection in a possible crash.

ESVAR (Energy Saving Vehicle Alfa Romeo) was designed to save fuel. A decrease in fuel consumption should be achieved without that the car's layout would become to expensive to be produced in mass production. So, first, the engineers tried to reduce fuel ESVARconsumption with the classical and already known possiblities. They changed the gear ratios, reduced the rolling resistance, reduced the weight of the car and improved aerodynamics. The rolling resistance and the weight reduction (76 kg less than a serial 1.5 QO) where improved first, so that aerodynamic changes could be optimated to the maximum. To reduce the cw number to 0.33, the engineers made use of a larger front air dam, special hub caps and a rear spoiler. The next point to optimate was the engine. Although special gear ratios could contribute to an improved fuelAlfasud Boxer engine with CEM technique and fuel injection. efficiency, all the efforts would not be successful without an improved engine performance. To achieve a better power output and a higher peak torque together with a decreased fuel consumption, fuel had to be burned more completely. So the 1490 cm³ Boxer engine was equiped with a specially created electronic engine management and fuel injection. A system called CEM controled fuel supply and ignition. The igintion timing was made more widely controllable. The microprocessor managed to give the engine a lean-burn characteristic. The compression ratio was increased from 9,5:1 to 10,2:1. By the way, the exaust emissions became much cleaner. In additon, a cut off system was introduced which could stop the injection of fuel during the up-stroke of the piston. But CEM was even capable of doing more. Never before in the history of fuel engines, a 1500 cm³ four cylinder engine had been equiped with a cylinder shut-down system. During light load and idling phases, CEM shut down two of the four cylinders. Sensors in the induction ports related the angle of the throttle valves to the speed of the engine and to the state of ignition advance and automatically cut off two cylinders when possible.
The result of all improvements on the engine was a much higher torque. The power output stayed the same (95 bhp), but peak power was now developped at 5400 rpm instead at 6000 rpm. Because of all the aerodynamic improvements on the body of ESVAR, it could achieve a top speed of 185 kph. A usual 1.5 QO made 174 kph.
The decreased weight gave the car better acceleration times: ESVAR could accelerate from rest to a 100 kph  in 9,8 instead of 10,7 seconds and passed a kilometre after 1,25 seconds less than a serial 1.5 QO.
Of course, fuel consumption was reduced, too: Only 7,7 l went throught the combustion chambers in the urban cycle, at a constant speed of  90 kph it was 5 l and at a constant speed of  100 kph 5,6 l were needed for a 100 km.

SVAR (Synthesis Vehicle Alfa Romeo) used all improvements of ESVAR, but was actually intended to give the passengers more active and passive safety. Therefor, the engineers placed longitudinally corrugated stiffening SVARalloy sections into the doors. Today this feature is known as side impact protection and has become standart equipment in nearly every car. The body was stiffened with additional alloy reinforcements to achieve a better passenger safety in highspeed front and rear impacts. Especially the front of the car profited of this reinforcements. The strengthened roof and a new redesigned bonnet panel also contributed to the improved impact safety. While the aerodynamical development on ESVAR was aimed at a reduced fuel consumption, SVAR wasSVAR - Reinforcements of the body. restyled to get a better drag coefficient. The effect of lateral wind on the body and handling of the car was another point which was improved. The new redesigned rearwing should contribute to a higher stability at topspeed.

All stiffenings and other measures increased the kerb weight by 54 kg. SVAR reached the same topspeed as ESVAR. Only acceleration times changed and became a little slower (10,1 seconds from rest to 100 kph). The standing start 1 km run needed about half a second more time. Of course, SVAR was not only built to be forgotten in a museum. So it had to verify its saftey improvements in hard crash-tests. It had to cope with a 40 mph blow on the front quarter with a barrier angled at SVAR as a cutaway picture.30 degrees. And this without a fuel leak or a door that would burst open. But it came even worse for "poor" SVAR. The next test was a 50 kph side impact which should end without any door-opening, body crushing or fuel spillage.

Both prototypes were also tested at Alfa Romeo's own test track at Balocco to control if any of the 
mprovements had changed the basic roadholding characteristics of the cars.  ESVAR and SVAR already had the brake system of the Alfa 33 with outboardly mounted front discs and rear drums which could later on also be found in the Sprint. The new rear beam-axle of the Alfa 33 was also included in the two prototypes.

Meanwhile most of the improvements have become standart equipment in every Alfa Romeo.


Last Update: May, 28th 2004      Created: October, 28th 2000

© Layout und Text by Tim Rauen. The photos of this page are published with the permission of  Alfa Romeo S.p.a.