General Motors says its 2011 Buick Regal Turbo is the first direct-injected turbocharged production car capable of running on any blend of gasoline or E85 ethanol.

GM says the Buick Regal joins more than 5 million flex-fuel models General Motors has produced during the last 15 years.

The turbocharged Ecotec 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine that powers the Regal will help, GM claims, reach its goal of offering more than 50% of its production in flex-fuel models by the end of 2012.

Compared to earlier versions of the 2.0L Ecotec turbo, GM adds its powertrain engineers have upgraded the new engine to accommodate both E85 and to incorporate refinement.

Since ethanol requires a richer air-fuel mixture than gasoline, flex-fuel engines need higher flow-rate injectors.  However, a flex-fuel engine can potentially have any combination of gasoline or up to 85% ethanol in the tank, so a sensor in the fuel system measures the blend in real-time. 

This allows the engine management system to automatically adjust the mixture to provide improved performance and reduced emissions and fuel consumption. 

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