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Hyundai Unveils Direct-Injection I-4

We've yet to see the all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata, but this is our first peek at the direct-injection four-cylinder engine that will power it.

Built upon the 2.4-liter "Theta" I-4, the Theta II GDI is Hyundai's first direct-injection engine, and represents the fruit of a $147 million investment.

We've not yet seen the engine in its U.S.-spec form, but for the Korean market, it is rated at 198 hp at 6300 rpm, and 185 lb-ft of torque at 4250 rpm. In comparison, a stock 2.4-liter I-4 in the current Sonata produces 175 hp at 6800 rpm and 168 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.

Like the non-direct-injected 2.4, the new engine continues to use dual variable valve timing and an aluminum block. Engineers have tweaked the DI-engine to reinforce the block, reduce the weight of the crankshaft, and reduce internal friction.

Hyundai will launch the engine in the all-new Sonata within a matter of months, but the company says it plans on expanding the use of direct-injection technology throughout its portfolio over the next few years.

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