The new Mini's spark

Spark plugs from NGK

Published:  28 July, 2014

Three new turbo-charged engines used in the new Mini now feature NGK spark plugs, coming off the factory line. The 1.2 and 1.5 litre variants are the VMs first three-cylinder engines and the 1.5 direct injection engine is intended to replace BMWs small capacity six-cylinder in-line engines and will also power the 1 Series and the i8. The M12 bi-hex double precious-metal type spark plug has an iridium tip on the centre electrode and a platinum chip on the ground electrode. It features an extended insulator and a cup-shaped terminal, giving an improved resistance against flashovers and electrical failure even at extreme ignition voltages. The part will also feature in the new Mini's premium model that features a 2.0-litre turbo-charged 192bhp four-cylinder engine. This replaces the 1.6-litre turbo-charged engine that previously featured in the Mini Cooper S.

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    NGK stresses the importance of changing all the glow plugs when one fails as it is likely that the remaining plugs will suffer the same fate as the faulty one being replaced. Replacing all at the same time will ensure the emissions target is met and also the starting and cold drive performance is kept at its maximum. The company is finding that vehicle manufacturers are specifying ceramic plugs rather than metal now - VMs to which recently use NGK glow plugs as original equipment include Fiat for its MPV and 500L Trekking and Volkswagen for the Golf VII. NGK also enjoys an ongoing relationship with Mercedes-Benz.

  • Spark plug ignites new Spider 

    NGK has just won the contract to supply OE spark plugs on the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider which was showcased earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show and is due to go into production in early 2015. The premium convertible will be powered by Alfa's four-cylinder, all aluminium, 1,742cc turbo petrol engine which takes it from 0 to 62mph in just 4.5 seconds, with a top speed in excess of 155mph. Tim Ward, Deputy General Manager - Sales & Marketing, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: "The news comes hot on the heels of the announcement that we are OE on the innovative Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid sports car and further demonstrates the technical excellence of our products and the work of our OE team in satisfying the demands of the world's leading vehicle manufacturers." NGK's ILKAR7D6G spark plug for the 4C Spider, was originally developed exclusively for the FIAT Group's high-output direct injection 1,750 TBi engines in 2009. Since then, it has been used in Alfa Romeo vehicles and other brands within the group including the Alfa Romeo 159, Spider, Giulietta and 4C.

  • Igniting a new urban crossover 

    The latest innovation from Renault leaves the factory line with NGK spark plugs. Spokesman Tim Ward comments: "We have had a long and successful relationship with Renault over many years and our spark plugs are used not only in its engines but also those produced in alliance with Nissan and Dacia." The Captur urban crossover is equipped with the Energy TCe 120 four-cylinder petrol engine and has an Efficient Dual-Clutch gearbox. The spark plug used has an extra-long reach M12 thread with a centre electrode which features an Iridium tip of 0.6mm diameter and a platinum tip on the ground electrode. The plugs have a 37,000 mile life and the gap of 0.7mm is said to stay almost unchanged during that time, thanks to the precious metal.

  • High tech sensors 

    NTK sensors are used in many new models as they come off the factory production line, including the Volkswagen Golf VII. The 1.2 TSI model uses a binary Lambda sensor of the OZAS-S type which regulates the mixture, the 1.4 TSI uses a linear ZFAS-U type as a regulating sensor and the OZAS-S type acts as a diagnostic sensor. NTK temperature sensors in diesel engines work with close coupled exhaust systems, a CTAS-T sensor controls the exhaust temperature upstream of the turbo charger. NGK is also the sole supplier of NTK Lambda sensors for Fiat's TwinAir engine with Fiat, capable of detecting the air-fuel ratio over a broad range of operating points. The company advises garages to fit a new NTK Lambda sensor whenever the cat is replaced - a worn or failed sensor can result in increased fuel consumption, uneven running and poor performance.

  • Double whammy 

    ACDelco's spark plugs range is set to double in the coming weeks and includes the array of ignition technologies available, including resistor, non-resistor, nickel and platinum-tipped electrode types. The plugs are designed to provide consistent starts in all weather, smooth engine idle and promote excellent fuel economy. ACDelco's Director, Lee Quinney says: "Once again we have a number of product range extension programmes that we will be introducing in 2014, spark plugs being one of the first."


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