A 1.4L that makes 177 ft-lbs of torque from 1500rpm, 178hp, and gets 45mpg in stock configuaration...Is using the technology mostly for marketing reasons?? Complicated (i.e. "technology") is the name of the new efficiency game. Old technology just isn't going to do it anymore.
That's pretty much what the marketeers want you to think. I only watched a few rather painful minutes of the Lemans coverage, but it struck me that the engineering guy from GM said " It's all about marketing now ".
The first article didn't mention 45 MPG. These numbers are abstract - there isn't really any context. That's one of my suspicions...
If they are concerned about milage, I would like to see how this improves the fuel specific at 20 HP output. This motor must weigh a great deal for a 20 HP motor, which is what it will spend it's life ( more then %90 ) doing.
Why would you be excited about how much power it produces per litre? That is marketing. It comes from tax laws and racing rules. Power per displacement is meaningless ( mostly), because displacement is not a cost. Fuel consumption, weight, complexity, materials and manufacturability are costs.
These "efficient" engines have been huge failures in airplane use. I think that speaks volumes. Airplanes are much more sensitive to actual issues of physics then cars. Cars are sensitive to issues of marketing, because anything can move a car - except for actual flesh and blood horses.
Car manufactures have failed big time at making airplane engines. Their engines, including the most powerful racing ones have been unable to achieve their power for more then seconds at a time. They heavily depend on corners for a relief. Those big, inefficient airplane engines withstand 100 hour throttle pulls at max power. I was so grateful... Some folks have tried these high power auto engines at the Reno races a few years ago. They died. I don't know the current status...