Opel says the 1.0-litre turbo petrol, known as SGE (small gasoline engine), represents a new benchmark for refinement in three-cylinder engines, with noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics superior to many four cylinder units.
Developing 115PS, the powerful engine delivers generous low-end torque of 166Nm all the way from 1,800 to 4,700rpm, despite its small size.
The 1.0-litre spark ignition direct injection (SIDI) turbo generates more torque throughout its operating range than equally powerful, higher displacement engines, while fuel efficiency is improved by 20 per cent.
Set to appear in the ADAM next year with an all-new six-speed gearbox, the 12-valve turbo is the first in a new, modular Opel family of three and four-cylinder petrol engines up to 1.6 litres.
State-of-the-art technologies, such as direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, and a lightweight aluminium cylinder-block, are key to the engine's efficiency.
Opel expects the new engine family to deliver impressive fuel economy and CO2 emissions significantly lower than 100g/km.
"In developing this small engine, we not only set out to minimise fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, we also wanted to demonstrate that three cylinders can be just as refined as four or more," said Dr Matthias Alt, Chief Engineer, Small Gasoline Engines.
"We tackled at source the balance, noise and vibration issues typical of conventional three-cylinder engines, and we're confident customers will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
"This is a very lively and refined three-cylinder engine which doesn't compromise driving fun."