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Engine Epic Part 4 - Subaru, Daihatsu, Suzuki and Isuzu

Here's the fourth installment of our series on modern hi-po engines. This week, we've focussed on Subaru, Daihatsu, Suzuki and Isuzu motors ranging from 550 to 3318cc capacity. That covers engines from 47 to a 194kW rated power output.

By Michael Knowling

Click on pics to view larger images

Instead of covering some of the smaller manufacturers' engines in separate features, we've rolled four of them into one. Subaru have come of age recently in the high-performance stakes, and are currently knocking on the door of supercar performance with their flat-four turbo Imprezas. Daihatsu (a division of Toyota) operate on a relatively small budget but have produced a few impressive little engines to compete in the 660 and sub-1000cc segments. Suzuki are in the same financial boat, with the G13B twin-cam 16 valve being their most famous creation. Isuzu (as well as making light truck engines!) also make a couple of turbocharged fours that have earned a strong reputation for durability.

Here's how all these engines can be identified:


EJ = Engine family (flat four)

EA = Engine family (flat four)

EG = Engine family (flat six)

ER = Engine family (flat six)

EN = Engine family (four cylinder)

07 = 660cc

18 = 1.8 litre

20 = 2.0 litre

22 = 2.2 litre

25 = 2.5 litre

27 = 2.7 litre

33 = 3.3 litre


CB = Engine family (one litre 3 cylinder)

60 = SOHC 6 valve carby turbo

70 = DOHC 12 valve EFI intercooled turbo

EF-JL = Engine family (660cc 3 cylinder)

EB = Engine family (550cc 3 cylinder)

HC = Engine family (1300 four cylinder)

HE = Engine family (1500 four cylinder)

HD = Engine family (1600cc four cylinder)

-E = EFI


G = Engine family (4 cylinder)

F = Engine family (3 cylinder 660cc)

13 = 1.3 litre

16 = 1.6 litre

A = Engine generation

B = Engine generation


G = Engine family

4Z = Engine family



The first performance-oriented horizontally opposed six that Subaru produced was the ER27. Released in the Vortex 2-door in the mid/late 1980s, the 2.7 litre fuel injected engine made a reasonable 112kW at 5200 rpm. But it was, however, only Subaru's first attempt at a mass produced six.

Its successor, the now discontinued EG33, came as factory fitment to the stylish SVX 2-door. Boasting 3318cc, 24 valves and DOHC, this engine made a more impressive 179kW at 6000 rpm, complimented by 309Nm at 4800 rpm. Unfortunately this engine never came with a factory turbo option, but because its design is very similar to the EJ20 turbo 4 cylinder, it may be possible for aftermarket tuners to find something spectacular lurking in these engines. It would definitely make an exciting sight!

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The most famous Subaru flat four of all time is the EJ20T single turbo engine. Featuring quad cams, 16 valves and a fuel injected intercooled turbo system, it is able to push out up to 165kW at 6400, along with 270Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. A twin-turbo version of this engine can also be found in the current Japanese-spec Legacy GT. With sequential turbo staging, boost response is said to be excellent - which is just the thing to go along with its stock 194kW at 6500 rpm...

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However, the EJ-series of engines also include 1.8, 2.0, 2.2 and 2.5 litre naturally aspirated versions. Most relevant is the '95 released EJ25, which makes a total of 119kW at 6000 rpm and 211Nm at 2800 rpm (which basically means if you want real power, go for the turbo EJ20!).

Prior to the release of the EJ motor was the tough-as-nails EA flat four. It came in both naturally aspirated and non intercooled turbo form to make up to 101kW at 5600 rpm (the turbo engine, that is). While these engines aren't outright screamers, they were very successful in the rally scene in the all-wheel-drive RX sedan - probably due to their reliability.

Subaru's smallest four is the EN07. Able to fit into any of the Subaru front wheel drive micros, these 658cc supercharged four cylinder engines are still good for up to 48kW (with 88Nm at 4000) at 6400 rpm in DOHC form. Who knows, maybe sometime we'll see a STi enhanced Subaru Fiori/Vivio blazing around a racetrack?! (MK has forgotten the stunning success of the supercharged Vivio in rallying.... Ed)



Daihatsu has released three different capacity four cylinders - the HC-E 1.3, HE-E 1.5 and HD-EG 1.6 litre. The 1.3 and 1.5 are credited with 66kW and around 85kW respectively.

However largest engine - the 1.6 HD-EG - produces a peak power of 93kW at 6300 rpm with quite strong torque. While these engines aren't commonly modified for extra power, they are very reliable and perform respectably.


Oddball enough, small car tweakers here in Australia have really picked up the Daihatsu CB70 motor. With twin cams, 12 valves, EFI, air-to-air intercooler and a (large-ish) turbo, the small wonder is good for 78kW at 6500 rpm in standard form! Further to this, simple boost, intake and exhaust mods can easily give another 35% power.

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This potent hi-tech engine was based on the early '80s CB60 SOHC carby turbo engine, which made a then-impressive 50kW.

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Smaller still, the 660cc EF-JL engine uses a single cam, 12 valves, EFI and an intercooled turbo to produce 45kW at 7500 rpm. Recently, this engine was also updated with the availability of a twin cam head, but due to power restrictions in Japan peak power remains similar. The first of these extra-small turbo threes was the EB engine, which like the CB60 used a single cam and carby induction. Its power output is thought to be around 40kW.


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Undoubtedly the most acclaimed hi-performance Suzuki car engine is the G13B. First released in the 1986 Swift/Cultas GTi, this 1297cc 16 valve DOHC injected engine saw a peak output (in Japan) of 86kW at 7500 rpm alongside 110Nm of torque at a high 6500 rpm. Part of the reason for its high specific power output can be attributed to its compression ratio (up to 11.5:1), excellent head flows and highly efficient inlet and exhaust systems.

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A larger capacity version of this engine, the G16A, was later released with the primary intent of powering heavier vehicles. With more torque available at lower revs, it did however run out of breath quite early and was flat-out making 74kW at 6000 rpm. For the ultimate Suzuki four, bolt the G13B head to the G16A block as we've discussed at "Head Start"


Suzuki offers a reasonable range of three cylinder turbo engines.

It all started with the late '80s SOHC F6A 660cc with its 6 valves, EFI and turbocharger that enabled it to make a base 43kW at 5500 rpm with 86Nm at 3500. However, this grew to up to 47kW and 87Nm later in its production life. What certainly it did do was pave the way for other Suzi threes.

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Based on the same block, the DOHC F6A and F6B now make the same 47kW at 6500 rpm and 7000 rpm respectively but there is a lot more potential for more. A smaller 550cc engine, the F5B, was also born at about the same time and it was good for 47kW at 7500 rpm. There have been several versions of each of these engines, with some designed to suit FWD, RWD or 4WD, but all produce more or less similar power and torque due to the Kei-class vehicle power regulations in place in Japan.



The most ferocious Isuzu performance four is the 4XE1 Turbo, which displaces 1588cc and sports DOHCs, 16 valves EFI and an intercooled turbo. It pumps out an impressive 134kW at 6600 rpm, complemented by 208Nm of torque at 4800 rpm. This transverse engine came out in selected countries under the nose of the JT-series Gemini 4WD. This engine also comes in naturally aspirated form (the 4XE1) to deliver a 7200 rpm peak of 104kW and up to 142Nm of torque.

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Next is the 4ZC1 that came in Australian-delivered Holden Piazza turbos. Displacing 2 litres, it uses an air-to-air intercooler, EFI, SOHC, 8 valves to push out 110kW at 5400 rpm and 225Nm at 3400. This engine is RWD only. One of the engines that started it all off for Isuzu was the Lotus-inspired G180 DOHC, which put out up to 97kW at 6400 rpm from its injected 8 valve DOHC design. But the "big daddy" of the G-engines was the G200 DOHC, with the same basic design but 101kW at 6200 and 167Nm at 5000. These are widely regarded as super-strong engines that are capable of taking quite a hiding.

Subaru, Daihatsu, Suzuki and Isuzu Modern Performance Motors at a Glance:


EG33 179kW
ER27 112kW

EJ20 turbo 165kW
EJ20 twin turbo 194kW
EJ25 119kW
EA82 turbo 101kW
EN07 48kW


HC-E 66kW
HE-E 85 kW approx
HD-EG 93kW

CB70 78kW
CB60 50kW
EF-EL 45kW
EB 40kW approximately


G13B 86kW
G16A 74kW

F6A 47kW
F5B 47kW


4XE1 turbo 134kW
4XE1 104kW
4ZC1 110kW
G180 DOHC 101kW
G200 DOHC 97kW

Next in Engine Epic we'll tackle the hi-po Australian engines!

Engine Epic Part 8 - Mitsubishi Engines
Engine Epic Part 7 - Mazda and Honda
Engine Epic Part 6 - Jaguar
Engine Epic Part 5 - Aussie Engines
Engine Epic Part 3 - BMW
Engine Epic Part 2 - Toyotas
Engine Epic Part 1 - Nissans

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