General Motors Corp. is Quick to Point out its current pressurized 4- and 6-cyl. engines offer equal performance and better efficiency than many of its larger, normally aspirated V-6s and V-8s.

But when the new '11 Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan and Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle come to market in two years, they will take to a new level GM's pledge to replace larger powertrains with advanced, fuel-stingy I-4 engines.

Powering the cars will be a pair of diminutive 1.4L mills sourced from a new $370 million, 552,000-sq.-ft. (51,282-sq.-m) plant GM plans to build at its powertrain campus in Flint, MI.

The engines stem from GM's 0 (zero) powertrain family, which includes 1.0L 3-cyl. and 1.2L and 1.4L I-4 layouts, introduced in Europe in 1997 and developed in Russelsheim, Germany.

Updated for the U.S. market, the normally aspirated variant will power the Volt's electric-drive motors when its battery is depleted, while the Cruze will introduce the range's first turbocharged variant, a GM executive says.