Continental Unveils New 300-hp Diesel

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As it promised it would, Continental Motors on Tuesday pulled the wraps off its new 300-hp aerodiesel, giving the company the largest range of Jet-A fueled piston engines in the industry. The company has also rejiggered the branding of the engines, dropping the Centurion nameplate in favor of three model families, the CD 100, 200 and 300 series. Continental CEO Rhett Ross also said the company’s 100-series engines (the former Centurion 2.0 and eventually the 2.0S) will see higher time-between-replacement intervals early next year.

At an afternoon press conference in Oshkosh, Ross unveiled the new CD300 which, like the original Thielert line, is based on automotive technology. Although Ross declined to name the automotive source, the engines bears a strong resemblance to the Mercedes-Benz OM642, the only large-displacement, large-volume automotive diesel that shares the same specs. “It is an automotive basis, but it’s starting to deviate from our history of focusing exclusively on an automotive basis,” Ross said. “This engine is not a clean sheet design from the core engine components; however, by the time we’re done, it will be a clean sheet production engine,” he added. Furthermore, Ross said, the CD300's engine production will shift away from the horizontal model to a more vertical method Continental is beginning to use in its Germany manufacturing plant.

The engine is a V-6 design with high-pressure, common-rail fuel injection, twin turbochargers and an overhear valve train. Like Continental's 100-series engines, the CD300 has a large reduction gearbox unit and uses a dual-mass flywheel device to isolate the propeller from the diesel's strong torque pulses. The engine has run in test cells and recently flew in a Cirrus testbed at the company's Altenburg, Germany facility. 

Ross said the CD300 will initially have 310 hp, but Continental is considering power ranges up to 350 hp, if the there’s market demand for it. “Would there be enough to support the heavy investment in going up that high? We want to see if there’s going to be cabin class aircraft coming down the pipeline that could use it,” Ross said. Continental says the CD300’s weight is 560 pounds, a bit less than 100 pounds heavier than an equivalent Continental gasoline engine. Ross said Continental hopes to have the CD300 certified in about two years.  

AVweb will have a video on the new engine later in the week.