It’s a common perception that Chinese brand cars have unwanted “features” such as poor quality and old technology. But things are fast changing, and this latest piece of news is proof. Chinese carmaker Lifan, probably known outside its country as the maker of the “fake MINI”, has hired UK based engineering firm Ricardo to develop a 1.2-litre turbocharged direct injection gasoline engine.

Turbo, DI and 1.2 litres are the same ingredients as those in the Volkswagen Polo’s TSI engine, and this downsizing formula has been proven to be good for both pace and efficiency. While VW’s 1.2 TSI makes a healthy 105 PS and 175 Nm, Lifan is looking at 115 horses and 200 Nm of torque from the new Euro 5 engine, which will go into its 520 compact sedan.

Ricardo is no stranger to collaborating with Chinese companies. Back in 2008, they worked with Chery on hybrid cars for the Beijing Olympics, and in March, signed a deal to provide Great Wall with a modern gasoline engine and a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox.