In this work, various techniques are numerically investigated to estimate the potential CO2 emission reduction of a commercial engine coupled to a reference vehicle. The considered thermal unit is a downsized turbocharged spark-ignition Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) engine, with a Compression Ratio (CR) of 10. In order to improve its thermodynamic efficiency, preserving the original full-load torque, various technologies are considered, including the adoption of an increased CR, the introduction of an external low-pressure cooled EGR circuit, and the employment of a ported Water Injection (WI) system. Analyses are carried out by a 1D commercial software (GT-Power™), enhanced by refined user-models for the description of in-cylinder processes, namely turbulence, combustion, heat transfer and knock. The latter were validated with reference to the base engine architecture in previous activities. To minimize the Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC) all over the engine operating plane, the control parameters of the base and modified engines are calibrated based on PID controllers. The calibration procedure is also verified with a direct fuel consumption minimization carried out by an external optimizer. The calibration provides the optimal spark advance, air-to-fuel ratio, waste-gate opening, and VVA setting, complying with limitations on knock intensity, turbine inlet temperature, boost level, and in-cylinder pressure. The performance and calibration maps are computed for various combinations of the above technologies, including a two-stage CR system, and are compared to the ones related to the base architecture. The results show that EGR offers some BSFC benefits at low load, mainly thanks to the pumping work reduction, while it is practically ineffective for knock mitigation at high load. On the contrary, WI has the potential to substantially increase the knock resistance, improving the fuel consumption at high load. No advantages are indeed detected with WI under knock-free operation. Computed BSFC maps are then embedded in a vehicle model with the aim of estimating the CO2 emission of a segment A vehicle over a WLTC. The proposed results give a clear outlook of the above technique potentials and offer a guideline to assess the trade-off between engine complexity and improved CO2 emission.