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The subject of this paper is a multiple sliding surface controller that is adopted to automotive engine control at idle condition. The control task is to hold the engine speed and the torque reserve at their reference values despite parameter uncertainties, variations in the intake-to-torque-production delay, or even in the case of external load torque disturbances. Additionally, the dead start of the vehicle is intensively studied and an appropriate extension of the controller with an internal switching law is developed. A validated nonlinear simulation model is used to evaluate the performance and the robustness of the closed-loop system. Furthermore, experimental results show the effectiveness of the proposed control design.