Fuel efficiency is one of the largest driving forces of vehicle development, but it often comes at a price—literally, and in terms of driving dynamics. While conventional gas-powered cars have made remarkable strides, it’s diesels and hybrids that have provided us a true leap forward. But prejudices against diesels in this country remain, and hybrids often fail to deliver on their EPA-estimated mileage claims—not to mention both are expensive. That’s where Volkswagen’s Passat BlueMotion concept, to be launched at next week’s Detroit auto show, comes in.
VW has fitted its mid-size family sedan with a 1.4-liter turbocharged
four-cylinder, no batteries or electrical trickery, and the brand claims
its show car would be good for 42 mpg on the highway. That number is
extremely close to what the Passat TDI can achieve on the highway: 43 mpg.
The Passat BlueMotion concept's 1.4-liter turbo belongs to the EA211
family, closely related to the engines offered in the European-market
Polo and Golf. The direct-injected engine is fitted with a stop-start
system and cylinder deactivation. Under light loads, the third and
fourth cylinders’ fuel is cut off—a procedure that is almost impossible
to detect, as we can attest from experience behind the wheel of a
Euro-spec Polo thusly equipped.
Mated to a seven-speed dry dual-clutch automatic, the 1.4-liter produces
150 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. That’s 20 horses down on the
current entry-level powerplant, a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter
five-cylinder, but a further 7 lb-ft. And the five-cylinder Passat is
rated for a mere, in comparison, 32 mpg on the highway.
Thanks to: Car and Driver