New front-drive platform will be used by VW Group firms by the middle of the next decade

Volkswagen is putting the finishing touches to a brand new front-wheel drive platform to be used by up to 60 models from Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen by the middle of the next decade.

Known as MQB (modularen querbaukasten or modular transverse engine mount architecture), the new structure will replace today’s PQ2, PQ3 and PQ4 platforms. The move, according to Wolfsburg insiders, will help save Volkswagen and its various offshoots up to a billion euros per year by streamlining production and creating greater economies of scale.

New VW Touareg for Detroit

The secret to the MQB is the way it provides for a common distance between the front axle and the pedals irrespective of the size of the car it is applied to. VW’s head of R&D, Ulrich Hackenberg, claims this will help reduce the number of front-wheel drive 'engine mounting architectures' used by Volkswagen from 18 today to just two.

The new platform design, which will make its debut on the next Audi A3, due in 2011, allows for a much greater variance in track width, wheelbase and wheel size than with Volkswagen’s existing transverse engine platforms, while allowing for both front drive and four-wheel drive.

“It gives us the possibility to produce models from different segments and in varying sizes using the same basic front-end architecture,” said Hackenberg. “We can go from a typical hatchback to a saloon, cabriolet and SUV with only detailed changes to the size of the wheel carriers.” He said it will be used on every model from the new Lupo all the way through to the next-generation Sharan.

The new architecture should provide between 60 and 70 per cent parts commonality between Volkswagen’s biggest-selling models. And as well as supporting petrol and diesel engines, it has been developed to support models using natural gas, liquid petroleum gas and ethanol. Modifications will also permit the inclusion of hybrid drive.

Greg Kable

Picture: Motorforecast

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Volkswagen reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

The Audi A3 is now in its third-generation and the premium hatchback ups the ante on quality once more

Join the debate

Comments
22

12 November 2009

Crikey, how old is the Sharan?

-------- 

I'm The Ωmega Man, always talking to myself

12 November 2009

An excellent teutonic business decision, I only hope the 2015 range of VW Group cars don't all drive like a bunch of clones.

Sensible to do this in our unforgiving climate but it leaves me cold.

Global Warming.. My Rs

12 November 2009

Makes perfect sense, more manufacturers should be doing this. There's no reason why, with proper re-engineering, each of the derived platforms can be very different from each other in character. Try driving a Fiat Coupe and a Fiat Tipo, same platform, don't feel anything like the same. Same with the DB7 Vantage and the Jag XJS and the old Jag XK, all derived from the same platofrm, all with different characteristics. Many platforms within brands are very similar to each other anyway. Its a hot topic whenever something, particularly something sporty, is derived from a supposedly non-sporty platform, but it shouldn't be. Lotus are thinking along the same lines, sort of, with their modular platform.

12 November 2009

I agree that there is huge sense in all this but historically the VW Mk4 Golf platform used across a big range of VW product shows how all of them lack driving verve in comparison with their competitors.

Hope history isn't repeated as from Bora to TT that platform made me snore.

Global Warming.. My Rs

12 November 2009

Sounds like very sound and clever engineering to me. However as a dummy how much does the platfrom entail. I assume it is the floorpan front bulkhead and rear pan but it cant include wheelarches for varying wheelbases and tracks or can it. Do you just bolt different suspension subframes to it to achieve different configurations.

Does a diagram exist to clear my muddied head or can an expert describe it to me in laymans terms.

12 November 2009

Yeah the old TT was a bit boring to drive, but I think they COULD have made it excellent, I truly believe it is down to what they do to the platform rather than the platform itself. By platform, I'm meaning the chassis principally.

12 November 2009

[quote Jaydub]

I agree that there is huge sense in all this but historically the VW Mk4 Golf platform used across a big range of VW product shows how all of them lack driving verve in comparison with their competitors.

Hope history isn't repeated as from Bora to TT that platform made me snore.

[/quote]

True, but on the other hand, the Mk5 Golf platform has received much praise for the way most of the variants drive, and they don't all feel like the same car in different bodyshells. Probably due to it being a much better starting point in the first place.

The Mk5 platform underpins the VW Golf in all its forms, Golf Estate, Golf Plus, Jetta, Passat, Eos, Tiguan, Touran, Caddy, Scirocco; the Audi A3, A3 Cabriolet, TT coupe and roadster; the Skoda Octavia in all its variants; the Seat Leon and Altima, and i can't remember what else.

12 November 2009

So this means virtually every single VAG car in future will share the same platform? LOL.

12 November 2009

I think most manufacturers share platforms between more than one model nowadays anyway, and lots share between brands as is noted, it seems like VW have pulled out all the stops with this and who can blame them?

The Mk5 Golf platform is a good example of a lesson learned, I hope the engineering team keep their ears to the ground and not become lacklustre again, any brand can become complacent.

Global Warming.. My Rs

12 November 2009

Although saying that the Passat is an example of the term, 'yawn inspiring' when compared to its competitors, so even the Mk5 platform shows where the engineers baton of verve can drop for VW.

Global Warming.. My Rs

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week