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.
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.