Downsizing is the new buzz word at Volkswagen. But its not that existing models are getting smaller – it’s engines. Driven by spiralling fuel prices and ever-stringent emissions regulations, the push is on to introduce a range of small-capacity units with low fuel consumption and small CO2 emissions, but big power.
It’s a tough task, but if the first of VW’s new engines, the Twincharger unit driven here, is anything to go by VW could be on to something big. Fitted to the new Golf GT, the 16-valve 1.4-litre unit utilises both a supercharger and turbocharger. The supercharger, which operates at a maximum of 1.8bar, boosts low-end response and flattens the torque curve, while the turbocharger, which hits 2.5bar, strengthens the top end. Added to this is VW’s FSI direct-injection petrol technology, delivering fuel at high pressure for added combustion efficiency.
The new engine develops 168bhp at 6000rpm and 177lb ft of torque from 1750rpm to 4500rpm, 20bhp and 30lb ft more than the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre FSI unit. But it’s the way the new engine performs out on the road that impresses the most. There’s serious pull from the off, with 148lb ft available from 1250rpm, while it is also responsive, flexible and linear well beyond 2400rpm, where the supercharger begins to disengage.