The most powerful version of the rather handsome new Volkswagen Passat is a four-cylinder diesel.

With quite complicated plumbing arrangements, this engine is force-fed by twin turbos, one low pressure and one high, and to pretty good effect given the 369lb ft of torque that you can undam from 1750rpm. The blower’s turbines are of different sizes, and arranged to ensure that you’re rarely short of the kind of low rev thrust that diesels are so good at delivering.

But while engineering this was an effort, it appears to have been nothing compared to the challenge of persuading the Wolfsburg management to approve an engine capable of delivering enough thrust for a range-topping Passat.

According to VW’s head of product development Jens Andersen, the powertrain department presented several engines to the board, including a transverse five cylinder, a transverse six (it was too wide with the gearbox, he says) and the final twin-turbo four among others.