By on January 13, 2014

Volkswagen-Passat-Blue Motion-Concept-7

This is the future of VW’s gas motors. Turbo 1.4L four cylinders with cylinder deactivation (A first for a four-cylinder, at least for the US), start/stop, and a unique “coasting” mode for the Dual Clutch Transmission(DCT), which allows the Passat to fully disengage the clutch, and thereby allowing the car to coast with the least amount of mechanical drag possible. Current DCT’s will keep the motor engaged while coasting and engine brake. Volkswagen-Passat-Blue-Motion-Concept-21Exterior details just include a special Reef Blue Metallic color, and the interior gets special two-tone seats for the concept. Otherwise, it’s what you expect from the current Passat. Why this over a TDi package? In some parts of the country, diesel is not as accessible or anywhere near as cheap as gasoline. And simply enough, there are those who simply don’t want a diesel. The image of the slow, clackity diesel engines of yore still sit in Americans’ memories. The Passat BlueMotion intends to close this fuel efficiency gap, and offer buyers a more conventional package.

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18 Comments on “NAIAS 2014: Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept, 42 mpg highway...”


  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “A first for a four-cylinder, at least for the US”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Civic Hybrid (also a 4 cylinder) feature cylinder deactivation during coasting?

    • 0 avatar
      Uncle Wainey

      You’re right. It closed the valves in up to three cylinders when coasting to reduce engine braking and thus maximize regenerative braking performance.

      I think the VW though is the first US market 4 cylinder to deactivate cylinders while under load, which is much more challenging in terms of dealing with NVH.

  • avatar
    rdchappell

    In before the overly broad reliability comments based on cars from 15 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Well, we already had mention of the smoky smelly claptrap diesels of 30 years ago…

    • 0 avatar
      jco

      have experience with a recent VW. certainly an improvement over the late 90s/ early 00s cars, but still annoyingly dependent on dealer visits for wacky electronic problems and troubling mechanical issues.

      nothing that would prevent me from buying a VW. but won’t keep it out of warranty..

      • 0 avatar
        rdchappell

        It’s just funny to me how every.single.article. about a Volkswagen product devolves into some sort of two minute hate session re: reliability, when in reality their modern mass market cars (Passat, Jetta, Golf) are no worse than say, Fords, and are probably better. As far as the late 90’s/early 2000s cars go, I see plenty of them on the road still, which you can’t say for every (Chrysler, cough) car from that era.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          I don’t know where you live, but out here in the greater Seattle area, VWs from that era (A3/B4s) are a rarity – I see far more of them every time I visit the local Pick-n-Pull yards than I do in a month on the road.

          I say this as a owner of a 1997 Passat TDI. I definitely take note every time I see another one in traffic (usually a TDI as well – it’s just not worth it to keep the VR6/autos running).

          And the B5 Passats were even worse than the B4s (I’ve personally changed out the window regulator/inner door panel twice within just a few years on the exact same B5) in many respects.

          To be fair, many of the other automakers have caught up to VW – cars are meant be used for a few years and then disposed of (before all of the plastic bits start breaking), much like modern computers and cell phones.

  • avatar
    tbone33

    All that added cost/stuff that could go wrong for a 13.5% fuel economy improvement over the Fusion? This is neat stuff, but I think I will wait to see how reliable these engines are.

  • avatar
    Onus

    I noticed this engines in European markets with the 7 speed DSG sounded quite interesting.

    VW can you please put it in the Jetta, and all i ask for is to change the last cheap thing. The damn gauges. Hard touch dash be damned as far as I’m concerned.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Wait!! A turbo-4 sees 40+ mpg? Say it ain’t so?!

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    That’s an awful lot of tech from a manufacturer that has a 50/50 shot of putting in a headliner correctly…

  • avatar

    Yeah thats all VW’s need….more complicated parts.

  • avatar
    brettc

    This engine has been in the Jetta hybrid for a couple of years now so adding the additional Bluemotion bits shouldn’t be a big deal in terms of things to break in the future. It sounds pretty good to get 42MPG out of a mid-sized non-hybrid sedan. Hopefully it actually achieves that number in real world conditions.

    On a related note, I would not want to pay for tire replacement on this car.

  • avatar
    manousos

    The VW 1.4-litre TSI ACT (cylinder deactivation system) was voted at the Engine Expo International as the “Best New Engine” of 2013.

    Quote from the Internet (test drive of the small VW POLO 1.4 TSI ACT):
    “Temporary shutoff of the second and third cylinders – in conjunction with an economical style of driving – reduces fuel consumption by over 0.5 liters per 100 kilometers.
    Even with two cylinders the excellently balanced 1.4 TSI runs just as quietly and with low vibration as with four active combustion chambers.”

    The consumption reduction comes from the fact that the two active cylinders of VW operate at substantially heavier load when the two others are deactivated.
    At light loads the efficiency of the spark ignition engine drops a lot.
    The bad thing with VW’s solution is that the deactivated cylinders still have pistons and piston rings reciprocating inside them consuming energy as friction.

    When the VW ACT engine operates at partial loads, it pays its vibration-free quality / smoothness / quietness with the friction (mechanical energy loss) of moving a pair of “useless” pistons / sets of piston rings.

    If the two deactivated pistons could be removed, the reduction of the fuel consumption would double (?), as well as the vibrations and the noise.

    Unless I am wrong, the two middle cylinders of VW ACT engine are the only ones that are deactivated. What is the long-term effect on the engine after, say, 100.000 miles? Is it clever to operate at heavy load the two “worn” cylinders and leave the actually “unused” pair of cylinders idle? Does it reduce the TBO?

    By the way, the “cylinder deactivation” in Diesels is not so good because the friction of the idle cylinders is bigger and because the thermal efficiency of the Diesels at partial loads is not bad.

    What the VW Passat TSI ACT proves is that a single combustion per crankshaft rotation is acceptable / adequate for small and medium size cars (a four-stroke with two active cylinders has one combustion per each rotation of the crankshaft).

    The same is proved by the four-stroke two-cylinder TwinAir engine of FIAT / Chrysler used in several small / medium size cars like the New Alfa Romeo Mito TwinAir. In this case (true twin cylinder engine) the absence of another pair of “driven / inactive / power consuming” cylinders reduces the friction and increases the mileage (as well as the inertia vibrations and the noise).

    A well balanced internal combustion engine having one combustion (i.e. one power pulse) per crankshaft rotation seems as the future for “green” small-medium size cars.

    With the cylinder-liner rid of intake and exhaust ports, the single-cylinder two-stroke PatPortLess engine at http://www.pattakon.com/pattakonPatPortLess.htm combines among others:
    true “four-stroke” lubrication,
    true “four-stroke” specific lube consumption,
    true “four-stroke” scuffing resistance,
    true “four-stroke” emissions,
    and one combustion per crankshaft rotation, i.e. as much as the VW Passat 1.4 TSI ACT (at partial loads) and as much as the Alfa Romeo Mito TwinAir.

    As for the smoothness / “vibration-free” quality of the single-cylinder PatPortLess, it is comparable to that of the four-in-line of VW Passat 1.4 TSI ACT and it is substantially better than that of the two-cylinder TwinAir of FIAT / Alfa Romeo (last GIF animation in the abovementioned web page).

    So, would you consider buying a small – medium size car having a single cylinder engine?

    Thanks
    Manolis Pattakos

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    A lot of new technology here, given all the comments on TTAC about Volkswagen’s reliability (or the lack thereof) it will be interesting to
    see how this plays out.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Besides for 4-cylinder cylinder deactivation this isn’t new tech for VW in the US. What we have here is basically a Jetta Hybrid drivetrain (which is fun to geek out on, active temp management on intake and exhaust manifolds) minus the electric motors. Correct me if I’m wrong but the 1.4T is also a volume Golf motor in Europe. It’s probably aimed directly at CAFE requirements here in the US.

    It seems to me that declutching the engine while coasting only saves fuel if the engine is also off on the start/stop cycle. Otherwise you would be replacing engine braking time with idling time, which is less fuel efficient. That’s what the Jetta Hybrid does, but that car has alternative propulsion so I’m not sure if that would be the case with this Passat. Either way, if it’s the DSG from the Jetta then going into manual mode seems to keep the engine hooked up for deceleration.


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