When a concept car is introduced at a major auto show, it provides a glimpse into the future of an automaker’s next model. Some concepts are really cool. Some are not. Most never make it into production. A few do. The Baja Bug-inspired VW New Beetle Dune Concept was unveiled at the 2000 Los Angeles Auto Show. It was an off-road-ready New Beetle powered by a 2.3-liter VR5 that sent its power to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
More than a decade later, a similar, but water-downed, Beetle Dune Concept was shown at the 2014 North American International Auto Show. That car was raised two inches, had a 210 horsepower engine, a cool ski rack, but was front wheel drive. That concept car finally made it into production this year with relatively minor changes — but should it have?
For all its foibles, I loved the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine in the Volkswagen parts bin. It provided an audible grunt you couldn’t get anywhere else for the same amount of money and, in its early days, was the best way to buy cheap torque without going diesel or turbo.
Volkswagen is reviving a historic (or infamous, depending on your perspective) nameplate for the 2014 model year, as it drops the 2.5L 5-cylinder engine. In its place is a 1.8L four-cylinder engine making 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque.
The MQB invasion is here, and we no longer have to deal with the awful 2.5L 5-cylinder engine. Three engines will be available on the MK7 Golf. A 1.8T 4-cylinder making 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, the familiar 2.0TDI (silver car) and of course, the 2.0T gasoline motor in the GTI.
I have a 1.8T GTI, owned since new and more or less problem-free. Its clutch went early, and it occasionally eats a sensor, but otherwise it’s been a contrast to the image of VWs as unreliable money-pits. Now, this is a MKIV, which if you listen to Jeremy Clarkson or any of the VWvortex boffins, is about as desirable as an 80-year old Russian lady with the clap. (Read More…)
Members of Generation Why will fondly remember the Volkswagen 1.8T powered Golfs and Jettas of the early 2000’s – or if they don’t, they probably knew someone who swore that the turbocharged Volkswagen mill was a gift from Our Lord and Savior Herr Schmaus himself. Yes, it was plagued with ignition issues and a rather unsophisticated character, but you could chip it, broooo (as one Golf MKIV owner so eloquently put it).
Ahh, 2002, those were the days. I was 14 years old, had my first girlfriend and an avid reader of Sport Compact Car. I was thoroughly convinced that the Nissan 240SX was the best car in the world but also had a thing for the Volkswagen Jetta with the 1.8T engine.