By on April 29, 2016

Volkswagen 1.5-liter TSI engine

Diesel? What’s that?

Volkswagen is embracing a far less controversial type of fuel with its new 1.5-liter TSI engine, unveiled yesterday at the Vienna Motor Symposium.

The ultra-efficient four-cylinder uses variable turbine geometry (VTG) in its turbocharger to generate peak torque at a low 1,300 rpm, then maintain a flat torque curve until about 4,500 rpm. This leads to fuel economy gains and a better driving experience.

Used previously by Porsche, VTG technology alters the turbocharger turbine guide vane position to optimize compressor speed for a given speed and load. This helps build up boost in a hurry at low engine speeds and manages it better at higher speeds.

Volkswagen’s new direct-injection engine uses the Miller combustion cycle and has a compression ratio of 12.5:1. This technology, plus cylinder deactivation, a friction package and a VTG turbocharger, lowers fuel consumption to 10 percent below that of its well-regarded 1.4-liter TSI engine.

That particular engine makes 39 miles per gallon on the highway in a Jetta with an automatic transmission, so it’s an impressive achievement.

“An important aspect here is that the improvements in fuel economy take effect across a wide range of the engine map,” the automaker said in a statement. “Consequently, they do not merely apply under test bench conditions but also have a distinct impact on the customer’s everyday driving.”

The automaker showed off two versions of its 1.5-liter in Vienna — a 130 hp version and a higher-output 150 hp, with the lower-end engine making 147 pounds-feet of torque. No applications are listed, but Volkwagen said it plans to start offering the 1.5-liter in its lineup later this year.

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83 Comments on “Volkswagen Shows Off its New Gasoline-Powered Gas Engine That Runs on Gas...”


  • avatar

    I prefer Volkswagons that run on unrefined fossil fuels and urea injections.

    You’re either rolling coal – or doing it wrong.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Another heavy breathing squirrel.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      So you like full-figured engines? Maybe a big ole 3.0-liter like the 944 used to have?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Hydromatic, my German-American uncle, my mom’s brother, was into Porsche, even had a new turbo-Carrera at one time, among other fine German imports, like a M-B 500S and BMW 540i.

        Were it not for him owning a German automobile repair-haus in San Diego, he would not have been able to deal with all the breakdowns of these overblown engines. Too fancy for their own good.

        Full-figured is a hell of a nice way to describe robust 6, 8, 10, and 12 cylinder engines.

        There simply is no replacement for displacement.

        People who have to worry about fuel-economy and mpgs ought not to buy a car.

  • avatar
    brettc

    So you’re saying it doesn’t run on diesel? That’s weird, VW is well known for their groundbreaking diesel technology.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      They’ve made nice, well-regarded, small-displacement gas turbos since the mid 90’s. They are kind of the leaders in that technology. (Not to say they haven’t been without flaws, but they haven’t been terrible either.)

      • 0 avatar

        “Not to say they haven’t been without flaws”

        That’s being kind. The 1.8T was a ticking time bomb. The 2.0L was pretty sad (electrical gremlins, slow, inefficient). The 2.5L was reliable and powerful but not refined or efficient. The 2.0T was nice (like the 1.8T) but also very problematic for the first 6-7 years of its existence (carbon buildup, oil burning, etc.) that *also* made them a ticking time bomb.

        They can make refined gas engines. They can make durable gas engines. They’ve yet to do both together.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          This is what German engineering always was – lots of advances which end up as failures. Japanese in contrast, take your advances and perfect them, so no failures.

        • 0 avatar
          ...m...

          …my 1.8T was flawless for a couple hundred thousand miles: mind you, everything else about the car was a disposable malaise-era tribute, but the mechanical drivetrain itself was exemplary, albeit expensive to service…

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            posts like yours are why I think “probability and statistics” should be a required class in high school.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          The current 2.0T ticks both those boxes. At this point, is pretty much bulletproof and about as refined as one can reasonably expect from an inline four.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Actually in this part of the world, there are rumours, that a 3litre V6 Diesel maybe heading towards the new Amarok. It was only mentioned that minor cosmetic changes will be done to styling, but a major development mechanically. Seeing Daimler/Mercedes will be releasing their 3 Litre Diesel Pickup in 2017, VW would not like to be caught out

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      These engines are getting pretty close to being modern turbodiesels with spark plugs.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        HCCI is the chimeric fever dream of every engine designer. One day some kid or a crazy scientist might actually get there.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          With the very high pressure, diesel style direct injectors these engines use, their ignition modeling may, for all I know, not be “pure” HC any longer. Bloody Germans and their doggedmindedness :) What’s wrong with just making a Hemi bigger and put a blower on it? :)

          Pure HCCI will probably come about at around the same time someone figures out how to build an efficient version of the old Saab dream, of variable mechanical compression pistons, to optimize turbo efficiency. Then, compression can be adjusted cycle by cycle, depending on all manners of variables.

          Regardless, the sheer complexity of it all, makes Teslas, and even Mirais, seem all the more reasonable…….

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            GDI has rendered variable compression ratios moot, IMO. DI means you can keep the static CR high and still add boost with forced induction. And there’s no real good reason to lower the compression ratio anymore.

            it’s worth noting that this is one reason gas turbines stink at being the prime mover for cars and trucks. they inherently have a variable pressure ratio; the slower the engine is turning the lower the pressure ratio is. and a turbine running slowly at part load is horrifically inefficient.

  • avatar

    This thing’s probably hard more scrutiny for potential liabilities per square centimeter than Hillary’s email server.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is cool, I guess, but I feel like their small cars are pretty efficient. What does this matter when the Touareg/Panamera/etc still have huge naturally aspirated V8s? They should be focusing their efforts on the gas guzzlers, not the little Golfs and stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You could get a W12 or V10 TDI engine in the old Touareg, but a even a V8 isn’t available on the current Touareg. There is the 3.0-liter V6 TSI Hybrid, which makes V8-like power…but no actual V8.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The Golf-to-Panamera sales ratio tells you where they should be focusing their efforts.
      That being said, it’s a big company. They can work on several engines concurrently.

      Side note: the timing for this engine follows VW’s usual pattern. They introduce new engines mid-way through a platform’s lifecycle (MQB Mk7 Golf in this case). They then carry-over those new engines to the next platform.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Not sure about the Touareg but the only V-8 Panamera is the GTS. That said, there’s more bang for the buck to be had from the volume cars and like has already been said, VW can focus on multiple things at once to include truck engines, ship engines, motorcycle engines and car engines as well as their respective chassis and all the other things that go into the vehicle.

      I wouldn’t worry about them. FCA on the other hand……

  • avatar
    sirwired

    It looks like a nice little engine; really VW has done some good work in small-displacement turbo’s for quite a while now. Shame about that whole “flushing your company’s reputation down the toilet” thing…

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I have one of their 1.8 tsi motors in 16 sportwagen. It makes 200 ft lbs of torque at 1600 rpm. Mine has a Neuspeed power module that bumps it up to 250 ft lbs. Really nice car for in town errand running. For road trips we use the 335d torque monster.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      NPM? Why not a Burger JB1?

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        The NPM seems like it is a higher quality piece and it is very easy to remove if I need to go to the dealer.

        • 0 avatar
          qfrog

          The down side is that it lacks control over the fuel pressure nor can you change the settings to map the increase in boost by RPM. Also, the NPM only operates when you are at wide open throttle if memory serves correctly. From what I’ve been told features like air/fuel targeting will be added to the JB1 and eventually the JB1 will be upgradable to the CAN connected JB4 which will add even more capability like what Burger does with their BMW units. I really think this is the better unit for about the same money based on features/functions not appearances.

          • 0 avatar
            TOTitan

            The NPM 64.10.15 version increases boost on 91 octane by 5 psi raising hp by 30 + and torque by 55 + http://www.neuspeed.com/342/0/0/3111/641015-neuspeed-power-module.html

            The JB1 35whp and 45ft lb with 91AKI 95RON octane with + 4.75psi boost over stock
            http://burgertuning.com/jb_vw_stage_1_tuner.html

          • 0 avatar
            qfrog

            If that is your desired measuring stick by which to compare two devices then the JB1 is still your winner because it can provide >5psi of increase in boost pressure.

            The thread is super long but I think George does a pretty good job of answering all questions. http://www.golfmk7.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10761&highlight=JB1+1.8TSI&page=192

          • 0 avatar
            TOTitan

            4.75 JB1….5.0 NPW plus 10 more ft lbs for the NPM which is mainly what I was after. You set it to give 7 ft lbs more but 91 is the best gas I can get in my area.

            Its moot anyway I have what I have….lol

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Looks like a modified version of the existing 1.4T. I see aluminum engine block, air to water intercooling, the same 04E oil filter.

    I’m not sure if that description of variable geometry gives readers an accurate picture of how the mechanisms involved operate. There are added vanes/fins in the hot side housing of the turbocharger which direct air to different leverage points/radii on the rotating vanes of the turbine wheel. Directing exhaust flow to different points varies how quickly the turbocharger spools up and how fast it can spin.

    • 0 avatar
      IAhawkeye

      Isn’t that the same technology that the (fairly old)6.0L Powerstroke used? I’m sure there have been others too. I just remember reading once about the 6.0’s variable vanes getting clogged with soot so they wouldn’t move like they were supposed to. It’s cool technology.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        The Ford 6.0 was right up there with some of VW’s finest when it came to stuff not working right.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          the 6.0 was a rush job by Navistar, made worse by Ford pushing the hp output up higher than any Navistar application.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Despite the hype, the later 6.0 is still much better over all, than what came before it or after. The 7.3 has a tiny turbo and the 6.4 is a complete throwaway.

            The 6.0 is hampered by its “emissions”, a complete German design, as primitive as they may be. It’s also ‘pre emissions’, or ‘pre’ urea injection, SCR, etc.

            For every 6.0 disaster story, there’s thousands on the road, trouble free. And we don’t really know how hard they push it, or didn’t maintain it, before the ‘event’. All modern diesels are delicate, precise instruments. They’re clearly not for everyone

            youtube.com/watch?v=8o2LGuzl0go

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            anyone who thinks the 6.0 Powerstroke was better than the 7.3 is best ignored.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “anyone who thinks the 6.0 Powerstroke was better than the 7.3 is best ignored.”

            This 1000x. I worked in Ford Service Engineering during that debacle. The failure rates were very high and numerous in origin. The ones that are currently trouble free have had extensive work including EGR delete, many HP oil components, IPRs, ICP sensors, oil coolers, you name it. Junk from beginning to end.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “Anyone who thinks…”

            Let’s see, I’ve had both. And I currently OWN both! The 6.0 hasn’t been the perfect child, but nether has the ’02 7.3. The 6.0 is the later, ’05-’07, and it’s needed 1 injector and a FICM, but I maintain it by the book, drive it like a gentleman, not racing up the damn hill with a load, just because Cummins Guy is coming up on me fast.

            I know the guys that have blown their 6.0s up, and they drive around like animals with bro lifts, 44″ tires, and tuners. They can cry all over the interwebs all they want. They’re idiots.

            Thanks to what little emissions they do have, the 6.0s weren’t totally bulletproof from the factory, but by now, any worthy shop has them pegged. I keep mine all stock, and they’re not trying to sell me any mods.

            The 6.0 makes beautiful power, all day long, and in a modern truck with coil front suspension and full diagnostics. Anyone that’s been around Power Strokes will tell you, later 6.0s are thee choice trucks, if they had to chose for the entire series, ’95+.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I know it is hardly QED, but there is one guy in my family with a 6.0L PS that he bought brand new. It isn’t a tuned bro-rig and it still rolls along and tows his trailers and boats with nearly 300K miles.

            That said, the maintenance and repair receipts from diesel specialty shops (like it is some sort of Testarossa) are horrifying. He honestly could have completely rebuilt the V10 gas powertrain twice for what he’s spent and the lower initial purchase price would have made fuel economy about a wash.

            Modern HD diesels definitely aren’t for the faint of heart. They are like springing for the V12 offered in luxury sedans back in the early 90s.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yeah we know. Diesels had their day, and like many, I’m jumping ship. My next truck will be a V10. And yes the rebuild on a V10 is around the price of a set of injectors on a Power Stroke. Diesels are a high stakes game and not really for a good reason.

            When the dust settles, the V10 wins, even if the diesel was never problematic.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        I remember Chrysler using variable vane technology their back in the late 80s. I also remember it being very problematic….

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Yes. Almost exactly like twin scroll. Agree. Its not a good description.

      • 0 avatar
        qfrog

        The technology isn’t five minutes ago fresh. Diesels run lower egts so the moving pieces comprising the vane assembly take less of a beating but are obviously susceptible to caking with soot on a diesel.

        A recently introduced mutation of the turbocharger is the variable scroll turbocharger. This is probably less costly to manufacture as it has fewer pieces and those pieces don’t need to be some super alloy that can cope with gasoline egts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J06nj5-B_AE

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          the “camless” engine

          I was reading about this wizard Christian von Koenigsegg and his design of the “camless” engine.
          I THINK I understand it…a little.
          His company Freevalve is seemingly close to producing this thing…and according to the R&Track story, they drove one.

          R&T: “The idea behind Freevalve is to eliminate the camshaft from the engine and replace it with pneumatic valves. That gives the engine the closest possibly thing to a square cam profile. That means that valves are either open or closed, creating the most efficient powertrain possible. It also allows for independent control of the valves and cylinders. Sometimes all the valves open, sometimes half, sometimes all the cylinders fire, sometimes one or two don’t. At low revs, it can be a two stroke to provide better response.”

          Does anybody understand this? Sounds veeerrry cool.

          • 0 avatar
            EAF

            I’ve read about this a while back but cannot recall the exact source, very interesting, VW could benefit from “camless” tech since many of their camshafts have been failing.

            Maybe they can somehow eliminate the use of a crankshaft and cure the RMS failures as well! :-)

          • 0 avatar
            mattwc1

            I read about this as well. I must confess that I have no real concept of how this really works. But Christian Koenigsegg is a mechanical genius, so there’s that

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            there’s a difference between “having a working prototype” and “putting something in production which will last for 15-20 years and 200,000 miles.”

            Reg Technologies has been working on the Rand Cam engine for decades, and it’s still just a curiosity.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Jimz…so, so far just another Mazda rotary experiment?

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            I remember, maybe 20 years ago when my teacher in Auto Technology class told us that we would see 12V electrical systems disappear and be replaced by either 24V of possibly even 36V electrical systems. His reasoning was that cars of the future would have much higher electrical demands and that we would see electrical solenoids used to replace camshafts to open & close intake and exhaust valves.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            @TrailerTrash,

            no, not necessarily. It’s just that they just showed it off, and as usual the automotive commentariat is acting like it’s production-ready.

            @White Shadow

            they were right, but going up to ~42-48 volt systems brings along a number of safety concerns. Especially with interior electrical systems. 12 volts is practically never a shock hazard. ~40 volts is. 12 volts can usually never strike and sustain an arc; ~40 volts can. ~40 volts also means certain circuits may need ground fault interrupter protection. It’s enough of a ball-ache where it’s still more economical to keep 12 volts creaking along for now. I’m actually surprised they’ve been able to do EPAS on 12 volts; have you seen the wire gauges they use for that?

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Jimz

            “automotive commentariat”
            Wow.
            I like this.

          • 0 avatar
            wstarvingteacher

            I think you can find this on gizmag. Made my head hurt.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      I don’t understand how – even with the Miller cycle principles – that a turbo with variable vanes can expect to go 100,000 miles with 12.5:1 compression? Or even a standard turbo at that compression? I guess you really cannot teach old dogs…..

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        direct injection.

        seriously.

        with port fuel injection, the injector starts spraying fuel into the intake runner while the intake valve is still closed. The valve is hot so the fuel begins evaporating immediately and finishes vaporizing by the time the intake stroke is completed. Then the (gaseous) fuel-air mix is compressed, which raises its temperature. raise it too high (too much compression) and it will detonate.

        with direct injection, fuel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber, and it evaporates during the compression stroke. as it evaporates, it takes up a huge amount of thermal energy and cools the fuel-air charge in the cylinder. Thus with GDI you can both turbocharge it while maintaining a high static compression ratio for increased efficiency.

        Mazda’s (non-turbo) SkyActiv engines can have up to a 14:1 static compression ratios.

        • 0 avatar
          olddavid

          Jim – doesn’t the super high pressure of the fuel charge dissipate the mixture right out of the chamber when the valve stays open in the Miller cycle? I cannot picture this, but it took years for me to understand OBDII, so quick to understand I am not.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The heart of this engine is not the engine itself, but the miniaturised compressor VG technology.

    As the article states VW has no plans as of yet for this miniaturised VG tech. So, I would assume this is a PR exercise by VW.

    12.5 to 1 compression on a gas engine is quite high.

    I wonder how long before we have the best of all world with a gasoline compression ignition engine.

    • 0 avatar
      IAhawkeye

      For a car, yes. But that’s more the average for any kind of crotch rocket. If memory serves me right, the newest R6’s are up to 13.1:1.

    • 0 avatar
      NeilM

      A 12.5:1 static compression ratio is in the normal range for Miller cycle engines, where the intake valve remains open during the initial part of the compression stroke. This makes the effective compression ratio somewhat lower.

      Quoted compression ratios for internal combustion engines tend to be misleading, since they don’t take the effects of valve timing into consideration.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      gasoline direct injection has a charge/chamber cooling effect as the gas evaporates in-cylinder rather than in the intake tract.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Didn’t they introduce a 1.5 turbo last year? I recall reading the article saying that it could save VW

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Heh, love the headline.

    39 mpg is pretty impressive. 130 HP for a 1.4 turbo not so much, but the torque curve might make up for it. Be interesting to see where this goes.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      These engines can be geared really tall to keep rpm down where there is less friction but ample torque available for most driving situations. A bit diesel like but with the ability to spin faster.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Am I correct that VW doesn’t offer the DSG 6 spd automatic with any of the Jetta’s gas engines?

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    150 is the best they can do?

    Honda’s fairly conservative (you seriously can’t get over 300 hp from a 3.7 V6, Honda?) and they still managed 170 from their 1.5 turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      This is a Miller cycle engine for improved efficiency.

      For an idea of the power compromise, in the 2.0 TSI engine the Miller cycle version does 190 HP and the normal Otto cycle one is 252 HP.

      • 0 avatar
        qfrog

        Audi likes to call it the B cycle due to some subtle differences in how they achieve the expansion ratio difference but it does share some of the same concept as a miller cycle and it is implemented through shortening the intake cam duration to create an artificially short intake and over expand the charged air/fuel mixture during expansion. There are some neat torque benefits of this on multi cylinder engines.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        They need to focus on the Brayton cycle, maybe then they can finally make something interesting, and at least the high repair costs would be justified.

  • avatar
    GST

    For the record, our family considers these engines to be bullet proof.

    My daughter has a 2003 VW Jetta with over 150,000 miles and no engine problems. My son has a 2005 Audi Q4 with about the same miles and I drive a 2001 Audi TT with over 150,000 miles. All with no engine problems to date. (assuming Audi 1.8’s are the same as VW).

  • avatar
    drw1926

    “Volkswagen Shows Off its New Gasoline-Powered Gas Engine That Runs on Gas”

    TTAC is becoming more like Jalopnik every day. (hint: that isn’t a compliment).

  • avatar
    RHD

    “Effiency!” demanded Engineer Dieter.
    “But how?” asked the Resident Cheater.
    “Don’t do anything drastic,
    cover the engine with plastic,
    and add more miles on the odo-meter!”


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