By on August 18, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Passat - Image: VolkswagenVolkswagen of America confirmed last evening via email the alteration of the Passat and Beetle engine lineups for the 2018 model year.

In examining updated EPA mpg figures for the 2018 model year — as one does — we noticed a curious change. The 2018 Volkswagen Beetle Dune achieves slightly better highway fuel economy, 34 mpg, than the non-Dune 33-mpg 2018 Volkswagen Beetle.

By the by, after posing a handful of questions to Volkswagen of America spokesperson Mark Gillies, TTAC learned that the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that served as the base engine in the Volkswagen Passat and Volkswagen Beetle from 2014-2017 is out. It gives way in the 2018 Passat and Beetle to the second-generation Tiguan’s EA888 Gen3B 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

The result? Better fuel economy and more torque.

We knew the change was approaching, as Volkswagen told TTAC in late May that the Tiguan’s new Budack Cycle 2.0T, “will eventually supersede the 1.8T in the Passat and Beetle.” We did not know, however, that “eventually” meant immediately.

Meanwhile, the 1.8T continues apace in the Jetta and Golf.2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune - Image: VolkswagenYou’ll recall that Volkswagen’s decision to swap out the old 2.5-liter five-cylinder drove Passat fuel economy up from a combined 25 miles per gallon to 28 miles per gallon. By 2017, the Passat 1.8T automatic was rated at 27 mpg combined. The new 2.0T is rated by the EPA at 29 mpg combined. In the Beetle, it also makes for a 29-mpg car (although Beetle Dunes do add that single mpg to the Beetle’s 33-mpg highway rating.)

But the real story will be seen in a different section of the spec sheet. If the Tiguan’s power figures hold, the Passat and Beetle will swap out a 170-horsepower; 184-lb-ft 1.8T that didn’t make peak power at 4,800 rpm and reached peak torque at 1,500 rpm. In its place will be a 2.0T with 184 horsepower (that arrives 400 rpm sooner) and 221 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm.Volkswagen EA888 Gen3B - Image: VolkswagenIt’s unlikely that a fuel economy uptick and a torque boost will turn the Passat and Beetle into barnstorming sales successes in 2018. This will be the Passat’s seventh model year. While Passat volume is better this year than last — when Volkswagen was feeling the full impact of a post-diesel emissions scandal collapse — sales are 36-percent lower in 2017 than they were in 2012.

Likewise, the Beetle is selling more often this year than last, but U.S. Beetle volume is 62-percent lower than it was in 2013.

No, the 2.0T won’t create instant sales successes. But we’re not going to complain about incremental fuel economy improvements that associate themselves with significant torque boosts.

Volkswagen will provide more spec and lineup details for the 2018 Beetle and Passat in the coming weeks.

[Images: Volkswagen]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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16 Comments on “Volkswagen Passat and Beetle Engine Lineups Altered for 2018 With Tiguan’s 2.0T...”

  • avatar

    Further, IIRC the 2.0t models have a lot more potential with chipping and other mods. Most of them can get very close to 300hp on 93 octane with a $500-$700 chip. The 1.8t is far more constrained in that regard.

    I just wish they’d put this engine (back) into the Golf Sportwagen or even the base Golf, but then they’d be cannibalizing GTI sales.

    • 0 avatar

      This is the Miller cycle version of the engine so it’s really more akin to a replacement for the TDI in some ways than the GTI engine’s tuning.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for clarifying, I didn’t realize there was that much difference among the different 2.0t models. My family has had several, including one that caught fire twice at idle, and another that has performed flawlessly.


    • 0 avatar

      The “ecu chipping” potential grows exponentially with displacement. Even just a 250cc or a 1/4 of a liter.

      But VW is seriously under rating these, for Audi?

      How long will these iron blocks continue at VAG?!

      • 0 avatar

        The iron used is CGI, Compacted Graphite Iron, much stronger than grey iron. Do yourself a favour, google it when your brain isn’t swirling with fantasies of Buicks. VW’s EA889 Mk3 block walls are only 3mm thick in places and it’s about 30 lb heavier than aluminum. Easy to bore/hone and no fiddly to manufacture iron liner in aluminum, with its thermal barrier at the junction. The other engine of note using CGI is the Ford 2.7TT. And of course all the better over the highway diesel engine blocks. It’s actually a premium material and Golfs aren’t overweight to begin with.

        The ancient grey iron EA888 Mk1 2.0t rated at 200hp is what they’ve shortchanged Beetle/Tiguan 1/Audi Q3/Jetta GLI owners with for years. Bad power and mileage.

        The 1.8t in the Golf, 2.0t in the GTI Mk7, A3, Q5 etc. is the CGI EA888 Mk3. Smooth, great power and mileage. Of course, VW does the best to fudge that there are two premium-swilling 2.0t engines out there from them. They pretend they’re the same to customers. But they’re not even close.

        Now they’ve taken the latest EA888 Mk3 block and shoved this Brudack head on it, max power at a howling 4400 rpm. All the reviews on it so far speak of it as a gritty feeling engine, not nice. You could put up with coarse if the thing had any power – a 1.5t CRV blows the new Tiguan into the weeds on acceleration and gives 6 mpg MORE EPA combined mpg as well. I’ve never owned a Honda, but with engines they know what they’re doing all right. What VW should have done IMO is produce the EA888 Mk3 2.0t in 1.8t tune for regular gas, saved some money and sent Brudack back to have another think.

  • avatar

    And off to Google I go to find out how the Budack cycle differs from the rest…

  • avatar

    So, they keeping the 6-cylinder Passat?

  • avatar

    No replacement for displacement.

    Wonder how efficient the 2.5t out of the rs3 would be if it was derated all the way down 400hp to 200hp

  • avatar

    So this may just solidify my purchase of another Passat R-Line next may when I give my daughter the corolla for her first car.

    Ive owned a 2016 and a 2017 Passat R-Line and thought the 1.8T was a good fit. The 2.0T with much more torque should only make it better.

  • avatar

    Interesting. I’ve got the 1.8 TSI in my Golf Variant and love it. Granted it’s tuned to about 240hp :)

  • avatar

    I have always felt that light boost on bigger engines is better than extreme boost on smaller ones. Better to use the turbo to just eliminate pumping losses rather than try and triple the output of an engine. This is a big part of why that BMW 3.0T works so well. 8-10lb of boost is perfect.

  • avatar

    Car and driver has this info in their current edition, so the change was known many weeks ago.

  • avatar

    Passat has to be one of the most underrated cars on the market. It feels substantial to drive and has a well put together interior, not to mention both the trunk and trunk opening are properly huge.

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