Volkswagen will replace the naturally aspirated inline-five motor used in U.S. products with a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder in a move designed to boost fuel efficiency and decrease manufacturing costs.
Two sources at Volkswagen confirmed the change in the German automaker’s powertrain lineup to Car and Driver. The new engine, code named EA888, is a derivative of the corporate 2.0-liter turbo four used in a wide variety of VW and Audi vehicles. Unrelated to VW’s “1.8T” mill used in the 1990s and 2000s, the 1.8-liter turbo has the potential to return highway mileage close to the magic 40 mpg number favored by marketing types and consumers alike. In contrast, the 2.5-liter inline-five mustered just 33 mpg on the highway in the manual-transmission Jetta.
Power for the new motor will be comparable to the inline-five despite the increased fuel economy. Compared with 170 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque served up by the five-banger, the 1.8-liter turbo makes 158 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of twist in European applications, and those numbers shouldn’t change much when the mill is offered stateside.
Because of its close relationship to the ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbo, the new engine can be built in the same factories and maintained with the same equipment, saving Volkswagen time and money.
Expect the 1.8-liter turbo to eventually become the volume motor in the Jetta, Golf, Beetle and Passat.