When the next generation of Volkswagen vehicles land in Malaysia, expect them to run around town with an itsy-bitsy engine. But, unlike the RM1.00 nasi lemak packets that come with a one-layer fried egg slice of 200mm by 200mm, the new engines should provide driving satisfaction. In any case, we should be used to small engines churning out power equivalent to large displacement engines of yesteryears.
Volkswagen latest TSI iteration is imaginatively named EA 211 TSI evo, or TSI evo for short. It is essentially the same engine Volkswagen introduced with the debut of the Golf 7 in 2012. Four years later, the engine gets revamped, and the 1.4-litre and 1.2-litre engines were standardised at 1.5 litres. The 1.0-litre engines were improved in 2019. Since the updates, the powerplants were renamed TSI evo.
The TSI evo comes in three- and four-cylinder petrol engines with displacements of 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre. As TSI is short for Turbocharged Stratified Injection, both powerplants have forced induction. The 1.0 TSI generates power between 90ps to 115ps, and the 1.5 TSI produces power from 130ps to 150ps. When needed, the engines can be configured to operate with natural gas or with a 48-volt mild hybrid system.
Yet, nothing is cut and dried. The TSI evo employs different technological components depending on the number of cylinders and the power output of an engine. All three-cylinder variants and the 130ps four-cylinder engine features a Miller cycle. This cycle enables a high compression rate (12.5:1 in the four-cylinder and 11.5:1 in the three-cylinder) and reduced throttling loss by closing the inlet valves early.
However, closing the inlet valves early may starve the engine. Through the use of the fast and precise hydraulic system, the inlet camshaft can be continuously adjusted to deliver more fuel during acceleration. The exhaust camshaft is also adjustable.
The TSI evo’s turbocharger features VTG or variable turbocharger geometry. The VTG turbo allows absolute charge pressures up to 2.3 bar in the four-cylinder (130ps) engine and 2.8 bar in the three-cylinder configurations. This means you can expect near-instant torque at very low rpm. For the record, the TSI evo can operate at a maximum pressure of 350 bar.
The 1.5 TSI engines are gifted a low fuel consumption by having the Active Cylinder Management (ACT). Second and third cylinders get shut down at low to medium loads and engine speeds by deactivating injection, ignition and the valve gear. Volkswagen claims this will increase the efficiency in the active cylinders, and the middle cylinders will follow with no losses. Deactivation and reactivation are executed swiftly enough that no one will notice the switchover.
Another feature of the TSI evo is its aluminium crankcase with coated cylinder walls, which makes the engine very lightweight. So light, in fact, that the three-cylinder variant tips the scales at 88 kilograms. The three-cylinder and four-cylinder powerplants that produce 150ps has cylinder walls of 100-micrometre thick iron coating that is applied by plasma spraying.
Efficient thermal management in the 1.5 TSI and 1.0 TSI comes from a map-controlled cooling module. The highlight component here is the exhaust manifold that is integrated with the cylinder head. With this, the engine gets heated up very quickly so exhaust gasses can be treated early on.
So how will the engine perform in a Golf? Volkswagen gives an idea with a 1.0-litre eTSI, which is a mild hybrid engine. It generates 110ps and delivers a torque of 200Nm between 2,000rpm and 3,000rpm. Volkswagen claims that the tiny engine can send the Golf to a maximum speed of 202kph, with an average fuel economy of 4.5 to 4.3 litres of petrol per 100km. Oddly, no 0-100kph times were given. Taking this into consideration, fingers crossed, our Golf 8 will arrive with a 1.5-litre engine instead.