At the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Volkswagen shows family sedan buyers how to maximize fuel economy without minimizing practicality. Already one of the larger vehicles in its class, the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept achieves an estimated highway fuel-economy rating of 42 mpg, without resorting to an expensive diesel or gas-electric hybrid powertrain.
For this concept vehicle, which is painted in a planned production color called Reef Blue Metallic, Volkswagen swaps out the standard turbocharged, 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine in favor of a smaller turbocharged, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. Torque figures are unchanged, measuring 184 lb.-ft., but the smaller motor does generate 20 fewer horsepower, coming in at 150 horsepower.
In addition to employing a smaller, less powerful engine, the Passat BlueMotion Concept is equipped with what Volkswagen claims is the first 4-cylinder engine in the world to offer cylinder-deactivation technology. The Active Cylinder Management (ACT) technology allows the engine to run on just two of its four cylinders under certain driving conditions. Additionally, an automatic start/stop system turns the engine off while the car is idling in traffic or at intersections, and when the driver lifts a foot to coast down a hill or in anticipation of a stop, the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission decouples from the engine, allowing the Passat BlueMotion to roll with as little mechanical interference as possible.
Though just a concept for now, as evidenced by huge aluminum wheels that do nothing to improve fuel economy, a production version of the Passat BlueMotion is viable. Volkswagen could also extend this concept to the popular Jetta and other models in its lineup.