• Nov 29th 2010 at 8:26AM
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Volkswagen Up! concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Fiat's recent introduction of the two-cylinder TwinAir engine in the 500 has not swayed Volkswagen to reconsider placing a two-piston mill in its own Up city car. If anything, Fiat's TwinAir debut has convinced VW that two-cylinder engines are simply too costly and complicated to develop.

VW actively pursues engine downsizing, witnessed by its use of three-cylinder gasoline engines and sub-2.0-liter diesel mills but, according to the company's research and development chief, Ulrich Hackenburg, downsizing is nearing the limits and dropping the cylinder count to just two is not in the automaker's near-term plans.

Hackenberg told Autocar that further downsizing is not practical, framing it:
Improvements can now only be made in performance and economy, not in making the engines any smaller. Instead, the Up will make use of three-cylinder engines that will really advance the technology and make strong use of it.
VW technical boss, Michael Hinz, added that even three-cylinder engines can be challenging to develop, stating:
I've seen two-cylinder cars running, but from a production point of view it'd be very hard. Even three-cylinder engines are very expensive as they're not as smooth or refined as we'd like. But we're not going to abandon them.
If Fiat can produce a two-cylinder engine, then other automakers could, too. However, VW displays no immediate interest in tackling the complicated development of a two-pot engine, instead electing to stick with motors packing three pistons or more.



[Source: Autocar]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can see why VW does not want a filling shaker of a engine, I am over here in Germany, and heard one drive off, Sounds like a Tenent floor sweeper with a Onan flat twin. Gas mileage would be no better than a triple. Maybe they should try a two-stroke triple, with twin air.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Want to get the best comfort?Move for the Volkwagen Dealers in Gippsland and barnsdale who provide you the best manufacturer parts and employs the best servise.
      http://www.dwyersvolkswagen.com.au
      • 4 Years Ago
      That doesn't sound like the tone (that is too hard!) of a company that wants to sell 40 billion cars to the world by 2013.

      • 4 Years Ago
      That doesn't sound like the tone (that is too hard!) of a company that wants to sell 40 billion cars to the world by 2013.

      • 4 Years Ago
      This might help explain some of VW's reluctance...

      "Some of you will have read our Fiat 500 TwinAir road test and noted that our average economy figure of 35.7mpg comes in a touch short of the claimed numbers. Or rather it's almost half the combined figure of 68.9mpg that Fiat reckons its blown two-cylinder motor should achieve in the 500."

      http://www.autocar.co.uk/blogs/stillatthewheel/archive/2010/11/25/fuel-economy-woes.aspx
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can see why VW does not want a filling shaker of a engine, I am over here in Germany, and heard one drive off, Sounds like a Tenent floor sweeper with a Onan flat twin. Gas mileage would be no better than a triple. Maybe they should try a two-stroke triple, with twin air.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Up! yours, VW
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not sure why they wouldn't partner with a motorcycle company that knows small, 2 cylinder engines better if they think it would be too expensive to develop themselves.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not sure that the expense is really what's holding them back. There are advantages and disadvantages to 2-cylinder engines, which is why even most motorcycles are 4-cylinder. The ones that have 2-cylinder engines are making that choice mostly for aesthetic reasons, not performance or efficiency.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @veyron1001

        lol, dismissing foreign twins as unreliable whilst praising HD.

        Look no farther than bikes like the SV650, they're tuned pretty highly but will easily hit 100,000 miles with oil changes and simple inspections to make sure everything's within specifications. That said, all bike engines have much higher maintance requirements than cars. IIRC, my old YZF-R6 needed valve inspections and potential adjustments and spark plugs every 20,000 miles. Most modern cars call for the same attention every 100,000 miles.

        But I've seen sportsbikes get well past 100,000 miles on an engine, which is long enough. Imagine how long they could go if they were detuned say 20%. Or you know, only making about 90 hp/liter.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Almost all motorcycle companies have engines tuned for hp with a considerable decrease in reliability. The only company i can think of that makes an asthmatic long lasting engine that is over 1liter is HD. I wouldn't want my car sounding like that.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I've never seen a viable 2-3 cylinder engine for a car weighing over 2000 lbs in the USA. If they priced it in a completely disposable range of $5k then maybe it'll work... for a while. I mean I owned a 66 VW Beetle with a 1.3 L, 4 cylinder motor in it, but the car only weighed around 1600lbs and was easy to mod. And those motors ran forever.
      • 4 Years Ago
      nondum matura est......i drove a twinair,it's perfect for small cars and hybrids
      • 4 Years Ago
      VW has a H-O 2-cylinder engine more or less in house...porsche developed it for the Harley v-rod ten years ago.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't see the value of a two-cylinder 0.9L turbo engine w/twinair. You could instead make a normally aspirated three-cylinder 1.0L and develop the same 84HP. It would run smoother and it would have to cost less, wouldn't it? Are a turbo and intercooler really cheaper than another cylinder?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @alain - yeah i don't care, i was referring to when vw BRANDED the twincharge (only available in europe, not the us, hence 'european') TSI, and later adopted the TSI nomenclature for their FSI engines. Lol, thanks for going off on a totally different tangent.
        • 4 Years Ago
        TSI is not a rebranded FSI, it has a new cylinder head and uses chain timing, unlike the fsi. the oil filter is now a regular filter, and not a canister like the FSI, and the hpfp system was changed so the cam followers wouldnt be subjected to much wear. i have seen the new TSI motors in audis and vw's in the states, and have owned an a4 with the 2.0t fsi, and have driven the current gen a4 with the tsi and can see the drastic differences
        • 4 Years Ago
        nothing about the twinair is cheaper, it's more expensive than petrol powered 500, splits the difference between diesel and petrol - I'm guessing that's why fiat did it, like VW manages to with their TSI (european not recently rebranded fsi powerplants in the us) and provide tdi mileage with petrol, the twinair pretty much allows fiat to do the same.
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