Rainer Michel, Vice President of Product Marketing & Strategy at Volkswagen of America, stopped by the AOL offices today for a chat about what VW has on tap for the 2013 model year. While much of what he had to say was either minor reshuffling of features or stuff we already knew – like the 45-mpg, hybrid version of the Jetta launching late this year – there were a few interesting tidbits.

First was the addition of a launch control feature to the 2013 Jetta GLI. Standard on GLI models with the DSG transmission, it allows for "a perfect launch with controlled wheelspin," according to VW's press release. While we're all about wheelspin, controlled or otherwise, Michel's real news wasn't about the 2013 Jetta, but the promise of an overhaul to the 2014 Jetta powertrain, steering and suspension.

VW will be dropping the 2.5-liter five-cylinder in favor of a 1.8-liter turbocharged, direct injected four, as was rumored. This is the same 1.8 TSI engine with 158 horsepower and 185 pound feet of torque found in the European Passat and CC. For those who are wondering whether it has any relationship to the 1.8T engine found in the VW GTI a few years back, the answer is a definitive "no." The new Jetta base engine will be built at VW's Mexican engine facility in Silao, with the switch to the turbo four made as much for the expected improvement in fuel economy as it was for production efficiency, as the naturally aspirated five-cylinder is not long for this world.

While VW didn't say how much of an improvement in fuel economy it expects from the 2014 Jetta, the new engine will offer potential efficiencies on a number of fronts. Not only is the engine lighter, according to Michel, but it will also herald the adoption of electric power steering. Perhaps more exciting for enthusiasts is that Michel promised that the move to EPAS and changes in the suspension tuning necessitated by the overhaul will allow VW to tune the base car to be a bit sportier than the current model.

Scroll down to read VW's full press release on the 2013 model year changes.
Show full PR text
VOLKSWAGEN CONTINUES ITS PRODUCT OFFENSIVE FOR MODEL YEAR 2013

The Beetle Convertible and Jetta Hybrid join the model lineup for 2013, building on Volkswagen's continued sales momentum
  • VW now has six models with an EPA estimated highway fuel economy rating of more than 40 mpg
  • Jetta Hybrid will combine best-in-class performance with an estimated combined fuel consumption of 45 mpg; goes on sale in late fall
  • Jetta models get interior upgrades; GLI now has a launch control feature
  • Manual Beetle TDI coupe and Beetle TDI Convertible achieve EPA estimated fuel economy ratings of 41 mpg on the highway
  • All-new Beetle Convertible launches late in 2012 in Turbo, 2.5L, and TDI® Clean Diesel forms
  • Beetle Fender Edition on sale later in 2012
  • CC, which went on sale as a 2013 model in March, adds new R-Line® version at the end of the year
  • Eos gets a new Sport trim level and upgrades to the Lux and Executive models
  • Touareg TDI engine output raised from 225 to 240 horsepower
Herndon, VA - Volkswagen is on a roll in the United States. Overall sales for the brand were up 35.4 percent year-on-year for the first six months of 2012. And the momentum continues into model year 2013 with the introduction of new derivatives of the Jetta and the Beetle, a significantly changed CC four-door coupe, and some important upgrades to the Jetta and the Eos. All models except the Routan get changes for 2013.

The most important introduction for 2013 will be the Jetta Hybrid, Volkswagen's first offering in the compact hybrid category and VW's second-ever hybrid model. This is VW's first turbocharged hybrid and the first hybrid in the world to use a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission. Competitively priced with other compact hybrid sedans, the Jetta Hybrid will offer class-leading performance combined with excellent fuel economy.

VW will also add a second convertible to the lineup when the Beetle Convertible goes on sale. The car will be available with 2.5-liter naturally aspirated, 2.0-liter turbocharged, and 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel engines and will feature a fast-acting top that preserves the sleek lines of the coupe. With an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 41 mpg on the highway for the manual transmission model, this means that VW now has no fewer than six models in the lineup with EPA ratings of more than 40 mpg on the highway. More details about this exciting new addition to the Beetle range will follow nearer to market introduction.

CARS

Beetle
  • Beetle Convertible is added to the range.
  • Beetle TDI coupe arrives in August.
  • Beetle Fender Edition makes its debut in the fall of 2012.
  • All Turbo models now have a standard armrest.
  • Turbo with Sunroof, Sound, and Navigation gains new 19-inch "Tornado" aluminum-alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights, and LED license-plate lighting.

The Beetle coupe went on sale in 2012 in 2.5-liter and 2.0-liter TSI® forms. In August, the Beetle coupe range will be rounded out with the 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel engine that will achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 41 mpg on the highway when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission.

Later in 2012, the Beetle Fender Edition will go on sale, in 2.5L and Turbo forms. As well as featuring the award-winning Fender® Premium Audio System, this special edition will also have a striking sunburst-style dashboard, Fender logos, special seat stitching, brushed chrome door mirrors, Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs, and 18-inch "Disc" aluminum-alloy wheels. Additionally, Turbo models will get exclusive seat fabric inserts.

CC
  • New front and rear styling enhances an already dramatic design.
  • High-luxury, high-quality interior now has seating for five.
  • Bi-Xenon headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights are now standard.
  • New exterior colors, wheels, and trim available.
  • New LED taillights.
  • The only four-door coupe in its class.
  • R-Line design joins the range at the end of 2012.

The newly refreshed CC went on sale in March. There are two powertrain offerings: a 200-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0-liter TSI, mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch transmission driving the front wheels; and a 280-hp VR6® engine driving all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Mated to the manual transmission, the 2.0T achieves EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, while the VR6 4Motion® model gets EPA estimates of 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

The popular R-line trim line will return to the range at the end of 2012. With interior and exterior enhancements, this makes the CC an even sportier vehicle. Compared with the Sport model on which it is based, the R-Line gains a more aggressive front bumper design that incorporates a large lower air intake and projector-style foglights with a striking chrome motif. Side skirts and the R-Line logo on the grille further differentiate the R-Line from the Sport model, along unique 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Inside, there are stainless-steel R-Line scuff plates and a multifunction steering wheel that has paddle shifters for the DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Eos
  • New Sport trim joins the lineup and gains: 18-inch "Vicenza" aluminum-alloy wheels; a lowered sport suspension; Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs and Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS); headlight washers; LED license-plate lights; "Black Peak" interior trim; brushed stainless steel pedals; multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters; black exterior side mirrors; and a rear spoiler.
  • Lux and Executive models receive Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs and AFS, headlight washers, LED license-plate lights, and a new optional leather interior color: Atlantic Blue.
  • The Lux also receives a lowered sport suspension and 18-inch "Chicago" aluminum-alloy wheels.
  • Executive model also gains a rearview camera.
  • New exterior color: Black Pearl.

Golf
For 2013, the Golf incorporates minor changes over the 2012 models.
  • A front center armrest, in addition to front and rear floor mats, is now standard on all models.
  • Golf with Convenience trim features a standard leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and handbrake lever.
  • Golf with Convenience and Sunroof models now feature a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, shift knob, and handbrake lever.
  • Four-door 2.5L is no longer available with a five-speed manual transmission.

GTI
For 2013, the GTI incorporates minor changes over the 2012 models.
  • A new 18-inch "Laguna" aluminum-alloy wheel now distinguishes the Convenience and Sunroof trim and Sunroof and Navigation trim from the rest of the lineup.

Golf R
For 2013, the Golf R continues in limited quantity with no changes over the 2012 models.

Jetta
  • VW's most popular model receives extensive updates for model year 2013.
  • Introduction of all-new Jetta Hybrid in late 2012.
  • All Jetta models from S with Sunroof receive an adjustable front center armrest.
  • SE trim level and above feature power recline for driver and front passenger seats.
  • Launch control now standard on GLI models equipped with the DSG transmission.
Following record sales in 2011-the sixth-generation Jetta's first full year on sale in the U.S.-the best-selling model in Volkswagen's line-up receives a number of technology and interior comfort updates.

Starting with the popular 2.5-liter engine models, standard updates to the SE trim include power-recline driver and front passenger seats, new decorative metallic trim on the dash and door panels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and handbrake lever. Exterior enhancements include a chrome radiator grille and chrome window trim.

The SEL trim adds a six-way power driver seat with manual lumbar support, sport-comfort driver and front passenger seats, and a soft-touch dash. A two-tone black-and-beige interior complements the changes for 2013.

A new trim, SEL with Navigation, adds the acclaimed Fender Premium Audio System and the RNS-315 touchscreen navigation system.

Similar to the 2.5-liter gasoline trims, all TDI Clean Diesel models receive interior and exterior enhancements. All models now include power-recline driver and front passenger seats in addition to a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and handbrake lever. A new iridium trim enhances the dash and door panels. The exterior now features a chrome radiator grille along with chrome window trim.

The top-of-the-line TDI Premium with Navigation trim includes a six-way power driver seat and a new 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheel.

The performance-driven Jetta GLI model now features Launch Control. All Jetta GLI models equipped with the DSG automatic transmission include a Launch Control program that can be engaged by the driver when the vehicle is at a stop, allowing for a perfect launch with controlled wheelspin. Technology updates to the sporty GLI Autobahn with Navigation trim include a rearview camera and Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs.

Volkswagen's first hybrid compact, the Jetta Hybrid, launches in the late fall. It will offer a manufacturer-estimated combined 45 mpg. Further detail on trims and pricing will be announced at launch.

Jetta SportWagen
For 2013, the Jetta SportWagen incorporates only minor changes over the 2012 models.
  • The S trim now features a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and multi-function display.

Passat
For 2013, the Passat incorporates minor changes over the 2012 models.
  • The only German-Engineered sedan available in the mid-size segment, with class-leading rear-seat legroom.
  • TDI Clean Diesel model with manual transmission has class-leading range of 795 miles.
  • SE trim and above get a new center console that incorporates rear air vents, a new cupholder design, and a revised covered front stowage area.
  • All SEL trim models get a rearview camera.

The Passat has been an instant success for Volkswagen, with more than 100,000 being built since it went on sale in September of 2011. The car has also been a hit with media, too, winning Motor Trend's 2012 Car of the Year and multiple comparison tests in top U.S. publications. The popular TDI model also set a long-distance driving record, achieving 1626 miles on one tank of Clean Diesel fuel from Houston, Texas, to Sterling, Virginia, driven by acknowledged mileage experts John and Helen Taylor.

MINIVANS, SUVs

Routan
For 2013, the Routan carries over unchanged.

Tiguan
For 2013, the Tiguan incorporates only minor changes over the 2012 models.
  • All Tiguan trim lines get an electronic parking brake, hill-hold control, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, and a leather shift knob.
  • SE trim receives a partial power passenger seat.
  • SEL trim has a power passenger seat and a rearview camera.
Touareg
For 2013, the Touareg incorporates only minor changes over the 2012 models.
  • Touareg TDI Clean Diesel models get a power hike, from 225 horsepower to 240.
  • 18-inch "Karakum" wheels are available on VR6 and TDI Sport trims.
  • Executive and Hybrid trims get Vavona wood interior trim.
  • Hybrid models receive LED taillights and rear license-plate light.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 80 Comments
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is it also replacing the ancient/anemic 2.0L 4cyl that is still base engine in some North American models?
        RocketRed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Why should it? There is a huge segment of the population that doesn't even know what engine is in his/her car much less how much power it makes. No point in putting a more expensive engine in a car and then try to convince one of these buyers to pay more for it. No one buys the base anyway. It's just there so VW can lower the printed base MSRP.
      MyerShift
      • 2 Years Ago
      No manual Golf four door? Bah. Same (bah) for push button start.
      djrroar1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just drove my 2012 VW Passatt SE with the 2.5 engine 400+ miles, just under 35 MPG, the car is quite, smooth, has huge space and never did I think I did not have enough power. Have just over 25,000 miles on the vehicle and could not be happier. Have any of you ever dirven the car? Biggest issue with blogs, people get to express their opinions even if they have little if any knowledge about the subject being discussed.
      MiddleClassMotoring
      • 2 Years Ago
      IMO, this is a welcome change. From the VW's I've experienced with this 5 cylinder (through Hertz + a friend's last gen Jetta), it's not a very desirable motor. It's not as fuel efficient as the competition, and not as powerful either. More importantly for people like me, it wasn't very smooth, didn't sound great, and had a rather unrefined feel overall. I always wondered why VW, being the King of turbo 4's, didn't replace this sooner. I think it was partially due to pride... In other countries (like China) VW turbo 4's flourish and have problem to be solid, reliable, and practical motors.
        patrick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MiddleClassMotoring
        This motor will be missed when your walking ( This motor is simple and understressed, Timing Chains, no belts, NO Turbos), this motor was and is good enough, to base the Audi tt/rs engine on it, or most of it. This motor will still be built, as long as Audi offers the 2,5 engine in thier TT/rs, as the block is the same, and built in Guess where? Mexico.
          graphikzking
          • 2 Years Ago
          @patrick
          Camry 4 cylinder - 1 less cylinder. Larger car and 2 more mpg city and 3 more mpg hwy. No turbos on it either.
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @patrick
          the TT-RS version is not built in mexico. It's built in bulgaria.
          patrick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @patrick
          The motor is assembled in Gyor Hungary With DI Heads, The block is sent from VW in Mexico and it is the same block as the TT/Rs also the 72 degree crank forged in Mexico.
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @patrick
          or maybe that was hungary.. either way, it's built in europe, not north america
      RudyH
      • 2 Years Ago
      I suppose they didn't want to cut into A3 sales? Makes it scary what this engine will have after getting nerfed by North American regulations 1.8 TFSI producing 180 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque Read more: http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/geneva/2012/1202_2013_audi_a3/#ixzz20yishRec
      to your email L
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yup and watch there be no trailer towing capacity like with the current model of 1500 lbs. They'd do better to make a 2.5 L 4 with direct injection with about 185 hp like the future Impala will do. Oh and make the IRS standard across all models.
      prescotthartman
      • 2 Years Ago
      2.5 Hate hate hate hate hate.... All of you will be sorry when this new turbo motor begins to have issues (aside from having to clean the injestors around 80k regarless). Seriously why all the whining over a solid, reliable engine that isn't made for any other reason than to get people from point 'A' to point 'B' drama free? Don't get me wrong, I love turbo motors. But for an everyday application, isn't simple and reliable what you want?
      RocketRed
      • 2 Years Ago
      Tuners rejoice. Now you can get a car for less than a GLI/GTI that you can chip and boost massively.
      Radioactive Flea
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ahh. The 1.8T. Bring on the coil pack, mass flow sensor, and plastic water pump failures. Man I miss the 90's.
      bleexeo
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's amazing that VW has hung on to that ancient craptastic 5-cylinder for this long.
      Soyntgo4it
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mexico hahahaha... Not so German no more.. Wonder why I wont buy one..
        mkM3
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Soyntgo4it
        Yeah. Because Volkswagen's have never been built in Mexico. Especially not since 19-f**king*-67. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Beetle_in_Mexico#Start_of_production_in_Puebla
      Justin Campanale
      • 2 Years Ago
      I know that my opinIon differs from the majority, but I always did love VW for putting > 4 cylinder s in small cars. I used to have a Jetta 2.8 GLX and a Golf R32. The inline 5, although not a very loved engined, had nice low end grunt and had a unique sound. Couldn't they continue with the 5 cylinder engines? Maybe they could make the next generation small displacement and turbo, like a 1.4 inline 5 turbo with 160 hp for the Jetta and a 1.6 inline 5 turbo with 200 hp for the Passat.
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