Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept

Volkswagen is constantly searching for ways to bring fuel-efficient options to the midsize Passat - a smart strategy considering it competes in one of the most popular vehicle segments. You can already opt for a diesel-powered TDI model, but the new VW Passat BlueMotion Concept hints at a future technology to improve fuel economy without resorting to hybridization.

Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show today, the BlueMotion Concept uses cylinder deactivation to turn the Passat's 1.4-liter turbocharged and direct-injected engine from an inline four-cylinder to a straight-twin. VW claims that this is the first application of cylinder deactivation on a four-cylinder engine, and it shuts down cylinders two and three when possible for optimal efficiency.

Adding in stop-start technology and the dual-clutch transmission, VW says that this car will get an estimated 42 miles per gallon on the highway. That's almost as efficient as the Passat TDI, but overall power figures are down considerably compared to that car with 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

The full press release from VW is posted below, but it isn't clear if – or when – such use of this tech could make it into production.
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VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT BLUEMOTION® CONCEPT MAKES GLOBAL DEBUT AT THE NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

- Estimated highway fuel economy rating of 42 mpg
- Highly efficient powertrain uses 1.4-liter EA211 TSI® engine and DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission
- Engine is world's first inline four cylinder with cylinder deactivation

Chattanooga/Detroit - The Passat BlueMotion® Concept that is being presented by Volkswagen of America at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit shows just how fuel-efficient a non-hybrid, gasoline-engined mid-size sedan can be. Based on the current Passat that was developed specifically for North America, the BlueMotion label defines the version that has the best efficiency in the model lineup.

The Passat BlueMotion Concept features an all-new version of the Volkswagen 1.4-liter EA211 TSI® engine with direct injection and turbocharging. On top, this Passat also offers Active Cylinder Management (ACT) technology, previously seen on the European Volkswagen Polo and Golf models. ACT deactivates the valvetrain on cylinders two and three for situations when the driver only applies light throttle pressure to maintain specific city speeds.

Another Volkswagen innovation that helps save gas is the coasting function, used also on the Jetta Hybrid. As soon as the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the DSG® transmission decouples the engine, allowing the Passat to roll with the lowest possible mechanical drag from the other moving components.

Additional fuel savings come from the stop/start system, which shuts off the engine when the car comes to a temporary stop. As soon as the driver lifts their foot off the brake, the 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine starts again. All these measures result in a manufacturer estimated highway fuel economy rating of 42 mpg. The Passat BlueMotion Concept also delivers 150 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque.

The Concept's striking Reef Blue Metallic color will be introduced on other Passat models, too. The interior of the Concept also offers two-tone seats that carry blue dividing lines between the darker and lighter leather seating surfaces. The stitching indicates this is a member of the BlueMotion family, which has been rolled out globally since 2006 on many highly fuel-efficient Volkswagen models.