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 city car, the Up!. 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 like this:
VW technical boss, Michael Hinz, added that even three-cylinder engines can be challenging to develop, stating: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.
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.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.