Archive | Technology

15 February 2012 ~ 4 Comments

Polo 1.4 Active Cylinder Technology due for late 2012 launch

According to recent reports, a technology-laden Polo 1.4 Active Cylinder Technology (ACT) model is to be launched in late 2012. The revolutionary-engined Polo employs Volkswagen’s new 1.4 TSI unit with ACT, the first four-cylinder engine in the world with cylinder deactivation technology. Soon to be introduced in the new Audi A1 Sportback., and improving both fuel consumption and C02 emissions under light engine loads, the 138bhp engine shuts down two cylinders when the unit is less stressed, displaying a ‘two-cylinder mode’ warning telltale in the dashboard display.

Prototypes (like the Braunschweig-registered car pictured above on the roads outside Wolfsburg) are already doing the rounds. UK motoring title What Car? Has already tested the car, and states that ‘VW sources suggest the Polo ACT will be a stand-alone model in the range. A price of around £17,000 seems likely.’ The new engine, a member of Volkswagen’s new EA211 family, is one of the first fruits of the company’s flexible new Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) chassis and platform technology.

VW states that MQB (the German translation is Modularer Querbaukasten) exploits synergies in key technologies across vehicle classes, making luxury technologies accessible to high-volume models. The first products of the new transverse-engined system are reportedly the Mk 7 Golf and Audi A3, both due for launch later this year. The MQB will also extend down to the Polo (we presume the next generation model) and also covers Beetle, Jetta, Scirocco, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touran and Sharan.

Making production easier, all of these models could theoretically be produced on the same assembly line, despite their different wheelbases and track widths. All the engines will be mounted uniformly, with the EA211 petrol family (engines with 59-149bhp) and EA288 diesel family (engines with 89-189bhp) key ingredients of the new system. Hybrid-drive and other alternative-fuel powerplants will also see modules mounted in the same place on every variant, cutting production costs considerably. Volkswagen says that MQB will also allow the group to deliver individually-tailored vehicles which can be sold much more competitively in the company’s diverse global markets.

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13 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Plug-in Volkswagen Polo electric/petrol hybrid ‘under development’

Various internet sources are reporting that Volkswagen will launch a plug-in hybrid powertrain version of the Polo in ‘coming years’. state that Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn confirmed to Auto Zeitung last week that it was ‘necessary’ for the German giant to have at least one plug-in hybrid vehicle on sale, and that the Polo and Golf were prime candidates for such eco-friendly models, especially as Toyota has launched hybrid ‘HSD’ versions of both the Auris and Yaris. Volkswagen have already developed an electric hybrid version of the Golf, the blue-e-motion, which develops a maximum output of 114bhp/85kW, continuous power of 68bhp/50kW, and 200lb ft/270Nm of torque. The Golf blue-e-motion is scheduled to go on sale to the general public in 2013.

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10 September 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen presents world’s first engine with cylinder shut-off technology

The latest engine efficiency technology from Volkswagen is a ground-breaking cylinder shut-off system, which will debut in a new 1.4-litre TSI powerplant in early 2012. With the primary goal of reducing fuel consumption, the engine temporarily shuts off two of the four cylinders under low to medium loads. Cylinder shut-off reduces fuel consumption of the 1.4-litre TSI by 0.4 litres per 100 km in the NEDC driving cycle, and when the company’s Start/Stop functionality is integrated – deactivating the engine in neutral gear – the savings adds up to 0.6 litres per 100 km.

The greatest benefits of the cutting-edge technology are realised while driving at constant moderate speeds. At 50km/h (31mph), in third or fourth gear, the savings amount to nearly one litre per 100 km. This new fuel efficient TSI will therefore also fulfil the forthcoming EU6 emissions standard. High efficiency does not exclude driving comfort: even when running on just two cylinders, the 1.4-litre TSI – with its excellent engine balance – is still very quiet and low in vibration.

Cylinder shut-off is active whenever the engine speed of the 1.4-litre TSI is between 1,400 and 4,000rpm and its torque is between 25 and 75Nm (18-55lb ft). This applies to nearly 70% of the driving distance in the EU fuel economy driving cycle. As soon as the driver presses the accelerator pedal sufficiently hard, cylinders 2 and 3 are reactivated imperceptibly. The system takes its information from the accelerator pedal sensor to detect the mode of driving. If the driving exhibits a non-uniform pattern – for example, while driving in roundabout traffic or in a sporty style on a country road – the shut-off functionality is automatically suppressed.

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12 July 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Auto Trader revs up with new dedicated Apple iPad app


We like technology at, especially any technology aimed for use on Apple’s mobile iOS devices. Last week car-buying website Auto Trader launched its first dedicated iPad app, introducing a new way for potential car buyers to find the wheels that will transport them to the next stage of their motoring history. It looks good, is fiendishly simple to use, and utilises all the great functionality of the Apple tablet. Based on an image-led interface, the cost-free Auto Trader app makes browsing for cars visually appealing, and meticulous search options let users narrow down their finds to the exact specification they require. A particularly useful element is the ‘garage’ function, which stores saved cars and results, letting buyers compare up to four cars side-by-side.

A ‘browse bar’ also allows users to navigate and jump to a point in their search results based on essential car-buying criteria, such as mileage, location or price. There’s also the ability to share found cars with friends and family by email, seamlessly integrating with the iPad’s ‘Mail’ application. Web links to dealers, contact details, extensive swiping galleries and even active maps are all useful tools which add to the Auto Trader app experience. ‘Our iPad app is a new way to search Auto Trader for your perfect car,’ said Nick Gee, Director of Mobile at Auto Trader. ‘Our main objective was to retain the essential search element of Auto Trader and yet enhance and redefine the user experience for iPad users. We will continue to improve the experience based on the feedback we receive.’ is the UK’s no 1 motoring website, with over 10.3 million monthly unique users, who carry out over 106 million searches on new and used vehicles (source: Auto Trader audit, January 2009), and the new app complements the website perfectly. In the days since this author worked at an Auto Trader local office, much has changed, and the dated-looking, flat ads I used to design have now given way to swiping, interactive media, and the Auto Trader app is genuinely impressive. Trouble is, it’s so easy to use and understand, that it could lead to all sorts of trouble and no end of potential dream purchases. Let me see, 2007-2010 Polo GTI in black, red, silver or white…

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23 March 2011 ~ 0 Comments mobile device enabled; widget delivers news direct to desktop

We’ve been doing subtle improvements to the site over the last few days, one of which means that is now mobile device enabled. If you have an Apple or other mobile device, the reconfigured site should now display ‘natively’ as an app-type website, making content much easier to navigate. The front page displays a list of the most recent posts, while each individual post can be read by clicking on it. At the bottom of each entry are buttons for sending with a friend, posting to Twitter, or sharing on Facebook. At the top of the display is an arrow, which drops down to show RSS feed links as well as category and tag navigation. We think it’s a worthwhile improvement – let us know what you think.

The widget is still available, too. If you’re a Polo driver and a Mac user, you can now get all the latest news direct to your desktop. Built to run on OS X 10.4 and above and to sit in Dashboard, the widget displays the latest headlines directly in its built-in viewer when it detects an internet connection. Using the widget is easy. Click on the headline or read the introductory paragraph and then follow the ‘Read More’ link to go to the website for the full story. The article length can be made shorter or longer by clicking on the ‘i’ at the bottom right of the viewer, and can be set to show the full text of each article if so desired. If you’re non-RSS and Twitter-enabled but still want to catch up with all the news on, download the desktop widget from here, open the zip file and install.

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