03 January 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Dealer view: seventh generation Passat arrives this month

Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September 2010, the new Passat is the seventh generation of this popular model that has sold over 15 million during the 37 years since its debut. Victoria Stubbs from Volkswagen retailer group Vindis previews the new model, due in UK showrooms this month

New design
While the grille and headlights are perhaps the most noticeable changes, the only panel of the exterior of both the saloon and estate models that is unchanged is the roof. For a quieter ride, the side windows have thicker glass, the windscreen has two layers of glass with a thin plastic film between them, and the front bulkhead is thicker. However, despite all these changes the dimensions of the car are practically unchanged.

New interior
New seats feature both heating and cooling elements, and the dashboard, centre console and door trims have all been revisited. An iPod interface and leather multifunction steering wheel are standard for the S trim; the next level up (SE) comes with eight-speaker digital radio and is Bluetooth-enabled. The top of the range Sport has touchscreen satellite navigation. The estate is expected to out-sell the saloon for the first time.

New engines
There is a range of both petrol and diesel engines, all available with manual or DSG transmission. The petrol units are 1.4, 1.8 and 2.0-litre TSIs, topping off with a 3.6-litre V6. You have a choice of two diesels; a 1.6 or 2.0-litre TDI. The most economical of these is the 1.6-litre, the BlueMotion variant of which is capable of 68.8 mpg with only 109g/km of CO2. That fuel economy gives it a possible range of over 1000 miles on a single tank of diesel. If you think this is just hype, you’d be wrong – an unmodified Passat recently broke a Guinness world record by doing over 1500 miles on just one tank of diesel!

New safety and comfort features
Like previous Passats, VW’s ‘ESP’ (electronic stabilisation system) intelligent suspension is standard; if you opt to have a factory-fitted towbar then the system also takes into account your trailer. Six airbags, ABS and anti-whiplash headrests are also standard. However, there are also new features which were previously only available for the more expensive Touareg and Phaeton.

Automatic distance control and emergency braking
This new system means that at speeds below 18mph the car will automatically brake if it senses a possible collision in front. And – so long as there is space in front – if a collision from behind is anticipated then the car will automatically accelerate.

Fatigue detection
Another new feature (on the SE and above) monitors the driver’s actions and will give a warning message to the driver (both audio and visual) if it is felt that the driver is not active enough. Tiredness is a real killer and this warning to take a break could save lives.

New differential
The new XDS electronic transverse differential (also standard on the Golf GTI) makes the seventh-generation Passat feel more responsive by reducing understeer and improving traction on wet roads.

‘Hands Full’ boot opening system
Finally, saloon models with the optional keyless entry specification can be opened at the rear with a simple foot motion so long as you are carrying the key fob, making loading the boot easier.

Orders are being taken now for immediate delivery. Prices start at £18,470 (RRP on the road) for the saloon and £19,745 (RRP on the road) for the estate.

Victoria Stubbs, Vindis
Vindis are VW dealers for all models including used Volkswagen Passat

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27 November 2010 ~ 2 Comments

Dealer view: fuel economy world record set by Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen’s BlueMotion technology not only helps the Polo achieve exceptional fuel economy. Victoria Stubbs from Volkswagen retailer group Vindis explains how a Passat BlueMotion recently entered the record books

A new Guinness World Record for fuel economy has been set by a journalist from The Sunday Times driving a Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion. The car was a standard production model with no adjustments or alterations, and it travelled a staggering 1526 miles on one tank of normal diesel. The record was witnessed by two AA engineers who followed the Passat in their van, and has been officially accredited by Guinness.

The 77.25 litres of fuel was enough to get the Passat, its driver (and a navigator) from Maidstone in Kent to the South of France, and nearly as far back as Calais. Where possible, travel was on French autoroutes to minimise town driving (which uses more fuel), and over the three-day journey the average speed was a little over 45mph.

The car used for the record-breaking run was fitted with a 104bhp, 1.6-litre TDI engine using Volkswagen’s new common-rail system. The Passat’s official combined cycle fuel economy is 64.2mpg, but on this journey, a figure of 89.8mpg was attained. The cost of fuel for the journey worked out at an amazing 6.17p per mile!

In common with the Polo and Golf BlueMotion models, the Passat is fitted with aerodynamic modifications to the bodywork, a lower ride height, Stop/Start, programmed battery charging, longer gearing and low rolling resistance tyres. The result is a vehicle that is completely conventional to drive, service and maintain yet among the most efficient vehicles on the road today.

Using the same technology, a Polo BlueMotion recently took part in the inaugural RAC Future Car Challenge. With a combined economy of 80.7mpg from its 74bhp 1.2 TDI engine, it was forecast that the Polo BlueMotion would complete the 57-mile run from Brighton to London using just 3.21 litres of diesel (0.70 gallons) costing a total of £3.78 based on today’s average fuel prices.

Victoria Stubbs, Vindis
Vindis are VW dealers for all models including used Volkswagen Passat

[World Record image: Media Inventions Ltd]

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29 September 2010 ~ 4 Comments

Dealer view: Volkswagen’s TDI
engines explained

In the second of our series of dealer view articles, Victoria Stubbs from Volkswagen retailer group Vindis explains the technology behind the company’s TDI engines, as used in the new Polo SE and SEL 1.6 TDIs

If you’re comparing engine options on Volkswagen models, you probably asked yourself at some point ‘What is a TDI engine?’ Well, TDI stands for Turbocharged Direct Injection. TDI engines are Volkswagen’s advanced diesel engines, and are more powerful (with faster acceleration and smooth performance), more economical, produce less CO2, and will require less maintenance and servicing. To find out why, read on.

You need oxygen to burn fuel in an engine, and as only 21% of our atmosphere is oxygen, huge amounts of air are needed for an effective engine. The TDI’s turbocharger squeezes air tightly into the engine’s cylinders (where the combustion takes place) and then cools it so it shrinks further. The injection system then adds fuel (also under high pressure) into the compressed air. This compressed mix burns better but uses less fuel.

The knock-on effect of this more efficient combustion technique is an engine that is powerful even at low revs, and burns less fuel whether at low or high speeds.

More about turbochargers
A turbocharger has two turbines; the first is powered by the exhaust gas and drives the second, which sucks in the air with the oxygen needed for combustion. The air is compressed and then cooled to compress it still further before it is mixed with the fuel and burnt.

A traditional problem with turbochargers is that if the engine is running at low revs then there will be less exhaust gas and therfore less power to drive the turbines. VW uses a nifty feature called Variable Turbine Geometry to overcome this problem. Vanes are used to create a smaller area of airflow through the exhaust turbine, increasing the speed of flow and making the turbine work as if the engine were running at a higher speed.

More about fuel injection
The key factor here is the fuel pressure. The more pressure you can put the fuel under, the finer the spray will be that gets injected into the cylinder, and the quicker and more thoroughly it will mix with it the compressed air. This means you get more power – and less emissions – from the same amount of fuel.

Volkswagen use Piezo crystal injectors, which are lighter and twice as fast as the solenoid valves traditionally used. This speed increase means the injector valve can adjust the rate of fuel injection five times faster. This means smoother, quieter and more efficient combustion.

The latest weapon in the war to increase fuel pressure is the ‘Common Rail’ direct injection system. This separates the pressure generation and the fuel injection processes, meaning each can be more efficient. The common rail is the name given to the high-pressure fuel reservoir to which all the injectors are connected. Each injector receives an uninterrupted supply of fuel at the same high pressure from the common rail.

Finally, as well as burning less fuel, the TDI engines also produce less emissions, thanks to VW’s diesel particulate filters. These not only trap even the smallest particles of soot produced by burning fuel, but need no additives to run, meaning they need little or no maintenance. In fact VW recommend the first inspection at 150,000km.

Victoria Stubbs, Vindis
Vindis are retailers for all Volkswagen models including used Volkswagen Passat

Read the PoloDriver first drive of the 74bhp Polo SE 1.6 TDI and the rest of the fifth-generation Polo range here

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21 July 2010 ~ 2 Comments

Dealer view: Volkswagen’s TSI
engines explained

Following our recent first drive of the turbocharged Polo SEL and in the first of a new series of articles, Victoria Stubbs from Volkswagen retailer group Vindis explains the technology behind the company’s TSI engines, as used in the new Polo GTI

If you’re looking into buying a new Volkswagen you might have wondered what a TSI engine is, and what the difference is between a TSI and TDI. Simply put, TSI are Volkswagen’s petrol engines and the TDIs are diesel. However there’s a bit more to it than that; the TSI engines actually take features from the diesel TDIs and normal petrol direct injection engines and mix them together.

The 1.4-litre TSI unit is a ‘hybrid’ engine that combines petrol direct injection with what VW call ‘twincharging’ – a turbocharger and supercharger working together. The result is a compact yet powerful engine that scores highly for both performance and economy, runs smoothly and quietly, and produces less CO2.

The following features are at the heart of the TSI formula:

First, a smaller and lighter engine. Decreasing engine size means less power is lost through friction, and reducing weight means the engine has less to move.

Second, direct petrol injection and twincharging. Engines run by burning fuel (combustion). The more efficient the combustion, the higher the power output and the lower the fuel consumption. VW’s twincharging system means a turbocharger and supercharger working together. The supercharger is powered via belt drive from the crankshaft, giving optimum pulling power even at very low revs. At higher speeds the turbocharger (a system that uses the energy from exhaust gases to power the air intake that is essential for combustion) joins in, making the system more energy-efficient.

Volkswagen have used a number of design tricks to make the TSIs even more efficient. These include redesigning moving parts to use less materials (and therefore be lighter) and optimising the fuel injection. This second point needs a little more explanation.

Two of the key factors in engine design are pressurising and cooling air in the cylinder (because oxygen is needed for combustion and air is only 21% oxygen), and pressuring fuel so that it can be injected into the cylinder as a fine spray and mix as quickly and evenly as possible with the compressed air prior to combustion. The TSI’s turbocharger has its own separate air cooler, which means that the volume of air held in the system to charge the cyclinder with has been halved. The pressure required for combustion can build up far more quickly, meaning further efficiency savings all round.

The TSI engine has been well-received by motor critics worldwide, and the 1.4-litre twincharger unit has won the International Engine of the Year award in the 1.0-1.4 litre category every year since 2005. It also won Best Green Engine in 2009. A 1.2-litre TSI engine is also available, fitted with a turbocharger only.

Victoria Stubbs, Vindis
Vindis are retailers for all Volkswagen models including the ever-popular secondhand VW Golf

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