New Volkswagen Golf petrol engine is ‘as efficient as diesel’

The new Volkswagen Golf petrol will be “as efficient as a diesel”, the German manufacturer has said.

Described as a “micro-hybrid” by its maker, the new 1.5 TSI ACT BlueMotion engine will produce 128bhp and return almost 60mpg.

This feat has been achieved using a multitude of technologies, including Active Cylinder Control, which shuts off two of the four cylinders when there is little load on the engine. The system can also shut the engine off entirely when there is no load on it, such as when coasting to a halt or down a hill.

Normally, this would cause the driver to lose power steering, anti-lock braking and other creature comforts, but the Golf’s “micro-hybrid” 12V battery pack allows it to continue powering these electrical systems.

Other features include variable turbine geometry in the turbocharger, which allows the turbo to provide boost at a greater range of power settings. This produces more power at lower revs, reducing the amount of fuel needed.

New Volkswagen Golf petrol – really as efficient as a diesel?

VW’s new 1.5-litre TSI engine will return 58.9mpg and emit just 110g of CO2 per kilometre, despite its 128bhp power output. Now, that certainly sounds like strong economy from a petrol engine, but how do the numbers stack up?

Well, it’s certainly one of the more efficient petrol engines on sale. The Renault Megane’s 128bhp petrol engine, for example, can only manage 52.3mpg and 120g/km emissions, while the Toyota Auris’ 1.2-litre petrol engine also has higher emissions, despite being less powerful. The Honda Civic’s 1.0-litre petrol engine, however, more or less matches the VW unit in terms of fuel consumption, power and emissions.

And the news gets worse when you start comparing it with diesels. The 1.5-litre diesel in a Ford Focus is less powerful, with 118bhp, but it returns 74.3mpg and emits just 99g of CO2 per kilometre. The Peugeot 308, meanwhile, has an even more economical engine. Its 1.5-litre, 128bhp diesel engine is good for 76.3mpg and just 93g/km CO2 emissions.

   VW Golf

1.5 TSI ACT 130PS

Honda Civic

1.0 i-VTEC
129PS

 Peugeot 308

1.5 BlueHDi 130PS

Ford Focus

1.5 TDCi
120PS

 Fuel  Petrol Petrol Diesel Diesel
 Power (bhp)  128 127 128 118
 Economy (mpg)  58.9 58.9 76.3 74.3
 CO2 (g/km)  110  110  93  99

New Volkswagen Golf petrol – where does it fit in the range?

Comparisons with other VW Golf engines are difficult, because there are no 1.5-litre, 128bhp diesels in the German manufacturer’s range. The closest match, then, is probably the existing 1.6-litre TDI found in the basic Golf S, which returns 68.9mpg and emits just 106g of CO2 per kilometre. But though this engine is more economical, it’s less powerful than the new petrol engine. We aren’t sure how fast the new 1.5 TSI engine will be, but it’ll probably beat the 1.6 TDI’s 10.2-second 0-62mph time.

To match the new engine for performance, you may need to step up to the larger 2.0-litre diesel. With 148bhp it’s more powerful than the petrol and more efficient, returning 65.7mpg. It does, however, emit 1g more carbon dioxide per kilometre.

And that’s the key to the new Volkswagen Golf petrol’s place in the range. As you can see from the table below, its 21 percent company car tax rate makes it the cheapest option for business users, and those with fuel cards won’t care whether it’s 10mpg less economical than a diesel.

 VW Golf

1.5 TSI ACT 130PS

VW Golf

1.6 TDI 115PS

VW Golf

2.0 TDI 150PS

Fuel  Petrol Diesel Diesel
Power (bhp) 128 113 148
Economy (mpg)   58.9 68.9 65.7
CO2 (g/km)  110 106 111
BIK tax (2017/18)  21%  23% 24%

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