The Volkswagen Beetle Turbo, Beetle Turbo Convertible and the Jetta GLI all go on sale this month and for the 2013 models, the most notable change has been the improvement in power of the award winning EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI® engine.
There is an increase in 10 horsepower compared to its predecessor, which brings total output to 210 horses and torque remains unchanged at 207 lb-ft. The Beetle Turbo is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, which is an improvement of 0.2 seconds. And the Jetta GLI does the run to 60 in 6.7 seconds which is a tenth faster with the manual transmission and two-tenths quicker with the DSG® dual-clutch automatic than cars equipped with the Gen 2 engine.
Along with improved performance, the new engine also provides a manufacturer-estimated improvement in fuel efficiency for the Beetle models of between four and eight percent in city and combined fuel economy. The new engine has been designed to be lighter and more fuel efficient. This in part due to the reduction in weight by eight pounds. Improvements to design include a thinwall crankcase casting; exhaust headers that are integrated into the cylinder head; smaller diameter main bearings; roller bearings for the twin balancer shafts; and a crankshaft that has four counterweights instead of eight.
As well as the new engine, the Beetle Turbo and the Beetle Turbo Convertible both receive new R-Line bumpers that feature grained black surfaces and chrome-framed turn signals at the front and a diffuser at the rear. The Jetta GLI also receives upgrades with LED taillights on all three trims.
Those of us who are environmentally conscious in all areas of our lives can appreciate when design meets functionality, especially when it comes to big ticket items like our cars and home. With the unveiling the Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupe Concept, that might just be the case. Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen Brand, says, “The disproportionate growth in the SUV segment gives designers the opportunity to implement an even greater diversification of models. The CrossBlue Coupé shows the potential of our Volkswagen design DNA and will undoubtedly have an influence on future SUV models.”
The CrossBlue Coupe is equipped with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that is as fuel-efficient as it is sporty. Under the hood, a turbocharged direct-injection (TSI) V6 gasoline engine works together with two electric motors to produce as much as 415 horsepower. Performing just like a sports car, it powers from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.9 seconds before topping out at 147 mph.
Despite its strong performance numbers, the CrossBlue Coupe has a combined fuel consumption of just 79 mpg in the new European driving cycle (NEDC). Even with just the TSI engine running, gas mileage is still an impressive 34.1 mpg and with a 21.2 gallon gas tank, that gives us a theoretical range of around 720 miles.
The CrossBlue Coupe can be driven as zero emissions EV for up to 21 miles at a maximum speed of 75 mph. To intentionally use this eco-friendly mode in urban areas, the driver simply pushes a button. The concept vehicle is based off the new Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) and could, if it were produced, be fitted with conventional four- and six-cylinder engines running on a variety of fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and CNG. Equipped with five comfortable seats and a spacious trunk, the CrossBlue Coupe definitely belongs to the SUV avant-garde.
About three weeks ago, the Golf was crowned European Car of the Year. Other titles from home and abroad include ‘The Best Cars of 2013,’ ‘Auto Trophy 2013,’ and the ‘Top Gear – All the car you’ll ever need Award.’ Last week, an international jury of automotive experts named the Volkswagen Golf ‘World Car of the Year 2013.’ It is a coveted prize and VW was honored with the announcement at this year’s New York International Auto Show.
Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, explained: “We at Volkswagen are all delighted that the Golf has been named ‘World Car of the Year.’ To win this award again shows that the Golf remains in a class of its own all around the world. This car sets new benchmarks again and again, not least in terms of efficiency and environmental credentials. Soon, for instance, the Golf will also be launched as a plug-in hybrid and as a 100% electric car.”
An international jury consisting of 66 automotive journalists from 23 countries were charged with selecting the ‘World Car of the Year.’ This is the second year that VW has won the ‘World Car of the Year’ title and fourth time since 2009. It was the Up! in 2012, Polo in 2010 and sixth-generation Golf in 2009. For 2013, the Golf beat out three other finalists: Mercedez-Benz A-Class compact hatch; Porsche Boxter/Cayman sports cars and Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT 86 sports car triplets.
In summarizing their reasons for crowing the VW Golf with the prize, the jury said, “The Golf is just the right size – it’s spacious, practical and comfortable. It has got a fresh, progressive design, a new range of engines, plus an impressive list of equipment and safety systems. If there is a car for everyone, the Golf is it.”
It may be disconcerting to many of us that some of the luxuries we enjoy actually cause harm to the environment. One of those things being air conditioning which contains chloroflourocarbons, or CFCs. CFCs, often known under DuPont’s brandname Freon, were deemed a major contributor to the hole in the ozone layer and has been phased out over the years.
Recently, as part of their goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable carmaker, Volkswagen is now looking to a different refrigerant to use in its vehicles–carbon dioxide (CO2). VW is devoting two thirds of its investment capital in the development of efficient technologies and vehicles, as well as sustainable production methods.
Why use carbon dioxide when it has its own unwelcome impacts to the environment when released in large quantities? The truth is, CO2’s impact compared to that of conventional refrigerants are much smaller while being just as effecting in cooling the cabin of any vehicle in a well designed air conditioning system.
According to VW, CO2’s Global Warming Potential (GWP) value is “1” which is meaningless especially when the European Union limits companies to a GWP of 150. To provide a broader perspective, commonly cited greenhouse gas methane is 72 on the same scale and nitrous oxide is 114.
The use of CO2 as a refrigerant may seem like a small step in the right direction but given the larger scope of the plan to improve vehicles and production, every small step helps make a larger leap forward.
What do you think?
by Zach McDonald | HybridCars.com
A study from PA Consulting Group has ranked the Volkswagen Group ahead of four of the world’s other largest automakers in a rating of overall sustainability. The global auto giant, whose brands include Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and several others, beat out Daimler, BMW, Peugeot Citroen, and Toyota, earning an overall score of 81 points out of a possible 100—eleven points ahead of the next highest finisher. The difference between the second and fourth best scores was just two points.
PA Consulting set out to measure the carmakers in three separate categories: Sustainability Strategy, which assessed on the basis of overall targets and clarity of reporting goals to the public; Product Portfolio, which measured the effectiveness of each manufacturer at developing and implementing green technologies; and Transparency and Operational Performance.
“The study shows that all companies have a robust sustainability strategy in place,” said Tobias Reich, automotive expert at PA Consulting. “Although Toyota is widely perceived as the most sustainable, Volkswagen comes out on top based on our study. Clear objectives need to be set and performance constantly monitored against set goals to improve the green performance and environmental impact.” The study said Toyota was in part hurt by the fact that it had already come so far in green mobility that its research and development spending for such technologies had tapered off compared to its competitors.
Despite being slow to plug-in electric vehicle market, VW may soon catch up with forthcoming fully electric and plug-in hybrid versions of its popular Golf, as well as the much talked about 261-mpg XL1. Volkswagen has been particularly strong in the wide range of technological configurations it has been developing, including hybrid, clean diesel, electric, natural gas and plug-in hybrids.
Recently, VW Group’s Audi brand unveiled its A3 Sportback G-Tron with bi-fuel power. The car will run on both gasoline and natural gas, giving it a combined range of more than 800 miles. Audi’s green strategy for the vehicle goes beyond the car itself though, as Audi will begin manufacturing a synthetic methane using a special process to recycle captured carbon and turn it into fuel for the G-Tron. When operating on this fuel—which Audi calls “e-gas”—the A3 produces emissions in the range of some electric vehicles.
Ahead of its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show which starts later this week, images of the upcoming Volkswagen Golf Wagon were leaked. It’s clear that the design is cleaner with crisp and sharper lines compared to the current model. Images of the interior or other details have yet to come by but few doubt that Volkswagen will soon release more info. In the meantime, enjoy the sneak preview:
If you haven’t already seen it, Volkswagen of America, Inc. paid homage to the iconic Volkswagen Beetle with the world unveil of the 2014 Beetle GSR. Forty years ago, the sportiest version of the classic Beetle made its debut. Called the GSR (Gelb Schwarzer Renner or “Yellow Black Racer”), the vehicle was based on a 1303S and was instantly recognizable by its color scheme. Only 3500 units were built and as a result, they have now become collectors’ items over the years.
The new 2014 Beetle GSR bears the striking yellow and black, just like its predecessor and debuts in an uprated version of the award-winning EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder TSI® engine that generates 210 horsepower. VW has re-interpreted the 1970s GSR and brought it into the modern era.
Though features such as the unique yellow and black-themed interior, the sports seats as well as the leather steering wheel remain, the new GSR is a whole lot more sophisticated. For example, the black-trimmed leather sport seats and high-grip leather steering wheel both have contrasting yellow stitching. Other interior changes include an R-Line dash pad, a GSR shift lever, a leather handbrake lever, and black floormats with contrasting yellow embroidery. A badge on the steering wheel is marked with the special-edition number (1 through 3500) to emphasize the uniqueness of the vehicle.
Forty years ago, the Beetle GSR’s max output was a mere 50 horsepower which was enough to give it the requisite performance for a sporty compact of that time. But this modern world demands a little bit more. The new GSR’s 210 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque enables the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds before topping out at 130 mph. Most impressively, the engine delivers peak torque from as low as 1700 rpm, giving smooth, effortless acceleration in all gears. The GSR is fitted with a standard six-speed manual transmission but a dual-clutch DSG® six-speed automatic transmission is also an option.
Of the limited 3500 units to be sold, more than half will be availble to the U.S. The new GSR comes equipped with a host of standard equipment and features such as the Fender® Premium Audio System; panoramic sunroof; keyless access with push-button start; Bi-Xenon headlights with LED DRLs; LED license plate lighting; heated from seats; Bluetooth® connectivity; a Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod® cable; three color ambient lighting; aluminum-alloy pedals; and three auxiliary instruments that include a clock with a stopwatch function and a boost gauge. The Volkswagen Beetle GSR will arrive in showrooms this fall as a 2014 model. Pricing will be announced closer to launch. Continue to follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook community to be one of the first to find out as soon as the car arrives!
Many may not be aware that Volkswagen is force to be reckoned with in the formula truck racing industry. A popular past time in South America, formula truck racing is similar to formula car racing except for the fact that racers are careening at high speeds along the track in streamlined tractor trailers. Imagine large trucks, packing massive amounts of power, racing around a track. It can definitely create an intense racing environment.
Volkswagen is heavily involved in the industry and competes against the likes of top brands such as Mercedes Benz. Both manufacturers compete with as many as six different trucks during an event. VW is well known in South America for their production buses as well as trucks. Getting involved in truck racing demonstrates how VW’s expertise extends beyond cars and SUVs.
Have you witness formula truck racing first hand? What are your thoughts on VW’s entry below?
As most of us look forward to this weekend’s NFL finale, Super Bowl XLVII, to watch the battle of the Harbaugh brothers as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens, many are also looking forward to the commercials.
Super Bowl advertisers, especially automakers, these days tend to release their commercials in the weeks before the big game. As a result, YouTube has been able to garner viewing statistics and have provided their top five list, which are all automakers.
Kaley Cuoco appears to have been a good investment for Toyota, as her ad for the all-new RAV4 has garnered the most YouTube views – six million and counting – among Super Bowl commercials so far. Second place goes to Mercedes-Benz, though not its actual Super Bowl commercial, but rather the teaser for it which is the one with Kate Upton and the car washing, which is up to 5.6 million views. Third place is Audi‘s Prom commercial (3.3M views), fourth goes to Volkswagen‘s slightly controversial Get In, Get Happy ad (3.3M views), and the fifth and final spot is bookended by the teaser video for Kaley Cuoco’s Toyota commercial (3.2M views).
Check ‘em out below and let us know which one is your favorite.
Late last week, Volkswagen flipped the switch to power up the largest single solar installation at an automotive manufacturing facility in the United States and the biggest solar installation in the state of Tennessee. Dignitaries were invited to the dedication ceremony which signaled the official opening of the “Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park” which is situated on the grounds of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant.
In late 2011, the U.S. Green Building Council had awarded the facility the highly-coveted LEED Platinum certification and today, it still remains as the only automotive plant worldwide to earn the distinction.
Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations LLC, said, “We are proud to power up the biggest solar park of any car manufacturer in North America today. The solar park,” he said, “is another proof point of Volkswagen’s worldwide commitment to environmental protection under its ‘Think Blue. Factory’ philosophy, a broadly focused initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions.” Mr. Fischer added, “Powering up the solar park also validates the awarding of the LEED Platinum certificate to Volkswagen Chattanooga, which is still the only car factory in the world that has earned such an honor.”
The Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park shares half of the 66-acre land parcel occupied by VW’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The solar park contains 33,600 solar modules from JA Solar designed to produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year–equivalent to the energy consumed annually by around 1,200 homes in the area.
The electricity produced from the solar park is expected to meet 12.5% of the energy needs of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant during full production and 100% during non-production periods. The plant covers 1.9 million square feet and employs more than 3,000 people who manufacture the highly-acclaimed Volkswagen Passat sedan. For Volkswagen, the solar park in Chattanooga will rank as the automaker’s largest photovoltaic installation worldwide.
According to Volkswagen, unlike some companies that install solar facilities in order to sell electricity back to utilities, VW will consume 100% of the electricity generated from the polycrystalline solar modules mounted on a Unirac racking system. Ten SMA inverters will convert the solar energy from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) to be used to power the electrical installations in the manufacturing plant.
Matthew Kisber, Silicon Ranch President and CEO, said, “We’re proud to partner with VW on this important project. Today’s ‘Power Up’ launch not only greatly enhances the energy efficiency of VW’s Chattanooga plant and reaffirms its place as a true global environmental leader, but it also symbolizes the beginning of a new era in manufacturing operations throughout the region and worldwide. The scope of this solar park and the breadth of how much of the sun’s energy will be harnessed here will most certainly have a powerful and lasting positive impact on both our environment and our economy.”