The U.S.-market Volkswagen Passat will be offered with the turbocharged four-cylinder. Volkswagen made the announcement as it marked the start of engine production at its newest plant in Silao, Mexico. This plant will roll out the 1.8-liter turbo engine (rated at 168 hp) and the 2.0-liter turbo engine (rated at 208 hp).
Readers already are familiar with the turbo 2.0-liter. Several Volkswagen and Audi models are powered by versions of the “EA888” four-cylinder. These include the GTI, the Jetta GLI, and the A4. Since the engine had been previously produced exclusively overseas, it was used only in low-cost, high-volume products. For instance, the previous generation Passat had a starting price of over $27,000 with the 2.0-liter engine. This set-up is expected to change as Silao gets updated.
Later on, VW anticipates that this facility will deliver about 330,000 engines annually. Of this figure, around 90,000 will be meant for the plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the new Passat is built. These engines will also be installed on the Beetle Turbo and Jetta GLI, which are both assembled in Puebla, Mexico. According to VW Chattanooga CEO Frank Fischer, the company hasn’t figured out yet if the midsize car will use the 1.8-liter, the 2.0-liter, or both.
The transmission will be a torque converter automatic similar to what’s seen in other Passats. Equipped with either turbo, the Passat will be able to go up against models such as the Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, and Chevrolet Malibu.
The 2.0-liter can’t deliver as much power as some of its rival but because of its refinement, it’s a popular engine. The existing Passat is available with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder, a 2.0-liter turbodiesel, and a 3.6-liter six-cylinder. VW Group chairman Martin Winterkorn describes the Silao factory as part of a “North American offensive.”