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VW launches towcar-friendly TSI engines

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VOLKSWAGEN has introduced a revolutionary new petrol engine which combines diesel-like pulling power with high performance, reduced emissions and low fuel consumption.

The new TSI units feature both a super charger and a turbo charger working in sequence to deliver stunning performance from tiny engines. Volkswagen engineers have managed to extract 170 PS from a 1.4-litre petrol engine while retaining an average fuel consumption figure of 38.2 mpg.

Installed in the Golf, the new TSI engine propels it to a maximum speed of 137 mph with a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds. More importantly for caravanners, it delivers a muscular 177 lb ft of torque from 1750 - 4750 rpm.

To put all this into context, the 2.0 FSI power unit it replaces offers a top speed of 128mph, a 0-60 acceleration time of 8.9 and fuel consumption of 35.3mpg while pumping out 17 g/km more greenhouse gas.

Without getting too technical, TSI technology depends on the engine's ability to withstand extremely high cylinder compression ratios combined with very high boost pressures to generate very high torque. This then allows VW to use higher than normal gear ratios thus reducing fuel consumption - particularly at motorway cruising speeds.

These characteristics also make it an extremely attractive towcar - as this year's Tow Car of the Year Judges recognized (see page 48). The only real question is one of reliability. Car manufacturers have succeeded in generating similar performance from small engines before now - but these highly tuned engines have traditionally experienced inconsistent reliability. VW claims that exhaustive testing has proved that the TSI's precision-built engine is extremely reliable over lengthy periods.

Volkswagen is currently focusing on the high performance characteristics of the engine in its marketing efforts by launching a more aggressive-looking Golf GT with the 170 PS TSI unit, but the slightly less potent 140 PS version of the TSI engine is also available in the Golf Sport and the more caravan-friendly Golf Plus and Touran MPV.

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