With all the emphasis these days on hybrids, diesel, plug-ins, electrics and hydrogen fuel cell cars, it can be easy to forget that some cars are efficient by just being themselves.
The Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept is a regular gasoline-powered car just like any other, but what makes it special is its ability to get 42 miles per gallon on the highway. That’s almost identical to the diesel TDI version of the Passat which gets 43 miles to the gallon on the highway.
This is most likely Volkswagen’s subtle way of saying that even though we’re figuring out how to make the car of the future, there’s no reason why we can’t make the cars of today better, too.
The BlueMotion is the same mid-size body as a regular Passat, only with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. It has a seven-speed automatic transmission with only 20 fewer horsepower than the regular Passat and 7 fewer lb-ft of torque. Those numbers aren’t bad at all for doing what many hybrids do, only with a less complicated engine.
The methods for its fuel efficiency are ones that you’ve heard about in other cars—using only as many cylinders as needed, decoupling the engine to coast, shutting the engine off at stop—and follow the basic principle of thriftily managing what you have. Think of the BlueMotion engine as an old, wizened manager who has seen a million engines come and go, and knows what it takes to squeeze every ounce of talent out of a star performer like gasoline.
The BlueMotion Passat will officially debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week (January 13-26).