There used to be a time when only diesel-powered models were wearing the BlueMotion badge at Volkswagen, but those times are long gone. The latest member of the eco-friendly family is the facelifted Golf with its new and thrifty turbocharged 1.5-liter TSI engine running on the Miller cycle. Aiming to deliver a fuel economy just about the same as a diesel, the four-cylinder unit is rated at 130 hp (96 kW) and can be currently had in the European version of the Golf five-door hatchback and its Variant wagon buddy, with other VW models to follow.
So, what's so great about this new flavor of the 1.5 TSI compared to the existing 150-hp Evo unit? For starters, the "ACT" in its name, which is VW vocabulary for active cylinder management. When the driver doesn't need the full power of the engine, the system automatically shuts off two of the cylinders, but it only works within an engine speed range of 1,400 to 4,000 rpm and while the car is doing up to 81 mph (130 kph).
VW mentions drivers will hardly notice the switch from four to just two cylinders and they will be notified about ACT kicking in by a "2-cylinder mode" notification that will show up in the instrument display.
Go for the optional seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and your Golf will feature a so-called micro-hybrid system thanks to an advanced coasting function. In certain conditions (like going down a slope), once the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the engine completely shuts off and the clutch is disengaged. VW ran the tests and says the micro-hybrid system further reduces fuel consumption by as much as 0.4 liters / 100 km.
The more efficient engine allows the Golf to consume just 4.8 liters / 100 km (49 miles per gallon) in the combined cycle and an impressively low 4 liters (58.8 mpg) outside the city with the six-speed manual gearbox or 4.1 liters (57.3 mpg) with the optional DSG, according to the New European Driving Cycle. Bear in mind NEDC is not the most accurate testing cycle and will soon be replaced by the more realistic Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP).
The folks from Wolfsburg mention the 1.5 TSI ACT BlueMotion has a great future up ahead as additional derivatives of the engine are in the pipeline for global markets.