Although it’s been with us for more than a century, the petrol engine has constantly been improved. Companies such as the Volkswagen-Group reap the benefits of over a hundred years of engine development to offer us some real gems.
Recent events might make diesels seem less attractive so we’ve chosen five of our favourite petrol engines from the VW-Group across the whole automotive spectrum. From city-dwelling superminis to high performance rally-bred monsters there’s something for everyone.
Remember that you can put any of these cars into our car configurator to let carwow find the best deal for you.
Volkswagen Up – 1.0-litre FSI
A minute car with a minute engine, the Volkswagen Up makes do with just a 999cc three-cylinder petrol engine but, when tuned to produce 74bhp, it makes this city-scaled runabout capable enough for occasional motorway cruise.
This small unit is constructed entirely from aluminium and has been designed to reduce internal friction as much as possible so, without the use of hybrid systems or turbochargers, is able to return up to 62.8mpg and emit just 105g/km of CO2.
To add some excitement into the mix, the engine has a pleasingly raspy soundtrack when pushed. Despite this, it stays refined when cruising about.
If you like the sound of a small-car-small-engine combination, check out the VW Up in our car configurator.
Volkswagen Polo Blue GT – 1.4-litre TFSI (with COD)
In a few important ways, the VW Polo Blue GT is a tamer and more environmentally conscious version of the Polo GTI. While its sporty sibling will put a huge smile on your face, this car and its intelligent engine design will also put one on your wallet.
The Blue GT’s party piece is its selective cylinder de-activation, a complex way of saying that, if you don’t need four-cylinders, it’ll simply turn a few off. Cruising on the motorway or whenever engine demand is low, two pistons can be given a rest, essentially turning this 1.4-litre unit into a more modest 600cc two-cylinder.
A turbocharger helps the Polo reach 60mph from rest in just 7.5 seconds and, while fuel economy and emissions get a healthy boost (the Polo Blue GT will return a wholly respectable 61mpg and 108g/km of CO2), it still has the potential for a few B-road blasts whenever the fancy takes you.
Put the Volkswagen Polo in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
SEAT Leon Cupra 290 – 2.0-litre TFSI
For those of us for whom the fuzzy feeling of reducing emissions isn’t quite enough to get the pulse racing, the SEAT Leon Cupra 290 may be just what the doctor ordered. The fabulous VW-derived 2.0-litre engine, shared with the Golf R serves up a healthy 286bhp – enough to take this practical and unassuming family hatchback from 0-60mph in just 5.7 seconds.
A true hot-hatch in the traditional, front-wheel drive sense, the SEAT comes equipped with a limited-slip differential to help tame the ferocious power of the engine without the heavier all-wheel-drive system used in the Golf R.
Spec up a SEAT Leon in our car configurator to see the deals on offer.
Audi A4 TFSI – 2.0-litre TFSI 190PS
The only saloon car to feature on our list, the Audi A4, packs an impressive punch thanks to Audi’s innovative combustion technology which allows this turbocharged four-cylinder engine to deliver 187hp yet still return 58.9mpg.
It does this through limiting the amount of air and fuel sucked into the cylinders when the power demand is low, helping to reduce the overall fuel consumption. It has been suggested that this system could be so effective it consumes as little fuel as a comparable 1.2-litre engine.
Construction methods help minimise engine weight and special coolant flow management helps it warm up faster and run cooler, making it one of the most advanced engines you can buy.
If you’re after a highway cruiser with a great engine, take a look at the Audi A4 in our car configurator and let carwow find you a great deal.
Audi RS3 Sportback – 2.5-litre TFSI
It’s a rare thing to find a production five-cylinder engine these days and, without the enthusiasm of its fans, this 2.5-litre powerhouse may never have been fitted to the new Audi RS3.
A mouth watering 362hp is transferred to the road via a seven-speed automatic gearbox and the ‘quattro’ four-wheel-drive system which led Audi to victory in countless rallies the world over.
Whilst it might not be the finest handling hot-hatch available and running costs are almost certainly higher than those of its rivals (even with stop-start technology and a very tentative right foot the RS3 can only manage 34.9mpg) we can’t help but love the brutish and unapologetic nature of its wonderful 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine.
If the sound of a powerful five-cylinder gets your heart racing, let carwow’s car configurator find your perfect Audi RS3.
If any of these cars take your fancy, head over to car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you’re still struggling to pick your next car, check out our car chooser.