The Turbo- and Supercharged Car

Volkswagen's new Twincharger engine offers a fuel-efficient alternative to hybrids

by Courtesy Volkswagen

How’s this for a hybrid? Volkswagen’s first-of-its-kind Twincharger engine, arriving this fall in the Europe-only Golf GT, marries a diminutive 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine to both a supercharger and a turbocharger. The pint-size power plant gobbles oxygen, not gas, cranking out commendable performance and outstanding fuel economy.

Both ‘chargers work on the same principle: Force air into the engine to generate more power. At low rpms, the super-charger-driven by a belt connected to the engine’s crankshaft-blasts fresh air into the cylinders to enhance low-end torque. At high revs, the exhaust gas brings the turbocharger up to speed to bolster top-end performance.

VW won’t say if it plans to bring the Twincharger to North America, but if $3 for a gallon of gas becomes routine, the company just might find a market for a sporty 48mpg hatchback.

VW Golf GT

Engine … 1.4 liter, 4 cyl.

Power … 168 hp

Torque … 177 lb. -ft

0-62 MPH … 7.9 sec.

Top Speed … 136 mph

MPG … 30 (city); 48 (highway)