Volkswagen Golf

Together with bumper-mounted machine guns and ejector seats, the idea of a supercharged and turbocharged engine sounds like something James Bond's 'Q' branch might dream up. However, from early next year, UK drivers will be able to buy a Volkswagen Golf GT equipped with just such a powerplant - and this is the first of a whole new range of 'super-turbo' VWs

A world first for a production car, the new TSI unit more than lives up to its 'ground-breaking' billing. More powerful and torquier than the 2.0-litre FSI, yet more frugal and cleaner, the all-new 1.4-litre 'super-turbo' is a brilliant engine, and makes the Golf GT an even better all-rounder. We can't wait to try it in future VW models.

Together with bumper-mounted machine guns and ejector seats, the idea of a supercharged and turbocharged engine sounds like something James Bond's 'Q' branch might dream up. However, from early next year, UK drivers will be able to buy a Volkswagen Golf GT equipped with just such a powerplant - and this is the first of a whole new range of 'super-turbo' VWs.

But why is the technology being applied to the mass market now? Well, with petrol prices and road tax on the rise, VW says sub-1.4-litre units are the future. The trouble is, as cars become heavier, you need more power, too.

The firm's innovative solution is the 1.4-litre TSI, which stands for turbocharged stratified injection. Based on the FSI petrol engine, the unit features a supercharger that operates up to around 2,000rpm, after which a turbocharger takes over. The result is 168bhp - about the same as the old 2.3-litre V5.

Installed in the new Golf GT, it gives 0-60mph in less than eight seconds, plus 39.2mpg economy and impressive CO2 emissions of 173g/km. But headline figures aside, the most striking aspect is the TSI's performance. Put simply, it feels like a large, lusty engine, with lots of punch and power right up to 6,500rpm.

Inside, the only clue to the new technology is a boost gauge, complementing the GT-spec sports seats and three-spoke steering wheel. Outside, there's a new GTI-style front grille, while lowered sports suspension and bigger brakes are the only other mechanical changes.

The result is a vehicle that rides and handles well. A Focus is sharper, but Ford doesn't yet have a 'super-turbo' engine. Not even James Bond has one of those.

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