Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept to Debut at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

This new concept version of the Volkswagen Passat gets up to 42 mpg, and it’s not even a diesel or a hybrid. At the 2014 Detroit auto show, Volkswagen is hoping to show the reaches of its gasoline-engine technology with this Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion and its 1.4-liter gasoline engine with multiple advanced fuel-saving features.

Since the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion looks mostly like a standard Passat on the outside, it’s clear that the focus here is on the powertrain. Volkswagen has thrown everything at this 1.4-liter four-cylinder, including cylinder deactivation, turbocharging, direct injection, and a stop/start system. Volkswagen has also incorporated the coasting function from the Jetta Hybrid, which uses the six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission to decouple the engine when coasting, lowering mechanical drag.

All of this makes for an estimated 42 mpg rating on the highway, which tops the 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI’s 40 mpg highway estimate when the 2.0-liter turbodiesel is mated with a six-speed DSG. This impressive fuel economy rating for a gasoline engine doesn’t come at the expense of power, though, as the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion provides 150 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. That’s 10 more horsepower than the turbodiesel and the same torque number as a standard Passat with the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder -- a car that only gets 35 mpg on the highway.

Otherwise, the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion concept features a few minor styling cues inside and out to set it apart as one of Volkswagen's BlueMotion high-mpg models, like two-tone seats with blue stripes and stitching. The Passat BlueMotion also has new wheels, plus a Reef Blue Metallic exterior color that will make its way onto production Passats in the future.

The technology behind this concept serves as an interesting indicator of Volkswagen’s varied fuel economy initiatives. Given the obstacles that diesels combat in the U.S.—most notably the higher cost of diesel fuel—the company seems bent on exploring other options like this high-efficiency gasoline engine as well as hybrid and electric vehicle plans for the future. It’s definitely possible that we’ll see some of the technologies from the Passat BlueMotion appear on future Volkswagen production models. In the meantime, look for the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion concept on the Volkswagen stand at the 2014 Detroit auto show next week.

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