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Vehicle quality was not the only thing making news when Consumer Reports unveiled the results of its latest reliability study in Detroit earlier this week. Amongst the issues highlighted by the consumer publication were real world fuel economy and forced induction engine technology.
Back in 2008 parts supply giants Bosch and Mahle teamed up to create a joint venture, the fruits of which are just just about ready to hit the market. Looking to take on leading turbo manufacturers BorgWarner and Honeywell (Garrett), the goal was to create efficient and reliable turbocharging systems just as demand for the power-adding, fuel economy-improving snails spikes among automakers looking to meet increasingly strict fuel economy requirements.
The first such example of their new turbo system has been unveiled at an event in Germany. Rather than some shiny new vehicle, the test-bed is a 2009 Volkswagen Passat. Called an “Extreme Downsizing” test model by the company, it trades the car’s stock 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder for a tiny 1.2-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder. Rather than sacrifice power and performance in the process, the new engine actually makes significantly more power, with 161-hp at 5000 rpm, compared to 121-hp for the old engine. Torque is also significant with 210 lb-ft at just 1600 rpm. Bosch Mahle claim the car can hit a top speed of over 112 mph and rates the car at 40-mpg on the European test cycle.
According to Bosch engineering VP Rolf Leonhard, the joint venture looks to sell as many as 2 million units per year to automakers by 2015. And while VW seems like an obvious client, the team at Bosch Mahle claim the use of a Passat test car is merely a coincidence and is not meant to imply anything.