Volkswagen has set itself a target of improving the efficiency of its future models as much as 15 percent by 2020.

To do so, the firm is working on a new generation of twin-turbocharged diesel engines, as well confirming its plans for a new ten-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Both will find their way into a wide range of Volkswagen models, reports Autocar, with the diesel unit making its debut in the eighth-generation Passat due later this year.

The engine is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder unit. Twin turbocharging has become a popular method of extracting ever greater power from smaller engines in recent years--allowing automakers to replace old, inefficient multi-cylinder units with smaller fours.

Volkswagen's development boss Hans-Jakob Neusser has revealed a power output of 236 hp for the new unit, but doesn't quote a torque figure.

That's more potent than both the 2.0-liter diesel used in BMW's 328d (180 hp, 280 lb-ft) and the 2.1-liter diesel in Mercedes' E250 Bluetec, which develops 195 hp and a heftier 369 lb-ft.

The Mercedes' torque output is incidentally the maximum limit for VW's new ten-speed Direct-Shift Gearbox, which will supersede the existing six-speed unit.

The transmission will be used in both transverse and longitudinal engine applications, suggesting it will be seen on VW's off-road models as well as the Passat and other front-drive vehicles.

Gearboxes with seven or more speeds have become popular in recent years, allowing the latest generation engines to operate at peak efficiency whatever the speed--providing swift acceleration without compromising highway cruising with low ratios.

With ten speeds, the unit will match similarly prolific gearsets from GM and Ford, who are co-developing a range of nine and ten-speed transmissions for future models.


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