Phuti Mpyane

Phuti Mpyane

Volkswagen South Africa recently invited the media to sample the latest TSI engines.

This new unit will form an integral part of the Tiguan midi-SUV range that will be introduced to South Africa during the second half of this year. It will be the second SUV offering by this German company after the Touareg.

The name Tiguan, according to VWSA general manager for communications Bill Stephens, was given to the car after a consumer competition that encouraged people to come forward with names.

The name Tiguan has no real meaning, but the person who coined it says it is a fusion of Tiger and Iguana.

Firstly they are 1400cc twin-charged engines, utilising both a turbocharger and supercharger.

It is almost Chinese maths to explain in full but, in a nutshell, the turbocharger, as an exhaust-gas-driven tool, only kicks in up the rev range, helping to catapult the rev needle into the red-line zone. The supercharger provides instant acceleration from rest.

VW is quite happy with this 1,4-litre lump and says it boasts 2,0-litres, rivalling performance of the 125kW. The technology is not new and has been adapted for maximum performance in other sectors.

This combination ensures crucial force at both ends of the power band where, without any doubt, you will feel the surge at bottom revs, and eliminates the tendency of engines to fizzle out at high revs.

The cars we drove weren't the Tiguan's, but rather a bunch of VW Golf GT hatches imported from Europe, where TSI engines are already in use.

VW says it is echnology that has been fine-tuned to give a satisfying performance, while contributing to fuel consumption and emission regulations.

Though the short time spent driving them didn't reflect the fuel reduction claimed by the manufacturers, my observation of the fuel gauge after giving gas over some distance hinted that VW's claims of 7,2l/100km are not that far-fetched.

But I must emphasise the concern that many people will have, especially long-term running costs.

It might be a positively responsive engine that trumps bigger cube motors, but what about the longevity of vital components such as the turbocharger and supercharger? How much will it cost to replace if blown?

VW says the engines are dependable and a warranty allays fears. As to how they will adapt to driving highways with long and winding B-roads or in gridlocked traffic is no mystery. All signs point to a best-of-bothworlds scenario.

The Tiguan will have various power outputs but shelve ideas of these engines in the Golf or Polo.

Stephens says perhaps the next new Golf 6 will have them. but for now, only the Tiguan will use these superb engines.