General Motors was one of the first companies to offer cylinder-deactivation technology in cars with the infamous Cadillac 8-6-4 engine. Decades later, the technology is far more refined, and Volkswagen is taking advantage of improvements to cylinder deactivation to debut a Passat Bluemotion Concept that shuts down half of the 1.4 liter engine’s cylinders, resulting in 42 MPG.
It marks the first time an automaker has built an inline four-cylinder engine comes equipped with cylinder deactivation, though Volkswagen didn’t stop there. Engineers also added the transmission decoupling feature found on the Jetta Hybrid to let the Passat Bluemotion Concept coast freely in traffic and down hills.
The result from these and other features is a mid-size sedan with 150 horsepower, 184 ft-lbs of torque, and capable of up to 42 MPG on the highway. While not exactly groundbreaking, this non-hybrid gas sipper could save frugal drivers a lot of deniro at the gas pump. While the record-setting Passat TDI manages 43 MPG on the highway, should this concept come to life, it would likely be priced well-below the diesel threshold.
Though just a concept for now, the technology has a very real chance of working its way into the Volkswagen lineup. It might not be the most exciting story ahead of the Detroit Auto Show, but it’s one concept that might actually make it to the dealership floor.