Road Ahead

VW, Audi Excluded From 10 Best Engines Testing


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Caught red-handed in a scheme that pollutes the environment, as well as its own corporate culture, the Volkswagen Group will be suspended from participating in the Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition until further notice.

We take our selection each fall of the Ward’s 10 Best Engines very seriously, because automakers and suppliers use these trophies to inspire teams of engineers to strive for more torque and horsepower and hone technologies that reduce friction, eliminate weight, improve combustion and mitigate pollution.

Likewise, consumers increasingly use our list when shopping for new vehicles. We have heard firsthand from people who, when deciding between one car or another, end up with a powertrain we recommended.

It’s for these reasons the editors of WardsAuto feel compelled to suspend Volkswagen and Audi from participating in the Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition until further notice. VW owns numerous other brands, but they do not participate in our competition because they don’t fit under our $61,000 price cap or are not sold in the U.S.

VW’s 1.8L turbocharged gasoline 4-cyl. that has made our list the past two years will be excluded as we evaluate some 35 new or improved powertrains over the next two months before announcing the 2016 winners on Dec. 10.

Normally, the 1.8L would be entered automatically as a returning winner, but this year is different.

Caught red-handed in a diabolical scheme to write software smart enough to scrub diesel emissions only when regulatory tests were being run on 11 million vehicles dating back several years, the Volkswagen Group has stooped to a new low in the quest for emissions compliance, a competitive edge and consumer appeal.

I’ve often thought “German Engineering” was a term of unquestioned repute, having visited dozens of plants and tech centers from Munich to Dusseldorf to Wolfsburg, speaking with engineers who are just as fluent in English as in their native language, even when delving deep into a particular technology.

Clearly, the bad apples who concocted this blatant deception do not represent all German engineers, but they certainly reflect poorly on them, inviting the scorn of the automotive world, costing CEO Martin Winterkorn his job and causing a massive corporate shakeup. Fines will be monumental, measured in billions.

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

on Oct 7, 2015

Turning off urea injection does not improve fuel consumption. Only urea consumption is affected. When the engine engineers determine that SCR technology is required to meet emissions limits they will typically not use cooled EGR or timing controls that degrade fuel consumption or torque. The only balance between performance & requirements of SCR system is the NOX conversion efficiency. Conversion efficiencies above 90% require more precise urea injection control and can require an oxidizing catalyst after the SCR to reduce ammonia slip.

on Oct 8, 2015

That's a bunch of facts, not tied together with any conclusion or emissions strategy at all. Engine out NOx is a key parameter in this function here, which is every bit as important as DEF consumption. Performance and FE can be gained with higher EONOx. Depending on ATS design, its possible that even IF VW wanted to bring system out NOx under the limit, that they might be UNABLE to do so.

There's a lot more to this than increasing and decreasing DEF injection.

on Oct 9, 2015

And hopefully VW will shed enough light fairly soon so we're all seeing this episode a bit more clearly.

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What's Road Ahead?

Blogs with an emphasis on technology, design and suppliers.


Drew Winter

Drew Winter is Editor-in-Chief of WardsAuto World magazine and a Senior Editor at He was won numerous awards for his work in both print and digital media and has been...

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is executive editor of WardsAuto World magazine, with an emphasis on technology and suppliers. He leads selection of the Ward’s 10 Best Engines and Ward’s 10 Best Interiors...
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