TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Aiming to maintain its dominance in the U.S. diesel-car market, Volkswagen of America is rolling out an all-new version of its 2.0L EA288 engine that will be more powerful and capable of meeting all upcoming global emissions regulations, the manager of its U.S. environmental office tells attendees at the Management Briefing Seminars here.

The new engine has the same displacement as the current 2.0L TDI engines fitted in VW and Audi models, but the new EA288 shares only the bore spacing with the previous diesel, says Oliver Schmidt.

It has many new features designed to improve output and combustion efficiency and reduce emissions, including an innovative layout for its selective catalytic reduction system.

The diesel will debut in second-half 2014 in the U.S. on the ’15 Golf, Jetta, Passat and Beetle. New features include a complex exhaust gas recirculation system that uses both high pressure EGR and a cooled low-pressure EGR; plus integration of the water-cooled intercooler and EGR valve with the intake manifold, which improves throttle response.

The engine also has a number of modifications to help minimize friction and optimize fuel economy: low-friction bearings for the camshaft and balancer shafts, piston rings that have less pre-tension and a 2-stage oil pump with volumetric flow regulation.

Schmidt declines to speculate on what the official fuel-economy numbers will be, but he says the engine will make 150 hp, an increase of 10 hp from the current engine, and will offer 236 lb.-ft. (320 Nm) of torque.

Perhaps most interesting is VW’s packaging of the exhaust after-treatment components close to the engine by combining the diesel particulate filter and SCR system into one component. The layout saves cost and takes up less space.

The EA288 is part of Volkswagen’s strategy to commonize emissions systems as much as possible throughout the world, Schmidt says. VW sells about 100,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. annually, accounting for 78% of all light-vehicle diesel deliveries in the U.S., but that is a drop in the bucket compared with the 2 million-plus diesel vehicles VW sells globally.

Developing emissions-control systems and other engine parts for specific markets such as the U.S. is expensive, so this new engine is designed to have “scalable” features that can accommodate the toughest new government standards in the world, from the upcoming Euro 6 to California’s Lev III standards and beyond.

Meanwhile, various other components, such as balance shafts, can be removed for regions where low cost is the highest priority.

Perhaps as a warning to auto makers that are tentatively venturing onto VW’s turf in the U.S., Schmidt takes time in his remarks to point out that VW first offered a diesel car in the U.S. in 1976 and has dominated the niche ever since.

“The Volkswagen Group is a leader in clean-diesel technology,” he boasts. “With the introduction of the new EA288 engine, we are excited that our family of TDI Clean Diesel vehicles is continuing to improve and will be even more clean, fuel-efficient and powerful.”

dwinter@wardsauto.com