Poor Australian petrol kills VW Mk8 Golf's best engine tech

Range-topping Volkswagen tech won't make it into the Golf Mk8 amid fears that local fuel quality will kill key parts

Volkswagen Golf 2019 engine bay

The most advanced Golf that Volkswagen has ever produced will get inferior engines in Australia due to lower quality petrol.

Volkswagen has confirmed the eighth generation of the brand’s iconic small hatchback will get less advanced engines than those offered in Europe, where reducing CO2 emissions and lowering fuel use is a priority.

“Our engine range will be different to Europe,” said Volkswagen Australia product marketing manager Jeff Shafer.

Specifically, Australia will miss out on some of the more efficient modern engines that rely on petrol particulate filters, which reduce harmful emissions by trapping soot.

We’ll also initially do without the petrol-electric hybrid models that promise to significantly reduce fuel use.

Earlier Shafer admitted “fuel is an issue still for our marketplace”, referring to the higher sulphur content in Australian unleaded petrol; while many markets stipulate a maximum sulphur level of 10 parts per million, in Australia even the more expensive premium unleaded can contain up to 50ppm.

Shafer said Volkswagen was “getting much closer to the point of being able to offer some engines with a particulate filter on our fuel” but that “some technologies … still have issues with the fuel quality”.

Volkswagen says internal tests have shown that more than two tanks of regular unleaded petrol – which has as much as 150ppm – can damage the particulate filter, which would cost about $1500 to replace.

Shafer also said the brand was considering better education for customers surrounding potential damage to petrol particulate filters by using regular unleaded.

2020 Volkswagen Golf

Golf Mk8

He said the company was considering whether to get dealers to make customers aware or ensure there was documentation that stipulated the risks if people used inferior fuel.

“It could be additional material that they’re given at the time of purchase.”

The new Golf 8 is due in Australia late in 2020, bringing a digital instrument cluster and wireless Apple CarPlay as part of a technology push.

Before then, Volkswagen will sell “a few hundred” Golf TCR versions of the outgoing Golf Mk7.5 (below)

Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR launched overseas news

With a DSG auto-only transmission and a more powerful 213kW version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, it will be the most powerful Golf GTI to date.

“There’s been a lot of interest … customers coming in asking a lot of questions,” said Shafer.

It’s expected to be priced around $50,000, sitting between the $46,190 regular Golf GTI and the $54,990 all-wheel-drive Golf R.


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