Golf: Where a Higher Number Is Better

VW's third-gen EA888 engine that it builds in its Silao, Mexico, plant features an aluminum alloy head with integrated exhaust headers and a cast iron block.

One of the interesting aspects of the Volkswagen Golf GTI is that although it is a variant of the main model—simply the Golf—through the first three quarters of 2017 the hot hatch actually outsold the main model, 16,814 to 11,137. Which goes to show that there is still a cohort of people who still like driving more than commuting. VW understands that, evidentially, because for the 2018 model it has actually increased the performance of the third-gen EA888 engine that it builds in its Silao, Mexico, plant.

The engine features an aluminum alloy head with integrated exhaust headers and a cast iron block. It is worth noting that the block uses a wall thickness of just 0.12 inches, which contributes to a weight of just 72 pounds for this 2.0-liter four. (Other ways mass is reduced is via the use of a polymer oil pan and aluminum alloy fasteners, and the use of four crankshaft counterweights instead of eight.)

The engine features a single-scroll turbocharger. There is direct injection into the cylinders. The fuel injection system delivers fuel at a pressure of 2,900 psi.

Notably, whereas the E888 engine in the 2017 GTI produces 210 hp @ 4,500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm, the engine in the 2018 GTI produces an additional 10 hp and the same amount of torque (using premium fuel). And with the standard six-speed manual, the 2017 model returned 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway while the 2018 model has an estimated 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, so it is essentially a wash.

How is the increase in horsepower attained? Software.