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What does it mean if a Volkswagen has a TSI?

The Volkswagen TSI Engine, Explained

The auto industry sure does love its jargon and acronyms, and Volkswagen is no exception. Take, for instance, 4MOTION, the Volkswagen all-wheel drive system. Or the DSG, a 7-speed speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Perhaps the most prominent of all is the TDI, the ubiquitous Volkswagen turbocharged direct-injected diesel engine. But what about the other T-acronym engine, the TSI?

What does it mean if a Volkswagen has a TSI?

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The Modern Volkswagen TSI Engine

Modern VW TSI four-cylinder engine

The Volkswagen turbocharged stratified injected (TSI) engine is a lightweight, high-power, fuel-efficient four-cylinder traditional combustion engine. It is found in some form on most Volkswagen vehicles, such as the Atlas, Tiguan, and Passat. A twin-charged performance version of the engine can be found in the Golf GTI and Jetta GLI.

The engine’s claim to fame is its low-end torque and power, something that turbocharged four-cylinder engines have historically struggled with. By utilizing their extensive diesel engine knowledge to refine their traditional combustion engines, Volkswagen has been able to downsize engines without sacrificing much in the way of performance. This is mainly thanks to higher pressure injection, smaller displacement volume, and a sophisticated intercooling system. With its intricate engineering, the TSI family of engines is able to outperform bigger engines.

Fuel Efficiency and Affordability

Diesel engines are known to be more fuel efficient than traditional combustion engines (without a hybrid-electric drivetrain). So, by making a traditional combustion engine work more like a diesel engine, Volkswagen has been to push the fuel economy of their vehicles forward. For instance, the 2020 Jetta gets 30-city/40-hwy mpg with-out all the added weight and complexity of a hybrid system. Somewhat counter-intuitively, Volkswagen has made their TSI engines more complex while simultaneously making them more affordable to produce. That means lower prices for consumers.

Interested in trying out a TSI for yourself?

Schedule a test drive in a Volkswagen of your choice and see what the TSI engine can do for you.