The VW V5 is one of the strangest engines I’ve come across. The fact that this seemingly impossible engine design exists and was even used for cars that normal people bought is baffling.
Introduced in the 1998 Passat, the V5 is essentially a VW VR6 engine with one cylinder chopped off. This brought the displacement down to 2.3 liters compared the 2.8 liters of the VR6. The V5 was a never brought to the US market where we had to make due with conventional engine designs.
The intention of the V5 was to slot above the 1.8-liter turbo engine but below the high-performance VR6. When it was launched, the V5 produced 148 horsepower which fit nicely between the VR6’s 200 horsepower and the 1.8-liter turbo’s 134 horsepower. The V5 was then improved in the year 2000 with updated cams and variable valve timing allowing it to produce an impressive 168 horsepower.
The V5 engine ended production in 2005 when it succumbed to the more conventional 1.8-liter turbo engine. Once VW was able to match the V5’s power output with a normal engine they sacrificed the strange V5. Today all we have are Youtube vidoes and photos to remember the brief life of the V5.
The V5 is mostly remembered for being extremely weird and producing some intoxicating sounds. This oddball engine came at a time when turbos were still a new technology and more cylinders resulted in more power. Sadly may never see an engine quite like this again. In today’s world of boring Inline-4s and V6s it’s important to remember unconventional engines like this.
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