I have to say that the Volkswagen Group has always been one of the quickest mass manufacturers to implement the latest technologies across their entire product range, while competitors tend to only put the cool stuff in their higher end models.

Direct injection, turbocharging, and twin clutch transmissions – they’ve been implemented across the board and even the most affordable ‘baseline’ Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI has all of these technologies implemented.

So when I first read that Audi’s new 4.0 litre V8 TFSI engine had cylinder shut-off technology, I wondered when this feature would trickle down to the smaller Volkswagen Group engines primarily used in Volkswagen/Skoda/SEATs. Turns out it only took a few days for the announcement to come out – Volkswagen has just announced that cylinder shut-off technology will be available on its 1.4 litre TSI engine beginning early 2012.

Under low to mid load conditions, the engine management system will shut off two (cylinder 2 and 3) of the 1.4 litre TSI engine’s four cylinders, providing savings on fuel consumption. It is active whenever the engine RPM is between 1,400rpm to 4,000rpm, and torque output is between 25Nm to 75Nm. Volkswagen says these conditions are basically almost 70% of the EU fuel economy driving cycle.

As soon as the accelerator pedal is pressed hard enough, the two cylinders are reactivated. If the engine management system senses a non-uniform pattern – for example, driving in roundabout traffic or a sporty acceleration pattern, the shut off system is suppressed.

The savings are the most at constant moderate speeds – say, 50km/h in either third or fourth gear – Volkswagen says savings from running on only 2 cylinders can amount to 1 litre per 100km. On average, the technology helps reduce NEDC driving cycle fuel consumption by 0.4 litre per 100km. Combined with automatic start/stop functionality, this savings increases to 0.6 litre per 100km.