Volkswagen’s V5 Engine — When A VR6 Is Too Big

Volkswagen’s V5 Engine — When A VR6 Is Too Big


What Is A V5 Engine? What Happened To V5 Engines?
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V5 engines are a rare anomaly in the automotive world. Honda used a 1.0L V5 engine in motorcycles, with great success, though the setup hasn’t been seen in many production cars. VW produced a V5, or more accurately a VR5, for its packaging and power benefits versus a larger VR6, or a smaller inline four cylinder.

The VR5 engine style, though only requiring two camshafts (SOHC, 2 valves per cylinder, or DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder), has its complications. The intake and exhaust paths are shorter for two of the cylinders, the crankshaft geometry is offset from the cylinder center lines, and ultimately it’s not much more powerful than an inline four cylinder. Check out the video for full details about how the engine works.

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100 Comments on "Volkswagen’s V5 Engine — When A VR6 Is Too Big"


  1. Good info. Weird audio echo. Did you use a shotgun mic ? Shotguns don't work indoors, btw, as they pick up reflections just fine.

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  2. I would think you would get some really weird piston-ring and cylinder wall wear on these slanted cylinders. Do these use specialty piston rings with tapered sides that match the angle of the cylinder wall?

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  3. It's interesting what they come up with over the years, to meet various size limits, emissions, power, and NVH requirements. Today, no point to this engine, b/c the ea888 is so good. But it's so cool, would love to see a modernized version of this

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  4. Hello sir. I'm a car fanatic from India. I like car designing and also the mechanics involved in the car. I am getting confused as to what I study as my major. Automotive design or mechanical engineering? I want to be able to do all the work involving a car. Can you advise me?

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  5. Interesting design, operation theory and engineering. I would assume an engine of this configuration would rely heavily on counter rotating balance shafts placed strategically at points or areas of harmonic disturbance, which is the forewarning to vibration. Without counter balancing, the engine would display low frequency harmonics, that increase with mechanical movement, which is displaying its own frequency, to a higher frequency that could lead to destruction of the block and/or rotating internal masses. An engine self destructing due to harmonics and vibration combining is spectacular in the lab, but the customer may be rather pissed off. Hopefully, those issues are corrected. The engine configeration isn't well known in Australia, as the vehicle it is installed in is a minority but the Volvo 5 cylinder is available here and are renound for their unreliability, exaggerated internal wear and excessive expensive to repair. Excellent description and explanations 👍👍

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  6. Wouldn't the offset path on the downstroke give a straighter power stroke, and perhaps greater torque?

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  7. Why are you talking about this? Instead of talking about their diesel cheat?!?!?! I think that should be the bigger picture here…!!

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  8. The complexities sound insane, like the cylinder that does not line up straight with the crankshaft. Almost all of these sound like a really great reason NOT to design such an engine and yet they seem to have chosen to do it, regardless… Interesting decision. I still don't get how the benefits justify it, though… really foreign engine this…

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  9. I have a 20v vr5… i love it…. great engine.. spunds amazing.. if i had to moan it can be a bit ueavy on fuel when you kane it… but…… great engine strong and just for the sound.. amazing

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  10. I love my car so much that i simply cannot even sell it.. even tho its about to cost more than its worth to do the clutch… but i think for the engine alone its worth keeping alive as there are about 15: 20v v5 with a manual box left in the uk

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  11. All the fuel efficiency of a bigger vr6, all of the power of a smaller inline 4. They managed to pick the worst of both worlds!

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  12. Sorry to go off topic, but I've got two suspension based questions, first being why don't track cars use fully hydraulic steering systems like some off-road vehicles do? Wouldn't this eliminate bump-steer? Is bump steer benificial when designed to be? Couldn't you use a taper in the receiving portion of the hydraulic system to have toe gain with steering input? Second, I've heard a lot that the longer the lower control arm is in a double wishbone system the better, in detail, why is this? Thank you.

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  13. Have you seen the Lancia ECV rally car with the Triflux head. 600hp from 1759cc twin turbo, NICE

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  14. Kinda reminds me of the Duke engine! Would love a explanation on that crazy machine. (Also a Thomson coupling CV joint while you're educating us on "down under" tech – that thing is wild!)

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  15. I miss my old 12v VR6. Lovely torque and engine exhaust note, but man when timing chain time comes prepare!

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  16. Surely it would have been cheaper to spend the money making their 4cyl more powerful with a bonus of having the “at-the-time” horsepower with greater fuel efficiency.

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  17. Didn't mention the potential for reduced sideways forces between the piston and cylinder, due to the out of line crankshaft and piston. I think there's a couple of inline engines which did this just to reduce those forces.

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  18. Had one for a couple of months (Passat b5. 99. Syncro) The engine would not be rushed at all :)) looks good, sounds good but i feel its not so lively. At least not what I excepted. Fuel consumption is also a bit high for what it is :/

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  19. that's pretty interesting. i would expect it to rotate like a top more than rock like a V motor.

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  20. Was there ever an engine that had 5 cyl. in X patterm? Or to be more specific, like '5' on the dice, 2 cylinders on each side (V4) plus one in the middle? that would be symmetrical and maybe wouldn't make vibrations like this v5, and it sure sounds interesting.

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  21. We can associate the offset with the improvement of the bore and stroke forces produced by the cumbustion? I thought that offset provide a straght line on this two components, increasing the efficiency. But at the cost of more vibration.

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  22. Unsure how the engine is balanced to mitigate vibration. You mentioned that counterweights might be used. Still, I'm unsure if that would be sufficient. I'll bet certain components will wear faster than most other engines experience, such as engine mounts. My GTI has the 2.8L, 24valve, VR6 engine and it's a pleasure to have under the hood despite its higher fuel consumption.

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  23. Can you do an analysis of the ECA1 engine out of the first generation Insight? Seems to have a lot of tech that no one talks about.

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  24. This just epitomizes German overengineering. 1.8t 4 banger, this, VR6, inline 5… all at the same time unless I'm mistaken. Imagine if they had put all that engineering effort into making 1 good engine… I guess that's what they figured out with the EA888.

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  25. Everything I hear this guy's voice I think of Bill Nye. I could see him looking like him when he's older as well

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  26. Yea they are still running around, I drive a car with that exact engine in it my mk4 volkswagen golf v5

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  27. I hate how Volkswagen butchers every other engine type to make things seem special. Calling VR-engines V in the case of weird odd numbers, like this one, or W, in the case of their VR-12 and VR-16 engines, which don't even look like a proper W.

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  28. So did VW use offset crank pins with 72 degrees separation to obtain even firing impulses? Also, it seems the varied intake/exhaust ports could be tuned to broaden the torque curve and power band.

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  29. Don't forget that the head is totally flat and the Pistons are cut at an angle to form the combustion chambers.

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  30. Let me sum up…I'm not sure how many drugs they were on when they came up with this idea. This is really crazy.

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  31. You are demonstrating a lot of ignorance. You do not just chop of a cylinders. It is a major effort, and would require a very different cam and crank shaft. My father was a mechanical engineer, and he told me that the 5 cylinder engine actually is a really good idea since it helps smooth out the running. This was probably 40 years ago. At that time Mercedes also had a 5 cylinder engine, but it was diesel. Therefore it was not created with the idea that they needed to reduce the size of the engine, so just removed the cylinder. Would have been much easier to just build a smaller engine than engineer a 5 cylinder engine since the balancing would have been better known for a 6 cylinder vs. a 5 cylinder.

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  32. Hello Jason,
    I follow your tutorials quit some time now; as You once said "we engineers do not no everything", so I also learned from Your knowledge (clear explainations) as well.

    Reply

  33. The VR5 was a waste. The ABF 16 Valve made about 150hp from the factory. The engineers just wanted to do something fun with left over Vr6 engines 😂

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  34. He should make a video what if you pull the handbrake while driving but he should be very careful

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  35. are the piston heads really trapezoidal as shown in your sketch?

    I had always assumed they rotated the whole cylinder assembly by 15 degrees. seems like you would get wasted work if the force of combustion had to push the cylinder sideways as well as down

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  36. Video request:
    Hi Jason! Can you make a video explaining how Subaru's x-mode works and how its different than the rest of subaru AWD systems? Thanks and keep up the great content!

    Reply

  37. I recently watched the backpressure video you put out, and I was wondering if you would mind putting a video up explaining intake runners. Mainly length vs. Tq and itb's. Love the videos, makes me miss engineering school.

    Reply

  38. I currently have a car with this engine – the 20v version – a Seat Toledo V5. Fantastic – sounds great, smooth, revvy and yet makes power from 1000 to 6000 rpm in a very linear fashion. On the minus side it likes a drink. Being an engineer, I bought it for its uniqueness, its weirdness and the fact that the idea of the narrow v was originally used by Lancia. The design feature where the centreline of the cylinders is offset from the centreline of the crank is known as desaxe. A pity this engine and the DSG gearbox were not available concurrently.

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  39. I don't know how I feel about this rotating cube; I've always respected your seemingly seemless sessions.

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  40. A melhor solução, para quaisquer motores, seria a adoção de válvulas que atuassem por solenóides no lugar de comandos de válvulas mecânicos. Com uma central de dados de altíssima velocidade, aí sim…!!!

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  41. You know a company it's flush with cash when it can come up with wacky configurations other car companies don't use.

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  42. Thanks so much for the great work and passion on your videos! love them! Would it be possible to make a video on AUDIVWSEAT 1.4 TSI which seems to have a watercooler instead of a intercooler like the 2.0 TSI? I just purchase a 1.4 TSI Leon ST and loving the engine! but when spent some time checking the engine notice the lack of tubing and it seemed at first the cheap out and not installing a intercooler but after a quick search it seems like they are using a watercooler right infront of the intake! so… I thought it might worth your time for a video? lol
    Cheers and keep the great work!
    Ed

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  43. The title of this video reminded me of how much I liked my Jetta VR6. That was a good car. I skipped straight from that to the turbo 4, so I never experienced the V5.

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  44. I owned two V5 cars. My first was a 1987 VW Passat 2.3l. It really was a great car. The sound were awesome and the engine was very smoothly running and no vibrations at all. I drove this car around the year 2000.
    The last 8 years I owned a Ford Mondeo (I think it is called Fusion in the US, I am from Germany) with a 2.5l turbo charged engine. This was even a better car. Especially after installing a 3" exhaust starting at the turbo, and a chip tuning bringing it to 260PS and 400NM torque. I almost cried as I sold it. facepalm

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  45. Jason. Excellent video. The VR nomenclature in German is for Verkürzt Reihen or loosely translated as Shortened In-Line in English. It's a true In-Line 5 even firing 5-pin crank-throw crankshaft with a staggered 15°V cylinder bores head. Btw, from the diagram, the 15° dimension should be from cyl. CL to CL. You mentioned the Honda V5 motorcycle engine. They're both are 5-cyl. engine, however, the Honda engine is a true V5 engine with 3-pin crank-throw crankshaft, 75.5°V-block, and 2 cyl. heads, 2 everything….etc.

    The brilliant, and marvel design of VW's VR engine architecture are:
    2 VR6 = W12 – Audi A8L W12 & VW Phaeton W12
    VR6 -1 cyl. = The aforementioned VR5
    2 VR5 = VR10 – In 3D CAD only?
    VR6 – 2 cyl. = VR4 x 2 = W8 – Passat W8
    2 W8 = W16 – Bugatti

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  46. i drive a VW 2.3 V5 with 149.*** kms on the clock. runs as smooth as it was 19 years ago. no problems with it what so ever.

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  47. Great explanation/overview. I wonder about balancing port lengths and heat dissipation. With that firing order and exhaust porting heat build up between 1 and 3 would seem to be an issue.

    It's an interesting approach to have a smaller engine than the VR6 with the HP similar to Honda's B18B1 and B18C1 I4s. I am curious about how much more smooth the VR5 is in comparison. More typical 5 cylinder engines would have a crankshaft that resembles a flower. This makes for a very balanced crankshaft in rotation and most of the vibration being end to end.

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  48. I have a mk4 Golf gti with the vr5 (agz) engine. I love the Sound, its very good. But it takes so much gasoline 😀 Around 10-13L per 100 Km

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  49. The interesting part is that VW owns the Bugatti brand and the motor in the Veyron is a direct result of VW VR development.

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  50. I can confirm from owning a V5 that the intake and exhaust ports are not paired and have individual paths for each of the cylinders

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  51. I drive a Golf V5 2.3 150PK now and the engine is very smooth… And the sound is very deep and intens! Love it when a floor it a bit. Like muscle car

    Reply

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