So far, we’ve only seen the technology, which Audi likes to call “cylinder on demand”, on V-8 engines but it will soon be coming to smaller engines.
Volkswagen recently announced plans for a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation, a technology that could potentially boost gas mileage by as much as 3.9 mpg.
An insider revealed that the engine would first appear in the new A3, due next spring, before filtering across to the A1 and potentially the facelifted 2013 Audi A4. Overall gas mileage is expected to be boosted 10 percent.
Cylinder deactivation technology essentially shuts down cylinders in an engine during low load situations, such as cruising on the highway or rolling in heavy traffic. In a V-8 engine, two or even up to four cylinders can be deactivated while on a four cylinder engine it’s usually just two. Importantly, once the shut down cylinders are required, they fire back to life with the whole process being totally imperceptible to the driver.