Volkswagen's introduction of the VR6 engine in 1991 (1992 in North America) ushered in a new era of Volkswagen powertrain development and innovation. The "VR" stands for "V-Reihenmotor," combining the German words for V-shaped and straight engines, and the "6" comes from the number of cylinders. The narrow-angle V6 configuration of this engine enabled VW to offer a wider range of engine options in its vehicles, as well as creating a performance leader for the brand.
The "narrow-angle" designation refers to the positioning of the VR6's cylinder heads. In a conventional V6, two sets of three cylinders each are mounted in a "bank" on either side of the engine, joining the crankshaft at approximately a 90-degree angle to one another. In the VR6, this angle is dramatically reduced, to just 15 degrees. This puts the two banks of cylinders so close together they can share a single cylinder head. Additionally, the cylinder bores overlap along the length of the head, reducing the overall size of the engine block and resulting in a V6 narrow enough to be installed into a front-wheel drive compact car. This enabled Volkswagen to offer the power and torque of a V6 engine in vehicles that a traditional six-cylinder wouldn't otherwise fit into. The VR6 powers models as diverse as the Volkswagen Golf, the Passat CC and the Touareg. It's also the driving force behind performance models like the Volkswagen Golf R32 and the Audi TT.
The VR6 engine is popular among Volkswagen enthusiasts, because its compact size enables hot-rodders to install it in just about any vehicle Volkswagen has ever produced.
The original VR6 engine was a 2.8-liter double-overhead-cam V6. The engine used three valves per cylinder and produced 178 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. The block and cylinder head are cast iron. Bore and stroke measurements are 3.19 by 3.54 inches. In 1999, U.S.-market updates lowered the horsepower slightly but raised the torque output to 174 and 181 respectively. In 2001, a 201-horsepower, four-valve-per-cylinder VR6 was introduced in North America.
The VR6 gained a larger variant in 2001. Displacement was bumped to 3.2 liters for use in a series of high-performance vehicles. In North America, the 3.2-liter VR6 appeared in the Volkswagen Golf R32. In this guise, it produced 240 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 236 pound-feet of torque between 2,800 and 3,200 rpm. Double-overhead-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder construction are used, and the engine block is cast iron with an aluminum cylinder head. The bore and stroke measurements are 3.31 by 3.78 inches, and the compression ratio is 11.3 to 1.
A 2008 upgrade enlarged the VR6 engine yet again, this time to 3.6 liters. It served as a range-topping engine for the Volkswagen Passat CC, among other vehicles. In the U.S.-market Passat CC, the 3.6-liter VR6 makes 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 265 pound-feet of torque between 2,500 and 5,000 rpm. Double overhead cams and four-valves per cylinder were still used. Direct fuel injection replaces the traditional fuel injectors. Bore and stroke measure 3.5 by 3.8 inches. The 3.6-liter engine has a 12-to-1 compression ratio.
- Volkswagen 2004 Media Press Kit
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