Reliable VW Engines Aren’t Always Found in Volkswagens

Owning multiple brands doesn’t just let automakers like Volkswagen have more market share. It also means those brands can share technology, from platforms to powertrains. So, if you’re looking at a used Audi, it’s very likely it has the same engine as a Volkswagen. Naturally, that means it can suffer from the same issues. But it can also mean it’s just as reliable, too.

The EA113 and EA888 1.8T and 2.0T engines are found in a lot of Volkswagen Auto Group cars

In a slight twist, one of the most reliable used Volkswagen engines was originally designed by Audi, Haynes reports. The 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder ‘EA113’ engine was introduced in the 1997 Audi A4, Grassroots Motorsports reports. But after the TT got it in 2000, Volkswagen put it in the 2002 Golf GTI, MotorTrend reports. From there the EA113 engine spread to the contemporary Volkswagen Jetta, Passat, and New Beetle.

The 2.0T EA113 engine was similarly spread across the Volkswagen Auto Group, Motor Reviewer reports. It’s found in the 2006.5-2009 Golf GTI, The Drive reports, as well as the contemporary Jetta GLI, Bar-tek Tuning reports. Audi also used this engine in the 2006-2009 TT, 2005-2008 A4 and A6.

The 2.0T EA888 engine inside a yellow 2007 Volkswagen GTI Pirelli Edition
2007 Volkswagen GTI Pirelli Edition 2.0T EA888 engine | Volkswagen

Here’s where the terminology gets a little confusing. Starting in 2008, Audi and Volkswagen as a whole began introducing the EA113’s successor, the EA888, Car and Driver reports. But not every vehicle received it at the same time. And in some lineups, both engines were used. The Mk6 Volkswagen Golf GTI, for example, has the 2.0T EA888 engine, but the Mk6 Golf R has an EA113, Car and Driver reports. And while the second-gen Audi TT offered a 2.0T, it switched from EA113 to EA888 in 2010.

Breaking down the EA113/EA888 split

The fact that both engines share a TSI/TFSI designation and even look fairly similarly just adds to the confusion, Motor Reviewer and Bar-tek Tuning report. Generally speaking, though, VW and Audi fans use ‘TSI’ to refer to the EA888 1.8T and 2.0T engines, VW Tuning reports. The earlier EA113 is often called ‘FSI,’ Alex’s Autohaus reports.

Long story short, if you want a used Volkswagen with an EA888 engine, you’ll have to pay close attention to model years. The Jetta, Passat, and GTI received it following a ‘2008.5’ facelift, Modded Euros reports, while the US-market Tiguan and CC have had it since new. As for the Golf R, it went EA888 in 2015. And, while the 2012-2019 Volkswagen Beetle offered the 2.0T engine as an option, the 1.8T didn’t become the base engine until 2014, MT reports.

The 2013 Audi A4's 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Gen 3 EA888 engine
2013 Audi A4 Gen 3 1.8T EA888 engine | Audi

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The list of Audis with these engines follows a similar pattern. The A4 and Q5 received it in 2009, followed by the A5 a year later, eEuroParts reports. And the Audi A6 got the EA888 2.0T in 2013, one year after its redesign, MT reports.

VW also spread the VR6 and Audi 4.2-liter V8 engines around

While not as ubiquitous as the 1.8T and 2.0T, Volkswagen’s VR6 engine also ended up in cars not badged VW.

Though mostly associated with the Mk4 and Mk5 Golf R32, it first appeared in the 1992 Corrado and Passat. In fact, the Volkswagen Passat offered the VR6 up until 2018, Car and Driver reports. That includes the Passat-based CC. And while the US never got the VR6-powered Phaeton, Car and Driver reports, the engine persisted in the Touareg until 2018.

The 3.2-liter Volkswagen VR6 engine in the 2008 Audi TT
2008 Audi TT 3.2-liter Volkswagen VR6 engine | Audi

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Outside of VW, the 3.2-liter VR6 engine was also an option on the Audi TT through 2010, Car and Driver reports. And it was the base engine on the 2003-2007 Porsche Cayenne, Automobile reports, before it was replaced by a 3.6-liter version in 2008. That engine carried over into the second-gen 2011-2018 Cayenne, and it’s arguably more reliable than the 3.2-liter version, Motor Reviewer reports.

But as we said earlier, technology sharing goes both ways. So, while Audi got the VR6 engine, Volkswagen made use of Audi’s 4.2-liter V8. In Audis, it’s found in the 2004-2009 S4, the 2008-2012 S5 Coupe, the 2002-2012 A8, the 2010-2014 Q7, the 2005-2010 A6, the 2006-2014 R8, as well as the 2007-2008 and 2013-2014 RS 4. And you can also find it in the VW Phaeton and 2003-2018 Touareg.

Audi’s supercharged 3.0T V6 ended up in some VAG hybrids

The 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine in the 2009 Audi S4
2009 Audi S4 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine | Audi

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There’s one more Audi engine that Volkswagen sprinkled throughout its brands: the 3.0-liter supercharged V6. It’s commonly referred to as the ‘3.0T’ engine despite not actually being turbocharged. But to further confuse buyers, the Volkswagen Auto Group now offers a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that’s also called ‘3.0T.’

Regardless, in supercharged form, the 3.0T V6 replaced the 4.2-liter V8 in the 2010-2016 S4 and S5, Deutsche Auto Parts reports. 2016 also marked the end of the engine’s availability in the Q7, Q5, and SQ5. In the A6, A7, and A8, though, it lasted until 2018.

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However, the supercharged 3.0T engine also ended up in the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid, Car and Driver reports. The second-gen 2011-2018 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid models make use of this engine, too.

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