Home / Social media / Cars / The VAG 1.8 Turbo 20-Valve - Iconic or not?


For some of us, engines and engine codes are among the most interesting things to learn in the automotive sphere. While it’s something you’d find a lot more among people who like to tune and modify, fans of OEM cars and specs also end up storing hundreds of useless facts and figures in their grey matter. There are plenty of ways to keep up to date with all this information, there are always new places to learn about engines and setups and the longer some engines have been on the market, the more information there is out there. Most automakers have an engine in their lineup that has legendary status, Honda has the K20/24 now, but it used to be all about the B20 bottom end with a B16 V-TEC cylinder head, Nissan has the NEO VVL, Toyota has the 4A-GE and Volkswagen has the VR6 along with the 1.8T 20-valve engine that’s been seen fitted in all manner of VAG cars, including Audi and SEAT.

Over at the YouTube channel called ‘driving 4 answers’ their sole aim is to educate automotive fans on various subjects from the inner workings of things like gearboxes and clutches through to camshafts and cylinder heads. They have a series of educational videos called Iconic Engines and the 17th instalment is all about the 1.8T 20-valve powerplant. This engine is hugely popular and has been around for many years now, it’s OEM fitment to countless models spread all around the world, and each market sees slight differences in the engine and gearbox setups. There are a few engines that have floated to the top to be the ones to use for engine transplants and for making big horsepower for drag-race and fast-street setups. Thanks to the variety of 1.8T engines out there, it’s easy to get the wrong one for the planned application. Some have better cylinder head specs, some have stronger internals and some just take better to being modified than others.

The 1.8T arrived in 1993 in Audi’s A4 with 150 hp, just after that it could be found in the Mk4 GTI and stretched across the SEAT and Skoda brands too, mostly in sporty hot hatches, but also in muted tones in some sedans The Mk4 GTi had a 6-speed model that used the AUQ engine setup and was rated at just under 180 hp (132 kW) and the highest factory output was rated at 240 hp (around 180 kW). These engines have proven themselves time and again, they make for amazing fast streetcar setups, but have also been seen blitzing drag strips in insane states of tune, and even make for great circuit car setups. Here in SA there are loads of Mk1 Golfs running around with 1.8T transplants used for circuit racing, even if power is left near the stock figures, the power to weight in a Mk1 Golf makes it a formidable little package. 

Take a look at the YouTube video from one of the coolest channels there is that's sole purpose is to educate the masses of automotive fans on all manner of technical subjects. In this case it's the 17th instalment of the series on Iconic Engines and it's well worth watching the entire series so you're full of facts that will win braai-side arguments: VAG 1.8T 20V - What makes it GREAT? - ICONIC ENGINES #17 | driving 4 answers

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