05 February 2012

Volkwagen MQB platform - from Polo to Passat in one sweep

Volkswagen has released the detail of its new permutation of MQB vehicle platfrom, which is said to offer extreme flexibility in stretching the underpinning from the Polo supermini to the Passat mid-range saloon. MQB or Modularer Querbaukasten to name it in full, is sets to underpin a host of new model for the next generation of Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen itself.

As depicted above, MQB platform will be able to accomodate various range of wheelbase, as well as the easier part such as the extension of rear floor and front beam. The only fixed constraint is the distance between the front axle centre line and the firewall, which is for MQB, is further 40mm further than the current distance for Golf platform.
MQB platform has been design-protect for various engine installation. Common mounting points has been established for a series of petrol and diesel engine which should simplify the production process and hence saves some assembly cost. While the firewall location is fixed, the structure that connect upwards to the A-pillar and support the Instrument Panel can be interchanged to accommodate various model height. The illustration below showcased various installation of dash panel for a variety of model covering Tiguan, Passat, Octavia, Polo, Fabia and all the Golf's siblings.
The MQB platform also will utilize state-of-the-art weight reduction technology, such as the use of ultra high strength steel, more aluminium content as well as a patented technology to weld the two afore-mentioned material together. Volkswagen said the 2013 Mk7 Golf will weighs the same as the Mk4 from the 90's. More after the jump.

High commonality between variants and model will allow Volkswagen Group to produce the volume and niche model on the same production line and utilized a lot of common expensive parts. MQB flexibility in accepting various powertrain unit also will enlarged the feasible production permutation further. This also means that the multi-brand under VAG can bow be produced on the same production line, and by being able to shuffle the product on the line, VW plant can be run at a higher capacity and utilization. This is what we called a volume manufacturer, and a big one at that!

Closer to home, can DRB-Hicom bring some of Volkswagen innovation to Proton? Perhaps some Proton's car can be based on MQB in the future? Anyway, Lotus Engineering has contemplated their own modular platfrom, sometimes in the middle of last decade. It is called VVA, which stands for Versatile Vehicle Architecture. On powerpoint presentation at least, the platfrom is able to underpin a front and mid engine car, with front and rear wheel drive combo, and utilized a common corner nodes among all of them. While the corner node is aluminium cast, the rest of the platform is either a usual extruded and stamped aluminium, or they can be steel-based as well. The only car managed to "wear" that platform is Proton MSX (albeit it was rebadged as Lotus APX) and was brought to motorshows to showcase that. Other model meant to use VVA was Lotus Esprit replacement, which since then (circa 2005 at that) remains in the womb with no clear birth date! 

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