It’s no exaggeration to say that the VW 1.8L turbo was to European turbocharged four cylinders what the Chevrolet small block was to American V8s. Formally known as the “1.8 R4 20VT” and informally known simply as the “1.8T,” this little powerhouse was launched in 1993 and quickly developed a reputation for huge power levels in stock and especially modified form. Outside of Europe, the 1.8T’s only real competition in the turbo four market is probably Mitsubishi’s 4G63.
The 1.8T has been used in nearly every four-cylinder VW/Audi application from 1993 to present. These applications include (but aren’t limited to) the VW Polo Gti, Golf MkIV, Bora, Jetta, New Beetle S, Passat B5 and Sagitar. Since Audi is VW’s luxury brand, the engine has also carried over to models in that division, including the A3, A4, A6 and TT Quattro Sport. Other automakers to use the 1.8T have been Spanish manufacturer SEAt (in the Leon Mk1, Cupra R and Toledo) and Skoda for their limited edition Octavia vRS.