Volkswagens' MQB chassis is a prolific Swiss Army Knife of a platform. Underpinning everything from compact hatchbacks, to sedans, vans, crossovers, up to budget supercars like the VW Golf R and Audi TT RS. The MQB is a generational successor to the venerable A platform of the original Golf, which itself was a replacement for the aging classic Beetle. Both of these chassis were created to be fully modular, sharing a transverse engine layout and basic suspension geometry among all models. This parts-sharing allows the group's automakers to keep development and manufacturing costs low across a wide swathe of VW, Audi, Skoda, and SEAT models. In turn, it results in the relative performance bargains of the Golf and TT lines.
Like the MLB platform we talked about last week, each MQB vehicle shares the same front sub-frame, including engine and transaxle mounting points, shock towers, firewall, and roof A pillars. The rest can be intricately personalized to vehicle needs, so MQB is available in a variety of sizes, wheelbases, and ride heights. Front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Three to six-cylinder engines. Naturally aspirated, turbocharged, hybrid, or fully-electric drivetrains. The widespread popularity of this chassis has also led to a bevy of aftermarket support, including upgraded suspension, big brake kits, and engine tunes.
While there are literally dozens of options to choose from when it comes to MQB, we think the Besten der Besten is the Audi TT RS. Available in compact coupe and roadster body styles, it tightly packs a 2.5-liter inline five engine and a turbocharger into that subframe. This powerplant intentionally harkens back to the turbo'd straight-five in the original Audi Quattro, although it's mounted the other way around in this application. Nearly 400 horsepower is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch derived from Porsche's PDK. All this tech harmonizes to scoot the little Deutsch coupe up to 60 in a scant 3.4 seconds. If practicality and wallet-friendliness are what you want over teeth-rattling performance, then the Golf R and GTI still remain as primo hot hatches for enthusiasts and track day tuners.