With more than 32 million vehicles produced, the Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB) is Volkswagen’s most successful technology platform
A Volkswagen worldwide bestseller is celebrating its tenth anniversary: the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB). Since 2012, it has been the common basis for several models. More than 32 million vehicles were produced on this platform across the Group. The Volkswagen brand has produced more than 20 million vehicles to date – from the small Polo to SUVs such as the Atlas (USA) and the Teramont (China). At the same time, the modular matrix philosophy has also been transferred to the electrical world, with today’s ID. models based on the MEB (Modular Electric Drive Matrix). The next generation will use the SSP – the Scalable Systems Platform – as the Group’s electrical technology matrix. It makes it possible to fully connect the vehicle to its ecosystem, thus laying the foundation for fully automated driving (level 4).
“The introduction of the MQB ten years ago was a crucial step,” said Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen Passenger Cars. “The MQB not only serves as the technology matrix for our transverse engine combustion engine models, it is also the backbone of our economic efficiency and resilience, as MQB-based vehicles make a significant contribution to financing future topics of the brand’s ACCELERATE . strategy, including electric mobility, digitalisation, new business models and autonomous driving.
Launched in the fall of 2012. The Volkswagen-developed MQB platform debuted with the Golf VII. The first production vehicle came off the assembly line in Wolfsburg in October 2012. This immediately demonstrated the potential of the new modular mounting matrix: advanced technology, low weight and dynamic design – thanks to the small body overhangs. The very first MQB model in the Volkswagen group was the third-generation Audi A3, which came on the market a few months before the Golf. The modular mounting matrix allowed standardization of production processes in all areas, resulting in greater flexibility and lower development costs – not only for the Volkswagen brand, but for the entire Volkswagen group. The motto: new diversity by intelligently creating synergies.
The MQB also means significant economies of scale, thanks to the carry-over parts concept and large quantities. They enable Volkswagen to market innovative technologies in the volume segment and thus further democratize progress. Advanced features, such as driver assistance systems, can be offered in all vehicle classes and can therefore be made accessible to a wide range of customers. Ralf Brandstätter emphasizes: “We will continue to improve our MQB models in the coming years. The next generation will take another step forward in terms of innovation. The new Passat, Tiguan and Tayron will set new standards in quality, value, features and digital experience – the perfect MQB. These Volkswagen bestsellers form the basis for future investments.”
Facilitating independent brand identity. The MQB offers a high degree of flexibility. Parameters such as track, wheelbase, wheel size or seat and steering position can be individually adjusted – depending on the positioning and vehicle class of the respective model – to meet the demands and wishes of the market and customer. Many parts of the bodywork are made of high-strength and ultra-strong steel and plates in variable thicknesses. This reduced the weight of the newly introduced MQB models by an average of around 50 kilograms compared to their predecessors. The weight saving was actually close to 100 kilograms for the Golf VII – depending on specification.
New motors with standardized mounting position. The mounting position of the motors is also standardized in the modular transverse matrix. They are tilted back 12 degrees, with the intake side at the front and the exhaust side at the rear. For this reason, in the EA 211 series TSI engines, which debuted alongside the MQB, the development engineers rotated the cylinder heads 180 degrees compared to the previous EA 111 engine.
Petrol, diesel, gas and electricity. Especially when it comes to the powertrains, the MQB shows itself extremely versatile and future-oriented. The petrol (TSI), diesel (TDI) and natural gas (CNG) engine versions were planned in the design concept from the start, as well as mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The Golf VII was even available as an all-electric e-Golf01 from 2013 to 2020. In the German market, the MQB power range of the group models currently starts at 48 kW (66 hp)†with the most powerful engine delivering 294 kW (400 hp).
Number of variants reduced. The new petrol engines and the also new diesel engines (EA 288) were fitted with power transmission interfaces as standard. This allowed them to be combined with the same gearboxes and the same drive shafts on the front axle. As a result, the number of engine and gearbox variants was almost halved. And in the case of the heating and air-conditioning units – a major component in the front of the vehicle – the number of different versions actually fell from 102 to 28.
Efficient production. On the flexible basis of the MQB, Volkswagen and the Group’s brands can rapidly develop their new models and variants. Over the years, the matrix has been continuously expanded and refined. It is divided into different model series and evolution stages – the current Golf is the latest. All MQB-based vehicles can be standardized and efficiently produced in the factories of the global production network. There are also significant benefits to model changes. When the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg started production of the new Golf in 2019, about 80 percent of the existing installations could still be used in bodywork. The MQB also makes it possible to build vehicles with different wheelbases and track widths, or models from different brands, on the same production line.
The MQB as a model for the MEB. Based on experience with the MQB, Volkswagen has developed the Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) for the all-electric models of the ID. product line. Like the MQB, the MEB offers a clearly defined yet versatile matrix for the high volume group brands. The MEB’s fundamental technological layout is based on the principle of housing the electrical drive components in a minimum of space. The high-voltage battery is located between the axles, while the passenger compartment offers a generous amount of space. The MEB also covers a wide model range for the world markets – from the city car to the spacious ID. fuss02†
“With the MEB, we have made electric mobility suitable for the masses worldwide and we will be offering a model in every vehicle segment by 2025. The SSP introduces the next generation of a fully electric, fully digital and highly scalable mechatronics platform. This platform will continue the success story from 2026 and will set new benchmarks in range, charging speed and connected driving experience,” adds Brandstätter.
New dimension of the modular mounting matrix – the SSP. The MEB also forms the basis for the next revolutionary modular toolkit for electric vehicles, which will also include sports and luxury cars. The future mechatronics platform SSP (Scalable Systems Platform) will contain state-of-the-art electronics and software. Volkswagen plans to present its first model on this ultra-scalable platform in 2026, with the Trinity project. Trinity is designed to be a leading star for the brand in all future technology categories – from range, charging times and digitalization to automated driving.