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Detroit show: VW roadster nears production

Out of the Blue, Sport: Mid-engine VW compact roadster concept is powered by 2.0-litre diesel.

Volkswagen steps closer to sportscar reality with its mid-engined Concept BlueSport

12 Jan 2009

VOLKSWAGEN introduced its third sportscar concept in less than six years at the North American International Auto Show.

The Concept BlueSport roadster has hardcore credentials with its mid-mounted engine, but has the requisite modern nod to the environment by having a so-called "clean diesel" engine.

VW’s latest compact roadster clearly follows on from the Concept R that appeared at the 2003 Frankfurt show (powered by a petrol V6) and the diesel-powered EcoRacer from the 2005 Tokyo show, but this one looks more likely to finally make it to production, possibly in 2011.

Incorporating a new design language created by the company’s Italian design chief Walter de Silva - a language that has recently been applied to the next-generation Golf as well as the Up and Space Up concept vehicles - the Concept BlueSport was penned by Klaus Bischoff and presented in Detroit by VW chairman Martin Winterkorn.

Mr Winterkorn said the Concept BlueSport is a “passionate car with a clear Volkswagen signature” that offered maximum driving fun while providing the efficiency and minimal consumption of a clean diesel engine.

3 center imageWith 132kW of power on tap at 4200rpm and 350Nm of torque at 1750rpm, the 2.0-litre common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel propels the lightweight concept car from 0-100km/h in 6.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 226km/h.

At the same time, fuel consumption is a miserly 4.3L/100km, with two features – an automatic start-stop function and an energy regeneration system that captures and stores energy from braking to help power the onboard systems – which VW say together account for fuel savings of 0.2L/100km in city driving.

Exhaust emissions are reduced by the fitment of a downstream NOx storage catalytic converter and are rated at an ultra-low 113g/km.

Drive goes to the rear wheels via VW’s familiar and impressive 6-speed DSG dual clutch transmission.

It appeared at the Detroit show finished in a Flex Silver exterior with a manually-operated orange fabric convertible top to keep the overall weight down to 1200kg. Weight was also saved by making the bonnet and bootlid from aluminium.

“It is the symbiosis of outstanding technology and timeless Volkswagen design that makes this car an exceptional sports car,” said Mr de Silva.

“Its styling is clear and is reduced to the essentials the car body itself has a lean and linear structure (while) the interior shows finesse in details and conveys a high level of technological fascination.” The interior features a touchscreen interface, three large dials for the automatic climate control system, a multi-function steering wheel and leather-upholstered lightweight seats with single-piece seatbacks.

The car rides on 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels fitted with 235/35ZR tyres at the front and 245/35ZRs at the rear.

At 3990mm long, the Concept BlueSport is longer (and wider at 1750mm) than a Polo, but shorter than the new Scirocco, while its overall height is just 1260mm and the wheelbase measures 2430mm.

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