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First look: EcoRacer ruffles Tokyo feathers

Fuel-miser: Smaller than MX-5, EcoRacer offers a 230km/h top speed.

Volkswagen's EcoRacer sends a fuel-sipping curve ball into the hybrid pack at Tokyo

25 Oct 2005

VOLKSWAGEN has revealed an economical turbo-diesel sportscar called EcoRacer and described as a ‘coupe, roadster and speedster’ package all in one.

Unveilled at last week's Tokyo motor show amid a plethora of hybrid and fuel cell concepts, EcoRacer features a carbon-fibre body that helps the two-door tip the scales at a mere 850kg and affords an impressive power-to-weight ratio from its experimental turbo-diesel 1.5-litre four.

VW says the 1.5-litre TDi cranks out 101kW at 4000rpm while peak torque of 250Nm comes in from 1900rpm.

A DSG-style gearbox enables the midget to hit 100km/h in 6.3 seconds and roll on to a top speed of 230km/h.

Despite its sportscar-like acceleration, the EcoRacer can sip fuel at the parsimonious rate of just 3.4l/100km, enabling up to 1000km between refills.

According to VW, the bodywork can be reconfigured to be a coupe, a roadster, or a speedster.

3 center imageUnder the carbon-fibre skin is an aluminium double wishbone front suspension and four-link rear setup from the Golf with a 39/61 front/rear weight distribution.

The lightweight theme continues with extensive use of aluminium, carbon fibre under-floor area with integrated diffuser and use of a kilo-busting electronic parking brake from the Passat.

Both the headlights and tail-lights are LED to save weight and space.

The targa roof allows for open-top motoring while the Speedster version features a slim-line windscreen.

The EcoRacer is 3770mm long and just 1210mm high – a Mazda MX-5 is 3995mm long and 1245mm high - with a long bonnet and short rear turret area.

The front is dominated by an imposing grille with the headlights slightly recessed either side.

The EcoRacer’s mid-mounted engine means there are Porsche Boxster-style air intakes just ahead of the rear wheels, again adding to the car’s sportscar looks.

From the back, there is a centrally-mounted exhaust outlet perched above the diffuser.

Volkswagen chose 17-inch alloys with 175/55 R17 tyres at the front and 225/45 R17 tyres at the back.

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