2009 Detroit Auto Show: Volkswagen Concept BlueSport
By Chris Haak
Volkswagen’s two-seat sports car concept made its debut today in Detroit, and it turned out to be a two-seat mid-engine convertible called the Concept BlueSport. As you may have guessed, the ‘Blue’ part of the name implies that it’s diesel powered; in this case, the engine is a 2.0 liter turbodiesel four cylinder mounted behind the driver. The engine produces 180 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and is connected to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
While 180 horsepower might not sound very impressive, the car’s light weight (about 2,600 pounds) and strong torque figure would probably make a fairly snappy performer. VW estimates 0 to 62 acceleration performance at 6.2 seconds with a top speed of 140 miles per hour. Of course, the reason for the diesel isn’t so much performance (though the V12 TDI Audi R8 shown at the show last year would go a long way toward that ‘performance’ objective) but rather fuel efficiency and CO2 minimization, and to that end, the BlueSport is rated at about 42 miles per gallon combined and at about 57 miles per gallon when the “eco” mode is activated.
From a styling standpoint, the Concept BlueSport is a fairly attractive little car, with styling cues reminiscent of past and present roadsters such as the Audi TT (the shape of the back end) and the Porsche Boxster (the shape of the doors and center section, the old Toyota MR Spyder (the overall shape and layout), all with a front clip similar to the Scirocco’s. The car’s proportions are pretty tidy, and overhangs are short.
Inside, the car has a very concept car-looking interior, particularly in terms of the controls (check out those climate controls) that don’t look anywhere close to production, although the exterior and drivetrain do seem to be pretty feasible for inexpensive volume production without much additional tweaking needed.
Probably the funniest thing about the Concept BlueSport to me is how, in a larger sense, companies build sports cars and performance cars that so closely match their areas of expertise. German companies like diesel performance cars; Japanese companies build hybrid performance cars, and American companies (and Mercedes-Benz, apparently) favor big-displacement V8s with gobs of torque and delightful sounds.
A lightweight, high-torque car such as the BlueSport could prove to be a successful formula in the coming years with CAFE and European CO2 pressures and the potential return of high energy prices. Perhaps the sports car of the future is a diesel. I wonder if VW could shoehorn the V12 TDI from last year’s Audi R8 TDI concept under the BlueSport’s aft hood? Probably not, but think of the “sports car” possibilities with something like that.
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