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Future models - Volkswagen - Compact roadster

VW Roadster still possible

Dream alive: A compact roadster based on Volkswagen's 2009 Bluesport concept could still see the light of day.

Board member continues to champion Volkswagen MX-5 rival

Volkswagen logo9 Mar 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in GENEVA

VOLKSWAGEN is still contemplating a Mazda MX-5 competitor, despite widespread reports of partner Porsche pulling out of the project.

Senior engineer and member of the VW board of management Ulrich Hackenberg said at this week’s Geneva motor show that the company has working prototypes under development.

However, the green light has yet to be given as Volkswagen’s bean counters continue to weigh up the business case for such a model.

“We have a lot of convertibles, but if you are asking about the nice roadster we presented (in 2009) … I am working on it,” Dr Hackenberg told Australian media at the show.

“I drove it (during) the last ‘Summer Drive’, but I don’t have the agreement of the company that we will build it.” First flagged as the Concept BlueSport at the 2009 Detroit show, the two-seater open-top convertible was originally planned as an entry-level sportscar in partnership with sister companies Porsche and Audi.

3 center imageHowever, the Volkswagen board nixed the project in the aftermath of the GFC in 2009, concentrating instead on creating more efficient modular platforms that are electrification-compatible to underpin its next-generation of core vehicle lines across the group’s brands.

Porsche, meanwhile, has elected to build the Macan medium-sized SUV that is expected to become the marque’s best-selling model worldwide.

As a result of such changing circumstances, Dr Hackenberg said VW must find a way to ensure profitability with the proposed roadster while going it alone.

“Porsche has the Boxster based on the 911’s systems, but I think they are (currently) not looking for a smaller one,” he said.

“They (Porsche and Audi) were interested, but I am missing the volume. We need a minimum of 50,000 to 60,000 cars per year.

“But the car is fantastic.” On Volkswagen’s overall model plans, Dr Hackenberg said prioritising is paramount as the company does not have an unlimited budget.

“We are in the phase where we bring out all the cars that we need for the next generation, so we have to prioritise. It is a question of budget, so we are not over-budget or out of budget.” The 2009 Concept BlueSport employed a mid-mounted rear-wheel-drive chassis powered by a 132kW/350Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.

Measuring in at under four metres in length, weighing less than 1200kg and boasting a front/rear distribution of 45/55, it is said to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.6 seconds, reach 226km/h, and – thanks to idle-stop and brake energy regeneration systems – still return just 4.3L/100km and CO2 emissions of 113g/km.

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