Maximum fun, minimum consumption. That's the philosophy behind Volkswagen's neat mid-engined EcoRacer, which has made its public debut at the Tokyo motor show.
Based around a lightweight carbon fibre monocoque, the new Volkswagen is described as a research vehicle and its mission is to deliver Porsche Boxster handling with Smart fuel consumption.
At a time when most car makers are busy pushing hybrid drive technology, the dramatic looking coupe-cum-roadster relies on a new mid-mounted 136bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel engine which runs a new injection system dubbed CCS (combined combustion process) that's set to feature on a whole new generation of Volkswagen oilburners due out in 2007 in the facelifted Golf and all-new fifth-generation Polo. Drive is channeled to the rear wheels via Volkswagen's DSG (double shift gearbox), which boasts shift paddles on the steering column.
With an overall weight of just 850kg, the EcoRacer manages an impressive 160bhp per tonne, which propels it from rest to 62mph sprint at 6.3secs, with the top speed at 143mph. In an indication of the engine's efficiency, it's all achieved at an average 83mpg.