VW's re-interpretation of the classic small people-carrier could be destined for production
1 March 2011

Volkswagen says it is “finishing what it started” with a second generation of reborn Microbus concept - a clear indication that this re-interpretation of the classic small people-carrier could be destined for production.

Unveiled this week at Geneva, the Bulli carries the name given to the original 1950s Transporter 1 in several markets, including Germany. It follows on from the 2001 concept that came out of VW’s Californian studio (see sidebar) but has been styled by the VW Group’s design chief, Walter de’Silva, and VW brand design chief Klaus Bischoff.

See official pics of the VW Bulli concept - now updated with Geneva show pics

The six-seat concept is 3.99 metres long, 1.75 metres wide and 1.7 metres tall. It’s powered by an 85kW electric motor, fuelled by a 40kWh lithium-ion battery that gives a range of up to 300km. The Bulli can reach 62mph in 11.5sec and an electronically limited top speed of 87mph.

VW does admit that the layout would easily suit 1.0 and 1.4-litre petrol and turbodiesel motors, however.

The car’s cabin features a removable iPad as a centre console, a stowable rear bench seat that can increase cargo capacity to 1600 litres, easy reclining seats to create a compact camper, and a stereo developed with Fender to make all music sounds as though it is being performed live.

VW says the car “has the potential to establish a new, fifth brand of people carrier next to the Caddy, Touran, Sharan and Caravelle”, but sources in Germany indicate that the car already has the green light for production. It will be based on a longer version of Volkswagen’s Golf platform (MQB) - either that destined for the next-gen Touran, or the set-up used for the recently launched US-market Passat.

John McIlroy

See all the latest VW reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Volkswagen Golf MHEV
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    VW's 48V mild hybrid technology is still a few years away from production, but we’ve sampled a prototype Golf fitted with it and are suitably impressed
  • Jeep Compass
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    Jeep enters the competitive compact SUV market with its new Compass, blending ruggedness with contemporary styling and tech
  • BMW 1 Series Saloon
    We had a short drive in a China-only front-wheel-drive BMW 1 Series
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    A brief drive in a China-only front-wheel-drive model shows the future is bright for the 1 Series when it makes the switch from RWD next year
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Toyota Prius PHEV
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    Does running a plug-in hybrid really make sense as a 500-mile-a-week driver? Six months with a Toyota Prius Plug-in should give a conclusive answer