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.
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.