It’s two years since Bernd Pischetsrieder took the reins at Volkswagen – and we are about to witness the first fruits of his leadership. As revealed in our gallery, the next few years will witness new VWs that are consciously more stylish – and sportier – as it moves into closer competition with its boss’s previous employer: BMW.
Pischetsrieder believes that if VW is to prosper it must inject sportiness into its existing models, offer more emotional designs and become more active in growing niches. Forget the conservative VW of the past – he is plotting to bring crossover models, avant-garde styling and rear-wheel drive to the party. In this exclusive report, we lift the lid on VW’s secret plans.
The best proof of VW’s new sporting intent is the plan for a focused roadster and coupé. The two cars are part of the same programme and the tin-top, shown in our artist’s impression (above), revives one of VW’s best enthusiast’s machines of recent years, the Corrado.
The sporty twins will be based on the mid-engined Concept R seen at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Due in 2006, the two-seater roadster will use Golf components, and delivers drive to the rear wheels in a move designed to provide Porsche Boxster-challenging handling.
The show car’s folding hardtop, developed with long-time partner Karmann, is planned for the production roadster, although the extravagant concept interior will be simplified.VW is planning to use the roadster’s mechanical package beneath a new two-plus-two coupé. Described by insiders as a modern-day Corrado, it is considered crucial in giving the brand a more sporting image.
To rival the likes of the BMW 3-series coupé and Mercedes CLK, the VW will be equipped with a choice of engines, including the Golf GTi’s 200bhp turbo and a 3.6-litre V6, developing up to 270bhp. With that sort of output, insiders forecast Boxster S-rivalling performance with 0-60mph in 6.0sec.