Volkswagen is on track to provide one of the Abarth sports car’s key rivals in the shape of the BlueSport, due in 2013.
The German manufacturer’s mid-engined roadster is set to arrive at the 2013 Frankfurt show, with sales starting early the following year. Insiders say the car will be close to the concept from Detroit in 2009; that show car was driveable and looked almost ready for market. So expect its two-seat layout and fabric roof to make it onto the final production version.
The BlueSport is based on the new MMB platform (Modulare Mittel Baukasten), which uses Golf suspension parts to keep costs down but has a unique floorpan. The investment in the chassis will be recouped by three models: the BlueSport, a ‘baby Boxster’ (see panel) and a small Audi roadster possibly called R4, provided the Ingolstadt manufacturer can agree a deal with Renault over the use of that name.
Crucially, MMB is scalable, so it can accept different track widths. VW is said to be considering making full use of this to give each of the roadster variants its own, distinct character. It’s not yet known if the cars will have the same wheelbase, however.
The BlueSport’s engines will be from the VW Group’s latest EA888 line-up, a range that serves the Golf and Scirocco. The VW version is likely to get a new turbocharged 1.6 FSI motor that can offer up to 220bhp when fitted with an Audi variable valve lift system. Transmissions will be standard six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG units, codenamed DQ500.
Production could be split between VW’s Hanover commercial vehicle plant, which would take responsibility for bodyshells, and Karmann’s plant at Osnabruck, where assembly of the BlueSport, R4 and even the baby Boxster would take place.