23 November 2004

Volkswagen's new Bora has broken cover prior to making its public debut at the LA Motor Show in January. The new Golf-based saloon is VW's biggest seller in the US, where it is still badged Jetta.

It will be a long wait for prospective UK customers though; the UK launch won't be until January 2006. As before, the fifth-generation model shares a large part of its exterior styling, interior and front-wheel-drive layout with the Golf. But in an attempt to give the saloon its own identity Volkswagen stylists, under design boss Murat Gunak, have grafted on a glitzy chrome grille and new front bumper with modified cooling ducts. At the rear, it receives a Phaeton-inspired C-pillar treatment, a high bootlid and classy tail lamps that are said to mirror those of the new Passat, due out next June.

There is substance behind the style, too. Like the new Golf, the Bora's interior benefits from an extended wheelbase, which is up by 65mm over the old car's at 2580mm, helping to create more room all round. An extended rear overhang increases boot capacity beyond the outgoing model's 455-litres.

The engine line-up for the UK will include 115bhp 1.6-litre and 148bhp 2.0-litre FSI petrol units, along with 103bhp 1.9-litre and 138bhp 2.0-litre TDi diesels, mated to a standard six-speed manual, with a six-speed automatic and a six-speed dual-clutch DSG available as options.

The new Bora will be assembled exclusively at Volkswagen's plant in Puebla, Mexico. In the US the Bora range will be topped by a V6-engined model, competing in the booming 'premium compact' market.

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