What is it?
Volkswagen’s cut price alternative to the Porsche Boxster – the BlueSport. The attractive mid-engined roadster was originally conceived as a one-off concept car but has now been granted an internal development codename, raising hopes that it will one day go into production as a spiritual successor to the 914 – the classic mid-engined roadster developed by Volkswagen in the late 1960s but only ever sold as a Porsche.
The BlueSport has been developed in a back to basics approach. At the heart of the compact two-seater is a brand new mid-engined platform structure that Volkswagen says should allow it to bring the BlueSport to showrooms at prices starting at £25,000 and rising to around £35,000 depending on the engine sitting up back.
At the moment, the one-and-only BlueSport runs Volkswagen’s familiar 168bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel, with power heading to the rear wheels via a six-speed double shift gearbox, which uses remote shift paddles on the steering wheels.
Other four-cylinder engines are under consideration for the production version of the BlueSport. They include the gutsy 265bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol unit recently confirmed for the Scirocco R.
Although you can expect the styling, credited to Christian Felske, to be refined by the time it reaches production, the one thing that won’t change much is its basic dimensions. At 3999mm in length, 1750mm in width and 1260mm in height, it is roughly the same size as the Mazda MX-5 – a car that appears to have played a key role in prompting Volkswagen to decide to build the BlueSport.
What’s it like?
Rarely have we driven a concept car with such mechanical proficiency. In fact, the BlueSport seems to have skipped all the usual early development processes Volkswagen models normally undergo and gone straight into testing phase, such is its inherent togetherness.
In all, we managed almost 50 miles over a variety of roads. So consider this more a proper test drive than a simple tootle up the road.
There is no key. All you’ve got to do is touch a starter button that's mounted within a bezel controlling the PRND functions of the gearbox in place of a traditional lever. Initial impression? The raspy sound the engine makes is more like a petrol unit than typical diesel. It’s also well isolated, too, considering it sits just over your shoulder.
It may be a diesel, but there’s nothing lacking about the way the BlueSport gets along. A determined nudge of the throttle unleashes a heady turn of speed. Top speed for the concept car has been pegged at 62mph, but you really only need half of it to discover there’s real intent here. A distinct rearward weight bias sees the BlueSport squat and hug the bitumen as you accelerate hard out of a third gear corner.
The performance is partly a product of the 1200kg kerb weight, which gives it a weight to power ratio of 142bhp per tonne – roughly the same the MX-5. It’ll hit 62mph in 6.6sec and reach 140mph flat out.
With Volkswagen’s Blue TDI technology that sees the exhaust gas recycled, it’s also claimed to return almost 50mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of just 113g/km. It also complies with North America’s strict BIN5 NOx regulations.