2009 Detroit Auto Show: Volkswagen Concept BlueSport

By Chris Haak

01.11.2009

Volkswagen’s two-seat sports car concept made its debut today in Detroit, and it turned out to be a two-seat mid-engine convertible called the Concept BlueSport.  As you may have guessed, the ‘Blue’ part of the name implies that it’s diesel powered; in this case, the engine is a 2.0 liter turbodiesel four cylinder mounted behind the driver.  The engine produces 180 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and is connected to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

While 180 horsepower might not sound very impressive, the car’s light weight (about 2,600 pounds) and strong torque figure would probably make a fairly snappy performer. VW estimates 0 to 62 acceleration performance at 6.2 seconds with a top speed of 140 miles per hour.  Of course, the reason for the diesel isn’t so much performance (though the V12 TDI Audi R8 shown at the show last year would go a long way toward that ‘performance’ objective) but rather fuel efficiency and CO2 minimization, and to that end, the BlueSport is rated at about 42 miles per gallon combined and at about 57 miles per gallon when the “eco” mode is activated.

From a styling standpoint, the Concept BlueSport is a fairly attractive little car, with styling cues reminiscent of past and present roadsters such as the Audi TT (the shape of the back end) and the Porsche Boxster (the shape of the doors and center section, the old Toyota MR Spyder (the overall shape and layout), all with a front clip similar to the Scirocco’s.  The car’s proportions are pretty tidy, and overhangs are short.

Inside, the car has a very concept car-looking interior, particularly in terms of the controls (check out those climate controls) that don’t look anywhere close to production, although the exterior and drivetrain do seem to be pretty feasible for inexpensive volume production without much additional tweaking needed.

Probably the funniest thing about the Concept BlueSport to me is how, in a larger sense, companies build sports cars and performance cars that so closely match their areas of expertise.  German companies like diesel performance cars; Japanese companies build hybrid performance cars, and American companies (and Mercedes-Benz, apparently) favor big-displacement V8s with gobs of torque and delightful sounds.

A lightweight, high-torque car such as the BlueSport could prove to be a successful formula in the coming years with CAFE and European CO2 pressures and the potential return of high energy prices.  Perhaps the sports car of the future is a diesel.  I wonder if VW could shoehorn the V12 TDI from last year’s Audi R8 TDI concept under the BlueSport’s aft hood?  Probably not, but think of the “sports car” possibilities with something like that.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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6 Comments

  1. Mirko, not sure where I got the 35 mpg figure, but according to VW, it’s actually 42 mpg combined US. PDF download here: http://media.vw.com/article_download.cfm?article_id=10435. The reference is on page 2 of the document, where it says 42 mpg combined and “up to” 50 mpg highway.

    I have edited the post to reflect this correction. Thanks!

  2. Weird. On the german website it still says 4.3 l/100km, and that’s 54.7 mpg. (US)
    Maybe the guy who had to translate the press release was one of there PR guys who can’t use a calculator. Or 42 mpg is what it would get in EPA testing.

  3. OK, I read the english press release. It says:

    “Fuel consumption: an average of 42 mpg / 4,3 l/100 km (combined;
    Highway: up to 50 mpg); less than any other sports car. Positioning:
    genuine, low-emissions roadster (113 g/km CO2) that makes every
    kilometer, every mile a driving experience.”

    113 g/km in a diesel means 4,3 l/100km. BUT 4.3 l/100km is 54.7 mpg (US), NOT 42 mpg.
    It looks like that press release was written by a complete moron, and nobody bothered to proof-read it. On top of the first page it says:
    “exceptional 42 mph fuel economy”

    WTF.

    Page 3:
    “With a fuel tank volume of 50 liters and the noted fuel economy of 42 mpg (consumption of 4.3 liters per 100 kilometers), the theoretical range is greater than 710 miles (1,150 kilometers).”

    Let’s see… 50 liters is 13.2 gallons, so if it got 42 mpg it would have a range of 555 miles.

    I correct my former statement, apparently Volkswagen of America doesn’t have a calculator.

    Embarassing for Volkswagen? Or embarassing for all the “journalists” to copy contradicing numbers without any thinking?

  4. You’re hired as my fact checker, Mirko.

    The discrepancy is probably related to different testing regimes. The EPA fuel economy figures are generally quite a bit lower than those published in other countries, even for the same cars. It’s how Ford gets “73 miles per gallon” or wahtever the number is from its high-mileage Fiesta in the UK.

  5. No problem, I’ll check what I can. I f you look at the sloppy press release, it doesn’t look like the discrepancy is related to EPA testing – the range calculations on page 5 make it pretty clear that they wanted to say 55 mpg (actually 53.8, because they wanted a nice round 710 miles), direct conversion of the European 4.3 l/100km, and it’s just a conversion error nobody noticed.

    Oh, and the Fiesta is rated at 3.7 l/100km, that’s 63.6 US mpg (and 76.3 mpg Imperial, because while most things are bigger in America, gallons are not)

    The European testing procedure is not very realistic. My car (BMW 118d) is rated at 4.5 l/100km. (52 mpg US) I can drive it in a way that it gets 4.5 l/100km, but most of the time I don’t want to. My current calculated average is 5.5-ish. The only time I got better on a tank was on a business trip to Sweden – their speed limits work wonders for fuel economy.

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