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Volkswagen Concept BlueSport Debuts At 2009 NAIAS

Posted in Auto Show, Cars, Concept Cars, Detroit Auto Show, Diesel, Emissions, Hybrid, Hybrid Technologies, Volkswagen by Suzanne Denbow | January 13th, 2009 | Leave a Reply |

Definitely one of the more interesting vehicles to make its debut at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show this year, the new Volkswagen Concept BlueSport hit the floor of Cobo Hall this weekend as Vee Dub’s first “economy” mid-engined roadster. Designed to appeal to middle-class performance enthusiasts, the VW Concept BlueSport is capable of sprinting from 0-60mph in a mere 6.2 seconds before maxing out at its top speed of 140 mph. So what’s so “conceptual” about it? The VW BlueSport is powered by a 2.0L turbo diesel engine which features a combined EPA average of 43mpg and produces a mere 113 g/km of CO2 emissions.

Think: Tesla Roadster on a shoestring budget.


Volkswagen – Concept BlueSport World Premiere
Comeback of the Compact Roadster
NAIAS Detroit 2008 / Volkswagen / 2
NAIAS Detroit 2009 Key Aspects
World premiere of the Volkswagen Concept BlueSport:
Sports car offers the most driving fun with the least fuel
• 140 mph fast Concept BlueSport has exceptional 42 mph fuel economy
• Made in Germany – Concept car is a reflection of modern carmaking
Wolfsburg / Detroit, January 2009. Volkswagen is starting the new
year by presenting an automotive dream – an affordable,
uncommonly economical and highly agile mid-engine roadster. Its
name: Concept BlueSport. Status: concept. Dynamics: pure. 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. World premiere: Detroit,
Michigan, on January 11, 2009.
Comeback of compact agility
Behind the two sport seats of the 3.99 meter long Concept BlueSport
(axle load distribution: 45:55) is an exclusively charged TDI or TSI
engine that delivers dynamics – these are high-tech engines that
consume little but put out a lot. In the case of the Concept BlueSport
version now being presented in the USA it is a 132 kW / 180 PS
strong Clean Diesel (TDI) with common rail injection and
downstream NOx storage catalytic converter. At a low 1,750 rpm –
i.e. right from the engine speed ‘cellar’ – the 2.0 liter turbo engine
develops its maximum torque of 350 Newton-meters. That matches
the power response of an approx. 300 PS strong six-cylinder gasoline
engine! A 6-speed dual clutch transmission – the most economical
and agile transmission system in the world – transfers this power to
the rear wheels. It is shifted either automatically or via shift paddles
on the steering wheel. In just 6.2 seconds the sports car is moving at
NAIAS Detroit 2008 / Volkswagen / 3
a speed of 60 mph (0-100 km/h: 6,6 seconds); its top speed is 140
mph (226 km/h).
These are the key parameters of a new and at the same time classic
European sports car philosophy. The Concept BlueSport is evolving
into a car that is a lot of fun to drive and at the same time makes an
unmistakable statement in terms of sustainability. The fact is: if the
Concept BlueSport were to go into production it could herald in a
renaissance of the compact roadster. Another fact: this car handles
just as well in the urban environment of metropolises as it does on
very curvy country roads and long expressway routes.
Concept without compromises
Volkswagen defined just two objectives in the car’s development:
maximum driving fun and minimal fuel consumption. And so a midengine
sports car was implemented that makes no compromises, that
aims at low weight and maximum agility right from the start.
Although it is best in its class when it comes to body rigidity, the
Concept BlueSport weighs in at less than 1,200 athletic kilograms.
The results: performance that is more than impressive for every life
situation, in addition to the cited fuel economy and emissions
advantages. Low weight was attained by consistent application of
lightweight construction methods (among other things, the soft top –
at 27 kilograms – is the lightest in its class, and the hoods are made
of aluminum), and by a body layout with crisp and compact
Despite all of the sports car fascination included on board, it still
offers a respectable level of everyday utility. In the cargo area under
the front hood, for example, the Concept BlueSport can stow 112
liters of luggage; its counterpart in the rear can handle an additional
70 liters of cargo volume. Altogether that makes 182 liters – enough
for working documents or an extended weekend trip for two. Also
extended, by the way, are the distances between any two fuel fillups.
With a fuel tank volume of 50 liters and the noted fuel economy of
NAIAS Detroit 2008 / Volkswagen / 4
42 mpg (consumption of 4.3 liters per 100 kilometers), the
theoretical range is greater than 710 miles (1,150 kilometers).
Making a positive impact on the car’s range, fuel economy and
emissions are two technologies that could become more and more
commonplace in the future and are part of the so-called Eco mode on
the Concept BlueSport: an automatic start-stop system and braking
energy regeneration. The place where automatic start-stop shines is
in city traffic. When the Concept BlueSport stops at a red traffic
light, for example, it automatically shuts off its engine. As soon as
the light turns green again, just tapping on the gas pedal is enough to
start the engine lightning fast. Its entire operation is absolutely
intuitive and saves up to 0.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers in the
city. Furthermore, primarily when the Concept BlueSport is braked,
energy is generated by the alternator (regeneration), which relieves
the engine and further improves fuel economy.
Design without gimmickry
The Concept BlueSport – painted in Flex Silver painted and sporting
an orange colored fabric roof – was designed by the team led by
Klaus Bischoff (Director of Design for the Volkswagen Brand) and
Thomas Ingenlath (Director of the Design Center in Potsdam). “The
design of the Concept BlueSport,” says Klaus Bischoff, “represents a
perfect synthesis of technology and aesthetics. Its form is very clear
and is reduced to essentials; the car body itself has a lean and linear
structure.” Thomas Ingenlath adds: “Emanating powerfully from this
car body are the circular wheel housings, flared out in three
dimensions as in a sculture. The radial surfaces, edges and blending
of forms emphasize the wheels and thereby the agility of the
BlueSport concept car. The lateral air intakes are identifying features
of the mid-engine layout, their volume-reducing design offers
visualization of the car’s sporty low weight.”
Powerful proportions
NAIAS Detroit 2008 / Volkswagen / 5
The proportions of the Concept BlueSport give it an exceptionally
powerful and impressive appearance. Besides its low height of 1.26
meters, the car’s image is shaped by the fact that the wheelbase (2.43
meters) appears large compared to the car’s overall length of about
four meters, and the sumptuous track widths that are large relative to
the car’s width (1.75 meters). In front, the sports car exhibits a track
of 1.49 meters; in the rear it is 1.52 meters.
In the sum total of its dimensions, it is clear, first of all, that the
powerfully styled body of the Concept BlueSport is significantly
shorter and flatter than that of the Scirocco already launched in
Europe, yet it is longer and a lot wider than the current Polo, for
example. And with precisely these proportions, the roadster makes
an especially powerful impression on its custom designed 19 inch
alloy spoke wheels.
Front end design
At its front, the Concept BlueSport is characterized by a new
Volkswagen design language introduced for the first time on the
Scirocco and the new Golf. It is based on a ‘design DNA’ that will
leave its mark on all new Volkswagens. This design DNA was
developed by Walter de Silva (Director of Design for the
Volkswagen Group), Flavio Manzoni (Director of Creative Design
for Volkswagen AG) and Klaus Bischoff. On the one hand, it
preserves historical elements, but on the other it represents a reinterpretation
of Volkswagen design. Familiar from the Golf and
Scirocco are the dominant dual cross beams that are formed by the
narrow radiator grille and the painted bumper. In the lower area,
large air inlets in black extend across the entire vehicle width, and
integrated in them – under translucent, dark-tinted plastic covers –
are the LED flashers.
Meanwhile, the car’s interpretation of individual features shows just
how broad the range of vehicles is, in which these style elements can
be implemented. Take the headlights and taillights, for example:
NAIAS Detroit 2008 / Volkswagen / 6
Although the Concept BlueSport with its bi-xenon headlights and
LED taillights is obviously a Volkswagen of contemporary times, it
is still extremely independent. The roadster look is evident in details
such as the daytime running lights designed as a narrow, C-shaped
light strip (in the main headlamp housing) or – in the style of highperformance
sports cars – the distinct outward flare of the fenders
whose forms are charged with energy.
Thomas Ingenlath, lead project designer for the BlueSport concept
car, sums it up this way: “The concept car looks into the viewer’s
eyes with a powerful, masterful look; everything is clear and precise.
Standing here is an agile athlete who has no need to display an
aggressive attitude.”
We have taken a systematic approach to everything here, emphasizes
Flavio Manzoni: “Unique, simple, universal – that is the authentic
spirit of Volkswagen: clear design features in a complex world – this
is the philosophy currently guiding Volkswagen design. These are
cars like the Up! and Space Up! concept cars or the Scirocco and
Golf, which reflect the concept of aesthetic clarity without
compromise. And we are now carrying this forward with the Concept
NAIAS Detroit 2008 / Volkswagen / 7
Rear end
The rear end is distinctive at first glance. Lines emanating from the
contour of the rear fender here frame a shoulder section that would
be hard to imagine any greater dynamism or clarity. In the center,
there is a large strip painted in car color, and in the upper section a
narrow black line that separates the bumper from the engine or trunk
hood. Prominent on this line, which also joins the taillights, is the
VW logo. The shapes of the taillights themselves were intentionally
designed to be similar to those of the headlights. Inside, the lights
both have a C-shaped LED component that radiates far and
extremely brightly into the night with each brake actuation. The
third brake light was integrated in the rear trunk lid, above the VW
In the lower section, a horizontal surface in black is the defining
visual element; the tailpipes are located at its outer edges – right
next to the contour of the fender lines. The end of the bumper –
together with the lateral fender and wheel housing panels – forms a
virtual surface painted in car color. At its center the bumper exhibits
an area that is aerodynamically designed as a diffuser.
Side profile
On its sides, once again it is the circular-shape of the wheel housings
and outer fender edges – typical of Volkswagen – that are part of the
clear, precise, powerful and highly aesthetic line-work. In addition,
the extremely short overhangs define the car’s side profile styling.
Moreover, the ten-spoke alloy wheels with tires in the sizes 235/35
ZR19 (front) and 245/35 ZR19 (rear) – that completely fill out the
large wheel housings – create a look that would otherwise only be
offered in the realm of super sports cars.
NAIAS Detroit 2008 / Volkswagen / 8
The interior of a sports car should fit as though it were tailor-made.
Everything must be ideally set up to reach, operate, control, and
must exhibit a high level of aesthetics. This is precisely what
Volkswagen has done with the Concept BlueSport. Klaus Bischoff:
“The interior shows finesse in details and conveys a high level of
technological fascination. The special flair of the interior expresses
itself in the architectonic purity of its components.”
Climb in: Immediately eye-catching is the touchscreen – an
intuitively operated human-machine interface in the style of its
counterpart in the Volkswagen Up! concept car. It is located right at
the imaginary transmission tunnel. All information and entertainment
functions are controlled from the touchscreen. Right in front of it –
on the level where a gearshift lever would be – there is now a
multifunctional steering wheel that is used to intuitively operate the
dual clutch transmission.
Above the touchscreen are the three large control dials for the dualzone
automatic climate control system. They are located on a cockpit
section traversed by vertical slats. These slats simultaneously serve
as both air vents and style features. When the control dials of the
automatic climate control system are turned to the left, in the
“colder” direction, the control unit’s display becomes increasingly
more blue; when higher temperatures are set the display turns
Visually similar to the climate controls is the light switch located to
the left of the steering wheel. In terms of color, the orange of the
convertible top is repeated in the basic illumination of the cockpit
switches. The designers also redesigned the large round instruments
and the multifunctional steering wheel. It is equipped with keys for
controlling the audio system, telephone, on-board computer and dual
clutch transmission (DSG).
Perfectly adapted to the interior are the lightweight, leatherupholstered
sport seats with their one-piece seatbacks. Behind the
NAIAS Detroit 2008 / Volkswagen / 9
integrated head restraints with embossed VW logo is the Concept
BlueSport’s roll bar. Directly behind this is the opened convertible
top; the soft top is actuated manually here. Thanks to a classic Zfold
and low top weight, this can be done in a matter of seconds –
sometimes less is more.

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