VW’s Baby Boxster Ambleside
VW’s Baby Boxster
Volkswagen is giving Mazda’s MX-5 some serious competition. The firm wowed the crowds at January’s Detroit Motor Show with its stunning BlueSport concept – and now, Auto Express has driven it.
It was designed from the outset to provide all the thrills of a performance car, but with a fraction of the environmental impact. The similarities between the BlueSport badge and VW’s low-emission BlueMotion brand are no coincidence. The two-seater is fitted with a 2.0-litre TDI engine which produces 178bhp and 350Nm of torque.
That’s plenty of power for a car of this size, and thanks to the addition of VW’s six-speed DSG gearbox, automatic stop-start and regenerative braking, it’s efficient, too. Economy of 42mpg and CO2 emissions of 113g/km are more comparable to a supermini than a sports car. A host of weight-saving measures – the most significant of which is the manually operated roof – has ensured kerbweight is kept to 1,200kg. Acceleration is brisk – 0-60mph takes only 6.6 seconds, while the top speed is 140mph.
A mid-engined, rear-drive layout gives the car 45:55 weight distribution front to back, which makes for balanced handling. Unusually for an early prototype, the BlueSport feels solid and well built, while the direct steering and agile chassis offer plenty of feedback.
One thing that’s unlikely to change when the final car arrives is the clean-cut styling. The slender headlamps and narrow grille are design cues similar to those first seen on the Scirocco.
At the rear are LED light clusters, while the overall look of the tail is similar to that of the Porsche Boxster. A pair of luggage compartments – one in the front and one in the back – offers 182 litres of space. Climb inside, and a touchscreen
display takes pride of place. High-quality leather and heating controls that glow red or blue – depending on the temperature – finish off the interior.
Although not yet officially confirmed, a showroom version of the BlueSport is a virtual certainty. However, it won’t arrive until 2012, when it will come with a choice of TSI and TDI engines.
Expect VW to do everything it can to keep the price tag below £25,000, too. What’s more, the BlueSport could lead to more than just the car you see here. It’s set to spawn a small Audi two-seater, a Porsche to sit below the Boxster and
even a SEAT roadster.
Rival: Mazda MX-5
It’s the car that brought roadsters to the masses, and the MX-5 is even better today than when it was launched in 1987. Its mix of sweet handling, sporty good looks and affordability laid the template for others to follow.
Author: JÃ¶rg Maltzan