VW BlueSport Concept – The 57 MPG Roadster

Volkswagen BlueSport Concept

At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, VW showed this stunning little roadster, dubbed the BlueSport. It’s got all the stuff to make a gearhead’s heart flutter: 180HP engine, 6.6 seconds zero to 100 km/h, mid-engine/rear drive top speed is around 140, drop top, a 6-speed DSG dual clutch transmission, the usual.

But here’s the kicker: the BlueSport gets 57 miles to the gallon, because it’s got a diesel engine.

That’s right, the BlueSport is an oil burner.

Not only will this help VW with increases in the CAFE, but there’s some serious enviro-cred right there.

Now, anyone will tell you that running Bio-diesel in a new car is probably a bad idea, and most definitely is bad for your warranty … but you know, new cars become old cars, and if you wanted to have fun off the grid, six and a half second to sixty + nearly 60MPG fun, the BlueSport looks like a real good option.

Of course, VW is saying this is only a show car … no immediate plans for production … yadda-yadda-yadda – but c’mon! They’d be dumber than a bag of hammers not to bring this out. It’s production ready as any show car I’ve seen and apart from having a soft top, (rather than a now industry standard retractable hardtop) looks like a winner.

Build it VW, build it!

VW BlueSport Concept To See Production?

Volkswagen BlueSport Concept top

June 11, 2009
What’s this? Actual common sense from the auto world? One can only hope, but the signs are looking good that Volkswagen is actually going to make a production version of its knockout BlueSport roadster concept car.

Here’s a quick re-cap of events. Back in January, VW sucker punched the auto world with a completely unexpected sportscar. Dubbed the BlueSport Roadster, it was a mid-engined two-seater. There were no rumors, VW just dropped it on a show stand.

That would have been impressive enough, but what was really impressive and got all the gearheads talking was the engine mounted amidships in this little guy. It was a 50 state legal, clean burning diesel, that would let the BlueSport get upwards of 57 miles to the gallon on the freeway, and in the low 40s around town.

Talk about having your cake and eating it too, a fun, tossable two-seater that got great mileage, and, with the possibility of running it on Bio-D, could be a very eco-friendly ride.

But then “reality” set in. It was a show car after all, and even though companies will always talk a good game, a show car seeing the showrooms seems to be about a 33% chance in my experience. Then there were the rumors. Nope, VW was going to ax the whole program. Thanks for playing, but we’ve changed our minds.

But now word comes that the BlueSport roadster WILL see production after all.

The news broke via Greg Kable, a writer for Autoweek, who had the chance to drive the concept car. He noted that VW had given the mid-engine sports car a development code name. Hmmmm, you only give out things like that to cars that are going to see production (usually). He also stated that the car could be headed to America by 2013, and that it would have a starting price of less than $30,000 and meet California emissions regs.

The 2013 model would have the same drivetrain layout as the Detroit show car: A 2.0-liter common rail turbodiesel cranking out 168 horsepower, and delivering zero-to-60 times of 6.6 seconds with the six-speed paddle-shifted dual-clutch gearbox. And then it got better if you wanted to care less about the environment. Kable said that VW was considering including the 265-horsepower turbocharged gas engine slated for the Scirocco R.

The AutoWeek scribe put over 50 miles in the BlueSport, and found it to be quick, nimble, tossable and an overall joy to drive. The BlueSport is about the size of a Mazda Miata (one of the best sportscars ever) and has the same focus on simplicity that makes all true sportscars great.

The BlueSport concept was built using a lot of off-the-shelf components to cut costs, which is good because I’m a cheapskate, and it makes liberal use of aluminum to keep the weight down to 2,640 pounds, which is also good because I’m a big believer in Colin Chapman. Kable said the cabin was comfy, even though the car is small and he praised the car’s handling, steering and brakes.

“This is an exciting car. Good to look at and fun to drive, it should be able to hold its head high on the dynamic front with cars costing twice its projected price,” he said, and damn if I don’t agree with him.

OK VW, don’t disappoint us.

Production of the Volkswagen BlueSport Hits a Snag

Volkswagen BlueSport Concept front

June 23, 2010

After wowing the crowds at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, VW has yet to put its sensible little concept into production.

When the BlueSport debuted, nearly everybody with a pulse wanted one. And, why not?

It’s a sexy little roadster (about the size of a Mazda MX-5), with a 180 hp diesel mounted in the middle. Even though the words Diesel and Sport have never before been uttered in the same sentence. The BlueSport manages a 0-60 time of only 6.6 seconds, and a top speed of 140 mph.

Not bad for a Diesel…that gets 42mpg.

With bits and pieces of the BlueSport coming from other Volkswagen’s that are currently in production. It was assumed that the world’s biggest car maker would put its tantalizing little roadster into production. But, that plan has hit a snag.

Since VW owns Audi, and now Porsche, an apparent sibling rivalry has broken out within the company.

Automobile Magazine reports that Porsche is afraid that a $30k BlueSport might hurt sales of its forthcoming Boxster replacement. And, since Audi has a similarly sized TT roadster. They don’t want a cheaper Volkswagen lowering the sales tallies for their car either.

Volkswagen BlueSport On Hold

Volkswagen BlueSport Concept side

Jan. 13, 2012

A Volkswagen mid-engined roadster has been in the news for years. Its one of those stories that never dies. A lot more credence came to the idea three years ago when VW debuted the BlueSport Concept at the North American International Show.

It was remarkably ready for production. Since its introduction, we’ve heard about its possibilities for production. Three models would be based on a new mid-engined platform; the VW BlueSport, a proposed Audi R4 and a Porsche model to slot in below the Boxster.

The latest news on the BlueSport is that production has been put on hold; according to Autocar the business plan isn’t working out. We’ve heard this before too.

To make it feasible, Volkswagen says the BlueSport needs to sell 50,000 units a year. Whether that is a global number or not isn’t clear. If it was globally that seems like a doable goal. Now, United States only? Not so much – 50,000 a year is definitely a stretch. We think the BlueSport would be a great addition to the VW lineup; a niche model to draw interest. Especially with VW watering down its core models to appeal to the mainstream, excitement is needed.

We aren’t buying the volume argument necessarily either. More variants on the platform means more sales and economies of scale. Audi has green lighted the R4; while Porsche is studying its own variation. Porsche would want its car to be well differentiated from its VW Group stablemates. In addition, they are worried about the possibilities of it infringing on the Boxster’s territory. It could be too close for comfort.

We’re sure Porsche would rather cannibalize itself than have Audi do it with the R4 though. Still, that car’s future is up in the air. Regarding the BlueSport, VW says the car is engineered and ready to go, but just on hold. Somehow, we think the car will see the light of day. Just a guess though.

11 Comments on "VW BlueSport Concept – The 57 MPG Roadster"

  1. Chris

    Better looking than the Sky? I don't know about that, but it's definitely better than the other small roadsters on the market right now. The fact that it's a diesel is great as well, and will hopefully start a trend. Assuming of course that the price of diesel doesn't stay a steady $1/gallon above regular petrol.

  2. Tony

    Assuming of course that the price of diesel doesn’t stay a steady $1/gallon above regular petrol.

    And why the hell is that?

    No one has ever explained it .. is it lack of diesel refining capacity?

  3. Chris

    Partly refining capacity, due to increasing demand in other parts in the world (especially China,) and partly because of the US transition to low sulfur diesel. Plus, the tax on diesel is a few cents more per gallon than gasoline.

  4. Will

    Whoa!

    Better looking than the Sky, Nicholas? Better looking than my baby? Well, we'll just see about that when my 260 horses power to 60 mph in 5 seconds, but I'll be sure to wave at you as I pass by….

    Just kidding. Ownership pride aside, I'm glad VW did this, and I hope they make it. The 57 miles to the gallon is great as well. And is it just me or does the front look like the VW Scirocco?

  5. Nicholas Borgia

    I am going to catch some flak for this, but here it goes: I think the Sky is ugly. There I said it!

    Honestly, it isn't all that good-looking to me. It looks like some angry bug in the front, and the rear taillights look cheap and tacky. I think the car itself is great, and that turbo engine is outstanding (fooled around in a Solstice GXP a few months ago), but I think the dopey look of the Solstice is better looking than the overly-busy Sky.

    I guess Will is my latest dissident now…..

  6. Will

    I'm trying to come up with a killer response, but I'm pulling a blank here. I guess an opinion is an opinion, and words really can't change that.

    I personally think the Sky is the best looking car under 30 grand. Hell, you would have to go quite a ways up the price spectrum until I spot a car that I think looks better. The curves, the side vents, the reverse-hinged hood….I just never get tired of looking at it. But it's not everybody's groove, though they are always surprised to see that it's a Saturn.

    Oh no Tony! You too?

  7. james braselton

    HI THERE YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT VW TDI GETTING 60 MILES PER GALLON I HAVE THE VW BEATEL WITH A 1.9 LITER TDI I GET ABOUT 60 MILES PER GALLON AND WITH A 14.5 GALLON TANK I CAN GET 600 TOO 800 MILES BEFORE REFILE WE DRIVE IT A LOT WHEN FUEL PRICES WENT TOO $5.00 PER GALLON

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