January 13, 2009 The latest generation turbo injected clean diesels are already delivering proper sportscar performance at fuel economy levels that beat even the updated version of Toyota's pedestrian Prius hybrid—and Volkswagen's major concept debut at Detroit's Auto Show is determined to ram home the point. Using similar technologies to what VW subsidiary Audi has employed in its Sportback concept, the VW BlueSport concept's 54mpg fuel economy makes a mockery of the third-generation Prius's 50mpg, while delivering nearly twice the horsepower. A compact, corner-carving roadster, the BlueSport looks like a real giggle.
Clean diesel turbos are out in force at the NAIAS this year—and following the success of the Turbo Diesel Golf, VW are clearly keen to stay at the front of the pack. Concept BlueSport makes full use of the turbo-diesel emissions and economy advantage to present a high-performance roadster with fuel economy that will appeal to anyone who went through the petrol price spiral of 2008.
Details are fairly scant on the concept, but here's what we know: The engine makes around 180 horsepower, it's a Clean Diesel TDI with common rail injection and Nitrous Oxide storage in the exhaust system. It has a quick-shifting 6-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission for lightning-quick gear changes and minimal power loss. It hits 60mph in around 6.6 seconds and runs out to a top speed around 140mph.
Economy mode brings in automatic engine stop-start at the lights and some sort of energy regeneration system, bringing the BlueSport's fuel consumption to around 54mpg.
The BlueSport looks like a fun little 2-seater roadster with performance to spare, huge economy advantages and a classy exterior. Here's hoping we see something very similar in VW's production lineup before long!