Wednesday, January 14, 2009

VW wows Detroit with new diesel sports car


With the raucous success of VW’s 2008 Jetta TDI Cup racing series, Germany’s lower-buck automaker proved that diesel has arrived as the technology for clean, affordable sports car racing. Then Audi announced that they’re putting the same diesel technology into their whole line of hatchbacks, sedans, and SUVs.

Now VW’s back in the spotlight, showing off the new BlueSport. The name derives from the technology used to make a diesel engine the cleanest on the road. The new clean diesel engines from VW, Audi, and Mercedes consume about 30% less fuel than gasoline engines of equivalent power. They produce about 25% less carbon dioxide, and Nitrous Oxide emissions are reduced by 90%. Particulate emissions are reduced by 98%.

Those figures are due to the invention of an emissions system in which a small amount of a light carbonic acid solution is sprayed into the exhaust system just ahead of the catalytic converter. The nitrous oxide in the diesel exhaust mixes with the acid and generates ammonia, which breaks down into nitrogen and water vapor. The acid reservoir is topped up by the dealer at every service interval - you never have to worry about it.

So with a turbo and the new clean diesel technology, you’ve got an engine that can make a Jetta run like a scalded dog. So what’s the obvious next step? Clearly, a small mid-engined two-seat sports car leaps to our minds.

The new Concept BlueSport on display at this week’s Detroit Auto Show looks a lot like an Audi TT roadster that mated with a Honda S2000 and a Mazda RX-8. That shouldn’t surprise anyone - those are all sexy cars. Furthermore, Audi is a subsidiary of VW and the two share a lot of technology. I saw some very sexy Audi TT coupes with diesel engines at Audi’s Mileage Marathon event in October, but sadly we didn’t get to drive them.

Unlike most concepts, the Concept BlueSport runs and drives. The littlest VeeDub gets an average of 42 mpg in combined mileage. On the highway it gets up to 50 mpg. The car uses the same 2.0-liter TDI engine found in the Jetta and the Audi A3. The little 4-rattler delivers 170 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque, That torque is at its best at just 1,750 rpm! Power is routed to the rear wheels (hallelujah!) through a standard 6-speed two-pedal dual-clutch “auto-manual” gearbox. Weight distribution on the car is a lovely mid-engined 45:55. To top it all off, the whole shebang gets from 0-60 in just 6.2 seconds, with a top speed of 140 MPH.

I know I speak for everyone here at DrivingSports when I say Sign Us Up for one of these! Tomorrow would be good. This afternoon would be better.

The automakers are finally starting to prove that going green doesn’t mean giving up a thing for sports car enthusiasts. You can get great performance in a great-handling car and still get great mileage, low emissions, and a reasonable price tag. Volkswagen’s new Concept BlueSport roadster looks like an absolute hoot, and with VW and Audi’s history of developing fun cars, the future looks very bright.
source:driving sports