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Over the past five years, Volkswagen has continued to tease us with sports car concepts that never seem to come to fruition. Back in 2003, VW unveiled the Concept R in Frankfurt to critical acclaim and two years later, the wraps came off the EcoRacer, proving that the automaker was still kicking around the idea of a lightweight, affordable roadster for the masses.

In the interim, VW had two similar concepts that never left the studio, but when the Los Angeles Auto Show rolls along later this year, a new mid-engine coupe will be revealed, and this one actually has a shot at production.

According to Autocar, this newest concept aims to be a budget alternative to the Lotus Elise, balancing performance and fuel economy in a low-cost package. Sources suggest that the coupe will feature either a 168 hp, 1.4-liter TSI gasoline engine or a 125 hp, 1.6-liter TDI mounted amidships and sending power to the rear wheels via a seven speed DSG gearbox. If and when the production version debuts in 2011, the coupe's curb weight is pegged at just over 2,200 pounds, allowing it to run to 60 in under seven seconds while still returning over 55 mpg.

If the project is given the green light, the same architecture that underpins the VW variant could form he basis for the oft-rumored and continually denied Audi R4. And with Porsche's stake in V-Dub, that means a 914 successor is just a badge and prayer away.

Related GalleryVolkswagen Concept R

Related GalleryVolkswagen EcoRacer

[Source: Autocar]