• Oct 10, 2008
CAR and Autoweek have tapped their sources within Volkswagen to get the scoop on a rumored mid-engine Elise-fighter that may debut at next month's LA Auto Show. But when working with unnamed insiders, information tends to get jumbled in the process and differing reports emerge that suggest it's all more speculation than hard facts.

Both reports confirm what we've heard before: Volkswagen will limit the cylinder count to four, but that's where the similarities end. Autoweek's sources say that engine choices will be limited to either a 170-hp 1.4-liter Twincharger TSI gasoline engine or a new 125-hp 1.6-liter TDI sending power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. CAR pegs displacement of the gasoline engines at between 1.2- and 1.4-liters, with output ranging from 105 to 160 hp. A 1.2-liter TDI producing 75 hp is also being bandied around.

According to Autoweek, the mid-engine coupe will come to market in 2011, while CAR contends production won't begin until 2013. Additionally, CAR reports that VW won't use an aluminum architecture due to cost constraints, meaning that the Modular Sports Car (MSC) will come in at around 2,660 pounds (300kg heavier than the Elise). On the other hand, Autoweek is saying that the concept will tip the scales below 2,200 pounds by tapping Audi for its expertise with aluminum and opening the door to a four-ringed variant with a choice of a 211-hp 2.0-liter TFSI or a 204-hp twin-turbo'd 2.0-liter TDI. Not to mention the possibility of a Porsche 914 successor.

A strut-based suspension will be employed instead of a Golf-derived multi-link arrangement, while parts cribbed from the rest of the VW line – ranging from steering components and brakes to electronics and transmissions – will be used to keep manufacturing costs in check. Autoweek is also reporting that both a coupe and roadster will be offered, which strikes us as totally unnecessary as VW would be better served offering a removable hard-top similar to that on the MSC's target, the Lotus Elise.

[Sources: CAR and Autoweek]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've been waiting for the spiritual successor to the MR2 (MKI or MKII) for quite a while now, and it looks like VW may be the one to deliver the goods. Sure, there was the MR2 Spyder, but I was never a roadster guy. Love the Miata, but wouldn't own it for that very reason. Ditto on the Sky. (and let's face it, the Solstice coupe is ugly as sin)

      PLEASE make this, VW. I will buy it when you do. Oh yes, and please have a proper manual gearbox available.

      I miss my old MR2 Turbo so much...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I feel like VW is trying too hard again to compete with its own subsidiaries.
      First the Phaeton, now this?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @zamafir:
        Good point. As I think about it now, Audi does not sell any small mid-engine, rear-wheel drive roadsters.
        • 6 Years Ago
        the phaeton is an apt point, however this is going to be priced BELOW anything audi sells, BELOW the A3, over $10,000 (if current information is to be believed) BELOW the TT, 30% less is a lot more significant than the meager savings the phaeton saw, this isn't the same approach. Given the lack of anything cheap and fun save the MX-5, especially without a new MR2 or S2000, this should factor in well to the current market. Give it a 1.4TSI, over 150hp, and make it less than $25,000 and light (we've already been informed MANY times that the MkVII will be lighter than the MkV and MkVI and that VW is moving lighter across the range) and it'll sell very well.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Twin clutch gearbox =/= Elise fighter.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mid Mounted Engine = Good

      Rear Wheel Drive = Good

      Strut-based Suspension = Good

      2660lbs & 105 HP = ???
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually it is is torque x rpm (aka HP) that moves you. Check performance stats they line up on HP numbers, not torque numbers.

        100HP and 2600lbs = SLOW.

        Diesel type torque at low RPM but no top end is nice for lazy drivers who don't want to downshift. But a car with less torque and more HP because it revs higher will be faster. How much torque does an S2000 make? Slow? I don't think so.


        • 6 Years Ago
        It's torque that moves you. HP not so much...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thanks for the psychics lesson Cliff, 105hp 1.2L-1.4L gasoline motor isn't going to make decent torque numbers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      All your comments are valid but the answer in the end is = Turbo, it will answer all your comments.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This one runs and drives. It is in the country/CA and will be out for a video shoot in the next two weeks. Lets see *just* how good the AutoBlog guy's are!! Get us some spy video!! I gave you the lead.. now find the *spot*!!! Hint: Mulholland/Topanga canyon :) Oh.. and on the drivetrain; there is an argument within management between "who" will use "what". VW wants one option, Audi and Porsche want another. All 3 will end up releasing their own version of the car with different front ends and rear ends setting them apart as well as drivetrain differences (ala Toureg/Cayenne)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd still rather have the Elise.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Just make sure you can get in it XD
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good to hear that it will be in Los Angeles show, hopefully this won't be like the GX3 concept they also showed but never produced.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They should have bought Karmann,that way with proper liscensing this could be the New Karmann-Ghia.
      • 6 Years Ago
      More small roadsters is a good thing, but 100hp and 2600lb+? C'mon. Don't even try to talk about torque because torque and hp are tied together mathematically and you can't magically have some huge torque figure but weak hp and have it fun to drive. If it can't compete with the Miata then VW can zoom zoom right back to the drawing board on this one. It really isn't that hard to make a 200hp turbo 1.6L or so that will make the car fun on a track bigger than a bathtub.
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