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]