The car is powered by a 177bhp version of VW's 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, taken from an American-spec Jetta (although any of the company's four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines would fit), driving through a six-speed twin-clutch semi-automatic gearbox. It weighs just 1200kg.
This not only makes the car quick a claimed 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 140mph but efficient, too. Average fuel economy is 65mpg, with CO2 emissions of 113g/km. There are Sport and Eco buttons on the steering wheel to alter the gearshift points, while Eco mode also switches on an engine stop-start system.
The drivetrain, like the finish, strikes you as being ready for production. It all feels smooth and synchronised, although a bit more sound-deadening would be welcome.
VW says the car is lower and wider than a Porsche Boxster, but only a fraction longer than the new Polo. This makes it wonderfully planted and agile, and it has beautifully weighty steering. Yet despite riding on 19-inch wheels, it flits over the rough stuff without a shudder.