Skoda Rapid coupe planned

* Skoda's Scirocco rival coming * Based on Vision D concept car * Rapid saloon sketches revealed...

Skoda Rapid coupe planned

Skoda is planning to turn its forthcoming Rapid into a two-door 'coupe' rival to the VW Scirocco, according to well-placed sources.

The Rapid is expected to be launched at the Paris motor show in September, and Skoda has released official design sketches, which show a saloon car profile that's barely altered from the Mission L concept car revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show.

However, sources have revealed that within the next two years, the Rapid's chassis in effect a stretched and widened version of the current VW Polo platform, with simplified rear suspension will be used to underpin a two-door model that will be Skoda's most style-led car for a generation.

That car is expected to take its styling from the Vision D concept car, revealed at the 2011 Geneva motor show. That car had a similar front end to the one shown in the Rapid sketches, but did without the saloon-esque bootlid, instead adopting a sharply falling hatchback and an impressive short rear overhang.

The new coupe will also lose the Vision D's rear doors, but its hatchback profile will make it more of a rival for the VW Scirocco than a 'bespoke' two-door like the Toyota GT86 or the Audi TT.

Skoda's design chief, Jozef Kaban, refused to confirm that a coupe was being planned, but admitted, 'We have room for one more variant, but it's not coming tomorrow.'

John McIlroy