For the second year running Volkswagen has rocked the Detroit motor show with a stunning concept car that fuses good looks, strong performance and spectacular economy.
Twelve months ago the Concept Bluesport, a mid-engined 2.0-litre diesel roadster, caught everyone on the hop. This year VW is back with the New Compact Coupe, a petrol-electric hybrid that delivers similar performance to a mid-range Scirocco with lower emissions than the super-frugal Golf Bluemotion.
175bhp full hybrid
The New Compact Coupe is powered by a 148bhp version of the company's 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged engine mated to a 27bhp electric motor, driving through a seven-speed semi-automatic DSG gearbox. The two power sources can work alone or together, making the car a full hybrid.
VW claims average fuel economy of more than 67mpg, with CO2 emissions of 98g/km 1g/km less than the Golf Bluemotion. A top speed of 141mph and a 0-62mph time of less than nine seconds are on par with the performance of the 158bhp 1.4-litre Scirocco.
Innovative energy regeneration
The engine and gearbox automatically de-couple from each other when the driver lifts off the accelerator in effect, making the car free-wheel to reduce frictional losses. VW calls it 'coast-down'. Energy that would otherwise go to waste is recovered by the electric motor and channelled back to the lithium-ion battery.
There is also a blanked-off grille section, similar to that on the latest Polo Bluemotion, to improve aerodynamic efficiency.
The car sits between a Golf and Passat in size and is based on the underpinnings of the next Jetta saloon, which will be made in Mexico for sale in the UK early next year.
The concept car seats four in individual white-leather bucket seats and has a 380-litre boot.
Long horizontal lines and a deep front aidam make it look longer and wider than its 4.5-metre by 1.8-metre footprint, while 19-inch alloys and bi-xenon front lamp units with LED daytime running lights ensure it meets VW's high quality standards.
Instant hit, say VW
The official line is that the coupe may be built if interest following Detroit is strong enough to make a business case, but it is believed VW has already decided to make it.
'This type of car will be an instant hit with our customers,' says VW head of design Waler de Silva. 'It is a combination of interior space in a compact size and an elegant and sporty coupe look.'