VW Delays Roadster Concept Launch

November 17, 2008
Say it ain't so! Apparently even Volkswagen is feeling the pinch in the auto market at present, despite its worldwide sales increase of 15 percent for the third quarter. As such, it has decided not to release the mid-engined Roadster concept at the L.A. Auto Show next week, according to the U.K.'s AutoCar. The earliest we might see the Roadster would be in January at Detroit's NAIAS.

Volkswagen sources claim the delay is simply because they feel the Roadster will resonate better with showgoers in Detroit. But speculation says it's the economy.

The Roadster is expected to use a fuel-efficient four-cylinder along the lines of VW/Audi's 2.0-liter TFSI engine found in products like the GTI, Tiguan, A3, and A4. We'd love to see VW's excellent 1.4-liter twin charger (turbo- and super-charged) engine make its way into this little Roadster, especially as sources claim the Roadster will be very lightweight and feature an aluminum-intensive suspension and body. VW's EcoRoadster concept used a turbodiesel for torquey performance and stellar economy, another concept we really like. Either the twin charger or a turbodiesel in a light chassis would easily yield real-world economy of 30-plus mpg combined (probably 40-plus for the diesel). Who said the spirit of the MR2 was dead?--Colin Mathews

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