The new course of Volkswagen design summed up in a prototype created under the guidance of Peter Schreyer, who has been in charge of VW design since last year. As seen at the Frankfurt Show, the Concept R is a thoroughbred roadster that retains all the logic and clarity of the Volkswagen tradition in its lines, its ornament and its masses, but adds in a powerful emotional charge that derives in part from the often humanised treatment of its masses (most particularly the “expression on its face”).

The overall design is straightforward: no add-on frills, not even the air intakes on the sides that are currently all the rage in sports car design. Seen from above, the body is a monolith formed of two intersecting V shapes, on which the mirror-image front and rear sections are based. The tail is perfectly symmetrical, its twin exhausts at the centre seeming to extend the lines that spread out from the bonnet.

The head and tail lights are identical in shape and both use LED technology so that they take up very little space (an ideal solution given the almost non-existent overhangs), as well as show-casing the meticulous architecture of the interior whenever they light up.

Shaped, like the exterior, for emotional impact, the interior features an array of cutting-edge technology. A single continuous arch embraces the cabin from the base of the windscreen to the doors. Into it, the wing-shaped dashboard and the two side panels, all covered in soft kidskin (like the seats), are all slotted.

The contrast between soft, warm matte leather and the cold gleam of the polished aluminium instruments, highlights key elements in a way that creates a direct, unambiguous relationship between the driver and his surroundings.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 143

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