Volkswagen’s design strategy turnaround went public in autumn 2007, when the small Up! concept was first shown in Frankfurt. It was a simple yet friendly and elegant creation, actually the first implementation of a design DNA which had been conceived by Walter de Silva, director of design for the VW Group, together with Flavio Manzoni, director of creative design for the group, and Klaus Bischoff who is director of design for the VW brand.

Ever since that first Up!, new products like the Golf 6 and the Scirocco, as well as concepts including the Space Up! have emerged from Wolfsburg and VW’s design centre in Potsdam, near Berlin. Now the BlueSport is the latest, a promising mid-engine two-seater sportscar which VW refers to as the return of the affordable European roadster which has been missed so dearly for some years. But without officially mentioning it, the VW people actually see a future for BlueSport as the new alternative for the Mazda MX5.

“Part of our first brief, before we started the project in July 2008, was to create a really optimistic approach to what is normally a dull and uninspiring eco-car,” Flavio Manzoni explains, standing next to the BlueSport at last January’s Detroit auto show. “And the result proves that eco friendliness can be positive and sympathetic. The car is a clear response to the current situation, offering an affordable sportscar for a younger audience but keeping in mind our responsibility towards the environment, with low weight, low consumption and low emissions.”

These statements are reflected in the BlueSport technical concept: it is 3990mm long, just 1260mm high, and equipped with a 180hp TDi diesel engine allowing for a 6.2 sec acceleration from 0 to 100, yet emitting just 113g/km CO2.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 175

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