By: IOL Motoring Staff
Beijing Motor Show - This is Volkswagen's Beijing show car - a revival of the hallowed 1960s tradition of unique styling exercises, some created by the world's top bespoke design studios, just to show how beautiful a car could be.
I'm sorry, but today's concepts aren't in the same league - or they weren't, until this one.
Klaus Bischoff's four-door New Midsize Coupé (could they not have come up with a more evocative name for the sexiest Volkswagen since the Scirocco?), making its world debut in Beijing, is low (1422mm) and wide (1838) but shorter even than a Jetta at only 4597mm long, with very short overhangs and a dynamic roof line with markedly swept-back C-pillars, a short boot lid and long bonnet.
The front end uses special styling techniques to shift the visual centre of gravity downwards, combining with the long bonnet and short overhang to emphasise the sculpted LED headlight clusters, three-bar grille (one black, two chrome) and large lower air intake.
Based on Volkswagen's ubiquitous Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform, the show car's greenhouse (the roof and glazed area) has been placed over strongly marked shoulder sections and sporty 20” rims. The candy-apple red and gloss back colour scheme, with flashes of chrome, is one of the most powerful there is (ask any motorcyclist!)
A wrap-around trim strip, with the LED indicators at its outer ends, ties the front end together like a chrome ribbon.
The shoulder section runs on two levels; a narrow plane runs forward from the C pillar to below the window sill, broadening as it moves forward to form a V in the bonnet. The lower level begins at the front as a very narrow line, runs over the wheel-arch flare and widens towards the rear.
Even the door handles are precisely placed on the 'character line' and integrated with the angle it forms.
The LED rear light clusters have aluminium elements forming outward-facing reflectors for the tail and indicator lights with an opposing strip in the middle for the brake lights - and tiny, very bright reversing lights at the ends.
The bottom of the rear bumper ends in a high-gloss black diffuser, framed by dual tailpipes and a chrome crosspiece.
The cabin is trimmed in leather with the inner surfaces of the sports seats in an off-white colour Bischoff calls silk and the outer sections in black, visually separated by red piping, with trim elements in gloss black and alcantara trim on head and pillar linings.
The controls, including the multifunction sports steering wheel and the infotainment system, are based on those of the current Golf, but the transverse sections and axles come from the next-size-up “B” platform - which is what makes the show car so wide, but also provides seating for three adults in the rear as well as a 500-litre boot.
In the classic show car tradition, the New Midsize Coupé is a fully roadworthy runner, with a 162kW, direct-injection, two-litre TSI turbopetrol driving the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
According to Bischoff, it'll scoot off the line to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds and, thanks to a drag coefficient of 0,29 and a lighter kerb weight than either a Jetta or a Passat, it'll top out at 244km/h, while averaging only 6.4 litres per 100km in the combined cycle.
There are rumours floating around the cybergarage that it might go into production as a China-only model; we hope so, if only so that this dramatically elegant shape doesn’t disappear after its show career is over.