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VW BlueSport Roadster

Volkswagen stuns Detroit with the sub-£20k BlueSport

Volkswagen is getting quite into the whole 'star of the show' thing. After stunning Bologna with the surprise Scirocco R, it has brought this to Detroit - the BlueSport roadster. While the past few years have seen a number of (ultimately doomed) VW sports car concepts, this one looks like it has the legs to make it into production.

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And the big news is that it's small. While it was widely thought to be an extension of the Golf/Scirocco theme, it is in fact Polo based - meaning a price point comfortably below £20,000 and finally another affordable, fun drop-top and a rival for the Mazda MX-5 at last. Only the Japanese car and the reborn (but 13-year-old) MG TF fit the bill if you want a two-seat roadster that doesn't cost more than £20k.

Like the MG, the BlueSport is mid-engined and rear-wheel driven. It differs from the MG and Mazda in its choice of propulsion, though. The concept uses VW's 2-litre TDI turbodiesel, with 178bhp and 258lb ft on tap. In this 1200kg sports car that means 0-60mph in just 6.2sec, and a top speed of 140mph combined with 50mpg fuel economy and carbon emissions of 113g/km. That makes it very cheap to tax as well as buy and run.

It's a fantastic looking thing, too, combining VW's current design language (note the Scirocco style front) with compact and clean styling that marks the BlueSport out as a new model in its own right. The interior is high quality with an abundance of leather and smart, touch screen elements although if the production car is to make its attractive price point expect these to be extras rather than standard fit.

Whether the car makes production will be influenced by reaction at Detroit, but expect that to be very favourable. The project isn't even a year old yet, so expect any roadgoing versions to arrive in 2011, with much development still to go. It will likely gain a couple of different engine options along the way, with VW's 1.4 and 2-litre TSI units a good bet.

Check out the rest of the action from the Detroit motor show.

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