German manufacturer Volkswagen will not offer a small sports car to rival the likes of the Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ and Mazda MX-5.
The brand had played on the idea of a two-seat sports car in the past, and indeed developed a concept model, the Volkswagen BlueSport concept, in 2009.
That show car has likely long-since been forgotten by the majority of people, but it’s still in the minds of Volkswagen executives such as the company’s head of development, Heinz-Jakob Neusser.
“You know that I have a Porsche history,” Neusser said at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, clearly suggesting he would like to see a sports car in the same vein as the BlueSport make it to market.
He went on to refer directly to that car when asked about the potential for a budget-friendly sports car from the brand.
“We have one done, and it looks really good, pretty good. It runs well. It’s a mid-car engine inside. But to be honest it’s not so easy to be transferred in to a positive business case because the segment, the roadster segment, is not growing all over the world,” he said.
“And there are some strong players already inside this business. And when we come with a VW, additionally to that, it’s not so easy for us to establish such a car into the market,” he said, clearly insinuating that the Mazda MX-5 – the world’s best-selling sports car – is a difficult nemesis.
However, such a car is possible, it seems, with Neusser suggesting that the BlueSport was envisaged to be built off the modular MQB platform.
Neusser said the brand is still focusing on performance models – though the form they take will likely be derivatives of existing vehicles.
“We think it’s also possible to have what our core competency fields of cars, very emotional derivatives,” he said.
“If you look to the Golf R for example, and we have here at the exhibition the Clubsport version of the Golf [GTI, pictured above] – this will come next year, spring next year on the market. And we do also a very sharp version of this – you will see it also next year,” he said.
A very sharp version of the Golf? Sounds like the Golf R400, which Neusser has previously confirmed will make it to production with a heavily worked 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing as much as 294kW and 450Nm.
As for the GTI Clubsport – which has so far only been confirmed as a three-door model – it’s unclear if Australia will see that model. The Golf GTI range has been simplified to be five-door only.
Neusser claimed the GTI Clubsport offers more than enough sporting intent, if not the sport rag-top body.
“I personally was with this car on the Nurburgring Nordschleife, and I can tell you, you get a lot of fun. You’re missing nothing.
“So this is easier for us to enter with such a car into the market and to establish these positive sports models,” he said.
That said, Neusser suggested other sporty models are on their way.
“I think you will see soon other things also from Volkswagen – but to talk about this is too early,” he said.