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VW to build mid-engine coupe and roadster 'halo' sports car?

by Paul Rachwal

Come November, the show-going public in Los Angeles will get a first-hand look at a VW-badged two-seat, mid-engine coupe and roadster, promises VW Chairman Martin Winterkorn. If public reaction is positive, the car could hit the streets as early as 2011.

The man in charge of the styling of the sports car will be none other than Audi's Walter da Silva, who penned the 2006 Lamborghini Miura concept, says a report from U.K. car mag Autocar.

The lightweight car is to compete with the Lotus Elise, but be less costly. It will be powered by choice of four-cylinder inline-four engines set in a Porsche Boxster-like layout between the axles. A gasoline 1.4-liter turbo engine making 168 horsepower and a new 1.6-liter diesel with 125hp are under consideration. Either engine will put down its power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Thanks in part to an aluminum spaceframe, the car would weigh in at under 2,200lbs, delivering performance similar to a 200hp GTI's while besting its fuel economy. An Audi version of the car is also likely, as is a Porsche derivative. The Audi car would probably use the 211hp 2.0TFSI engine, with the option of a twin-turbo 2.0-liter TDI good for 204hp. Porsche's version would likely revive the 914 nameplate, which was also co-developed with VW.