New sporting concepts from Audi and VolkswagenAudi and VW's latest concepts revealed

20 January 2009

Audi and Volkswagen both unveiled sporty new concepts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

For the latest news and deals, sign up to the Which? Car email

The two cars are very different in character, with Audi showing a large, luxury grand touring coupé dubbed the Sportback, and VW a compact, environmentally-efficient roadster, the Concept BlueSport.

VW Concept SportBlue

VW Concept SportBlue

Volkswagen Concept SportBlue

The Volkswagen Concept SportBlue features a mid-mounted 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine driving the rear wheels via a twin-clutch 'DSG' automatic gearbox. Producing 178bhp, it sprints 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds and has a top speed of 140mph.

Yet the Concept SportBlue emits just 113g/km CO2, thanks to an ‘Eco’ mode with stop-start function and brake energy regeneration.

Sadly, Volkswagen claims the Concept SportBlue is just a design study, and that it has no plans to put it into production.

The Audi Sportback

The Audi Sportback

Audi Sportback – the new ‘A7’

The Audi Sportback, however, is almost certainly a precursor to a forthcoming A7 coupé model.

The Sportback concept is longer, lower and wider than the current Audi A6, yet uses suspension and other components from the A4 and A5 – including Audi drive select with Continuous Damper Control.

And as a four-door coupé, comparisons will inevitably be drawn between the Sportback and the Mercedes-Benz CLS – especially as the two have nearly identical dimensions.

Sportback technology

For the show, the Sportback featured a 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine, helping Audi promote its clean ‘TDI’ technology to the American people. With this 222bhp engine, the Sportback is capable of 0-62mph in ‘under seven seconds’, has a 152mph top speed, and emits 156g/km CO2. Impressive for such a large car.

As you have probably come to expect, the concept is kitted out with all the latest fuel saving gizmos, including start-stop.

The Sportback also has ceramic brakes – much more powerful and longer lasting than regular steel disks – and is trimmed throughout in leather. This includes not only the dashboard and seats but also the rooflining, and even the boot. The interior offers generous seating for four adults, a pop-up central screen, and a large glass roof panel. The 500-litre boot should swallow plenty of luggage.

Expect more news on the Audi A7 soon.


Sign up to the Which? Car newsletter

Sign up to the Which? Car newsletter

Which? Car email

To be kept in the loop on all the manufacturer offers and great car deals we spot each week, sign up for our Which? Car email - delivered to your inbox every Friday, and including all our latest news and first drive reviews, too.

All the latest car news

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the here.

If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste this link into your newsreader: . Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to news feeds.