2003 Volkswagen Concept-R

2003 Volkswagen Concept-R

Back in 2003, Volkswagen may have just debuted the latest 3.2-litre V6 hot hatch, but somebody at Wolfsburg decided that engine would work far better planted in the middle of a sleek roadster powering the rear wheels – enter the Volkswagen Concept R.


While the future of Volkswagen vehicles might be exciting, sometimes it's important to look at where it all stems from

Back in late 2003, just seven days after the world premier of the all-new Golf R32 model, Wolfsburg unveiled the Volkswagen Concept R at the Frankfurt Auto Show which naturally went down a storm. At the time, the Volkswagen group didn’t offer a genuine roadster, so the design team there were obviously keen to explore these uncharted waters.

The Concept R was a study based around a sporty two-seater format with a mid-mounted engine. It was actually powered by the same V6 3.2 L FSI petrol engine found in the Golf R, and developed a maximum output of 265PS (195 kW; 261hp) at 6250rpm and 320 Nm (240 lb/ft) of torque at 2800 rpm.

The design was certainly sharp in every aspect and VW described the style to be like that of an animal about to jump. While we’re not sure about that, looking back it looks more like a cross between and Audi TT and a VW Eos, which isn't a bad thing.

The lightweight car had a claimed 0 to 100km/h (62mph) of 5.3 seconds, and could go on to reach an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h (155 mph). VW claimed that without the speed governor, the car would be even able to reach the top speed of 270km/h (167 mph). Power was transferred to the rear wheels via a six-speed direct-shift gearbox (DSG).

The design team for this concept was led by Murat Günak and Peter Schreyer, and broke the ground for the Volkswagen brand in developing the roadster vehicle. At 162 inches (4,100 mm) of length, 69 inches (1800 mm) of width and 48 inches (1200 mm) of height, the Concept R roadster has almost the same length and width as the fifth generation Volkswagen Golf hatchback, on whose platform it has been built.

Interesting features included the Volkswagen logo, which was generated digitally by a display and which began to pulsate in the so-called OLED screen when the driver turns on the ignition. When the ignition was activated, the pulse stopped. Also, the seats themselves were fully fixed, so adult ones driving position said occupant needed to electronically move the dash display and pedals back to themselves. And for the first time in a sports car, the seats were filled with an active foam which adapts to the body shape of the driver and passenger.

At a press dinner held during the 2005 North American International Auto Show, Bernd Pischetsrieder, the chairman of the Volkswagen Group, confirmed that Volkswagen intended to build a production vehicle similar to this concept. As of October 2021, no production model has appeared, however another, similar, concept car, the Volkswagen Concept BlueSport, was unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show. “Looking back, it looks more like a cross between and Audi TT and a VW Eos than anything, which isn’t a bad thing”

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