2005 Volkswagen EcoRacer Concept Car

The prototype consumes a mere 3.4 liters and has a maximum speed of 230 km/h. The EcoRacer is a Coupé, Roadster and Speedster all at the same time. At the Tokyo Motor Show (October 22nd – November 6th), Volkswagen presents an incredibly economic sports car. The EcoRacer’s average fuel consumption is as low as 3.4 liters and it reaches a maximum speed of 230 km/h.

Thanks to its carbon fiber body, the middle motor sports car weighs a mere 850 kilograms and accelerates in only 6.3 seconds to 100 km/h. This sports car is powered by a 100 kW turbo diesel of the next generation and stands for a trend setting synthesis of rock-solid economy and an abundance of sportiness. 230 km/h, 6.3 seconds, 3.4 liter – a data combination that is as rare as it is fascinating.

Here’s a car that takes some of the doom out of one doomsday scenario. If oil prices rise to heretofore unseen heights, the Volkswagen EcoRacer shows that sports cars can still be fun-even if they’re powered by a diesel engine that gets 80 mpg.

The EcoRacer uses a carbon-fiber monocoque worthy of a Formula 1 machine. The engine, mounted amidships, is an early version of a new common rail diesel due in 2007. The result is a two-seater that pushes the sports-car envelope one full step beyond the likes of Lotus, Westfield, Caterham, and Ariel. Not only does it accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and top out at 143 mph, according to VW, it also averages a miserly 80 mpg. The only reason to sniff at the EcoRacer is the scent of diesel exhaust, which adds pungence to the open-air driving experience. We took the orange-metallic head turner for a spin on the Pau Arnos circuit in the south of France.

The EcoRacer isn’t as pretty as forerunners such as the Concept R design exercise, but the hardware beneath the skin is spot-on. The weight distribution of the 1874-pound machine works out to 39/61 percent front to rear. The control-arm front suspension is made of lightweight aluminum, and the body structure can be had in three material alternatives. VW has also incorporated several production Golf parts, such as steering, brakes, rear suspension, and wheel bearings.

The engine, though, is all new. The 1.5-liter, turbocharged direct-injection, four-cylinder diesel develops 134 hp and a maximum torque of 184 lb-ft, which is available between 1900 and 3750 rpm. The particulate filter- equipped common rail turbo-diesel is mated to a six-speed, twin-clutch DSG transmission.

Unfortunately, the packaging of the most radical Volkswagen this side of the memorable one-liter car is as painful as a live act in a bondage show, both because of the belts that strap you tight to the bucket seat and because of the confined cabin space. With the roof in place, your hairstyle gets squashed flat; with the top removed, your coiffure switches to shock-headed.

The engine behind the cockpit starts at the push of a button, the gearbox responds promptly to paddle-shift inputs, and the accelerator offers instantaneous response. The cockpit layout is ultrasimple, and the shift lever meets your hand with a pleasant blend of leather and aluminum.

Although the EcoRacer is a handmade prototype, it drives as well as a preproduction car. The steering is light and eager and full of feedback. The brakes have bite and balance. The chassis bypasses the typical understeer intro and dives straight into a long, neutral dialogue with the road. Even with the stability control system switched on, there is never any doubt about which end of the car will come unstuck first. Like the Lotus Elise, this VW can play the games of turn-in and lift-off or power-on and unwind with as many variations as the driver wishes to induce. Like the Porsche Boxster, it squats and hugs the tarmac with rare tenacity when you accelerate out of a third-gear bend. And like the Renault Sport Spider, it pushes dimples into your cheeks above 60 mph. Responsive and balanced, firmly planted and light-footed, intuitive and totally pragmatic, this VW leaves a lasting impression.

There are downsides, however: The ultra-stiff ride, the cement-mixer sound track, and (with the three roof panels in place) the submarinelike visibility. But what the heck-the EcoRacer is more fun than a fleet of Golf R32s. So get your act together, Volkswagen, and figure out a way to make such a car financially feasible and more appealing cosmetically. The time is right for a fuel-sipping sports car.

Volkswagen’s EcoRacer sports car has successfully completed its racetrack debut: 34 journalists from nine countries gave the concept car from Wolfsburg a thorough test on the racetrack in Pau in the South of France.


In three days, the motor sport journalists covered over 1200 kilometres, mainly at high speed, in the yellow two-seater. The EcoRacer proved that it is versatile and dynamic in the guise of a coupé, a roadster and a speedster. The EcoRacer will be on display at the KonzernWelt in the Autostadt in Wolfsburg as of 17 December.

Volkswagen made a static presentation of the EcoRacer at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. The concept car was well received by journalists and trade visitors. The idea of testing the mid-engine sports car on a racetrack was developed in Tokyo.

Matthias Rabe, head of Group Research at Volkswagen AG: ‘We took this unusual step to let people see for themselves that fascination, sportiness and excellent handling can be combined with fuel efficiency. The EcoRacer impressively passed this test without any breakdowns at the racetrack in Pau. This concept car proves that fuel economy and sportiness are not mutually exclusive.’

The EcoRacer weighs just 850 kilograms thanks to its carbon fibre body. It accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds. The newly developed 1.5-litre turbo diesel with 100 kW /136 PS has a top speed of 230 km/h and an average fuel consumption of just 3.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

However, not only the technology fulfilled the expectations of the Volkswagen engineers. The design of the vehicle was also presented well at the racetrack. Volkswagen designer Cesar Muntada: ‘It is a wonderful experience to see your new vehicle on the road for the first time and to see the reactions to it. I am particularly pleased about the emotions the EcoRacer stirred up on the racetrack.’


New-Generation TDI Engines

Just as unique from the point of view of design as the entire body is the EcoRacer’s TDI engine. It reflects the future of the diesel engine. Clean, powerful and very versatile. The 1.5 TDI is still under trial. Like the new twin charger (TSI) among the direct-injection petrol engines, the turbo-diesel direct injection engine is characterized by greatest agility at lowest consumption. The Volkswagen developers refer to it as a highly charged downsizing concept.

The EcoRacer can be viewed in the Autostadt in Wolfsburg until 9 January 2006.

2005 Volkswagen EcoRacer

Year 2006
Make Volkswagen
Model EcoRacer
Engine Location Mid
Body / Chassis Carbon Fibre
Weight 850 kg | 1874.3 lbs
Combined MPG 0
Introduced At 2005 Tokyo
Performance
0-60 mph 6.3 seconds.
Top Speed 230 km/h | 142.9 mph Similar top speeds
Engine
Engine Configuration I
Cylinders 4
Aspiration/Induction TurboDiesel
Displacement 3.40 L | 207.5 cu in. | 3400.9 cc.
Horsepower 100.00 kw (135.9 HP)
HP to Weight Ratio 13.8 LB / HP (Vehicles with similar ratio)
Fuel Type Diesel
Vehicles with similar horsepower and weight
Dimensions
Standard Payload 0
Seating Capacity 2
Doors 2
Scribbled on August 6th 2008 in Volkswagen, VW EcoRacer
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