03 March 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Volkswagen at the Geneva Motor
Show 2011: Golf Cabrio, Tiguan and Bulli

The 81st Geneva Motor Show threw open its doors today, and aside from the Italdesign Volkswagen Tex coupé concept we reported on earlier in the week, VW itself has more than a handful of debuts and new models on show. The Swiss expo sees the world debut of the new Golf Cabriolet – only announced last week – and the rejuvenated Tiguan. There’s also the BlueMotion variant of the new Passat, and perhaps most surprisingly of all, a new take on the iconic Type 2 (T2), called the Bulli – the original T2’s name in Germany. Here’s a quick round-up of the latest Volkswagen unveils from the show floor. The 81st Geneva Motor Show is open until 13 March at Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland.

Golf Cabriolet
The latest drop-top Golf is based on the Series 6 car, and features a more rakish a-pillar, and GTI-style LED tail lights. A full four-seater, the powered canvas roof can be folded in 9.5 seconds at speeds up to 18mph. The ‘pram handle’ rollover hoop has disappeared, to be replaced with an automatically-deploying rollover bar. Volkswagen says refinement is a strong feature of the new car, even when powered the top-spec 208bhp engine from the Golf GTI. Six engines will be available, starting with a 104bhp unit. Over 684,000 examples of the Golf Cabriolet have been sold since the model’s introduction with the Series 1, and there’s no doubt that Volkswagen sees this one being equally as successful. Whether this will see the folding hardtop Eos slowly disappear, we’re not sure.

The best-selling small SUV in Germany largely sees cosmetic tweaks with its latest version. New assistance systems and engines sees VW’s smallest SUV consume less fuel, however, so its a little more than style over substance. The revised styling takes cues from the Tiguan’s larger brother, the Touareg, with revised bumpers and lights, and a choice of front end designs for on-road or off-road use. Three of the seven European engines are new and range from 168bhp to 208bhp. Volkswagen says that, thanks to the new technical highlights, the Tiguan is now one of the fuel-efficient SUVs.

Passat BlueMotion
Just as with the Polo BlueMotion, the new eco-Passat features fuel-saving technologies such as Stop/Start, battery regeneration, low rolling-resistance tyres and improved aerodyamics. A 1.6-litre 104bhp TDI engine provides motive power with emissions of only 109g/km (saloon, 0-62mph in 12.2 seconds) and 114g/km (estate, 0-62mph in 12.5 seconds). All 2011 Passat BlueMotions come with a six-speed manual gearbox.

And now to the big one. Volkswagen unveiled a Californian-designed Mircobus concept in 2001, and it says, that this one is the follow-up. Smaller than the version which debuted 10 years ago, the Bulli is based on a new platform and isn’t much longer than a current Polo. It’s a full zero-emissions vehicle powered by an electric motor, and has six seats in two rows of three and an iPad to control the entertainment and information systems. Volkswagen have big ideas for the Bulli and say that the newcomer (reported as almost production-ready at Geneva) will establish a fifth Volkswagen people carrier line alongside the Caddy, Caravelle, Sharan and Touran.

The 114bhp motor provides 199lbs ft of torque and is capable of providing 186 miles of range, and a 0-62mph time of 11.5 seconds. The fact that Volkswagen hints at 1.0 or 1.4-litre petrol engines also being considered under the Bulli’s T2-inspired nose must surely mean that the company has sales targets firmly in its sights. With a Passat-rivalling wheelbase of 2.62 metres, the Bulli utilises space well, just like its T2 forebear. The Bulli on show at Geneva has red and white two-tone paint, a 12” VW badge on the nose, chromed hubcaps, and a style very similar to the T2 Samba. Bench seats and the iPad centre console provide minimalist yet practical cabin design. Will Volkswagen build it? The company says that the Bulli could arrive in 2013.

Golf R concepts
Finally, Volkswagen R GmbH is displaying four new concept versions of the high-performance Golf R at Geneva. The names of the Golf Rs ‘Oryx White’ and ‘Carbon Steel Grey’ refer to the names of the paints used on the first two R concepts. Both feature interiors trimmed in two-tone leather that matches the cars’ exteriors and brushed aluminium inserts. The ‘Space Grey’ Golf R has carbon accents, orange brake calipers and carbon mirror housings. Contrasting leather-trimmed motorsport shell seats grace the interior (with orange piping) and carbon replaces the brushed aluminium accents. The Golf R ‘Aplomb Blue’ meanwhile features 19-inch ‘Glendale’ alloys in silver (all other concept versions have 19” ‘Talledega’ rims), while as with the Golf R ‘Space Grey’, the interior is dotted with carbon inserts.

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