Was it a coupe? Dune buggy? Cabrio? Crossover? All of the above.
Name: Volkswagen Concept T
Debuted: 2004 North American International Auto Show
Specs: V6 engine with 241 horsepower, all-wheel drive, automatic transmission, 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) in 6.9 seconds, 144 mph (230 kph) electronically limited top speed
Why We Remember It Now:
With automakers nowadays combining all sorts of body styles to create new niches, the Concept T deserves its 15 minutes of fame thanks to its unconventional configuration.
With two wing doors, a removable hardtop, and only two seats, this isn’t your ordinary crossover. In fact, VW called it an “off-road coupe” more than 13 years ago when the concept made its debut in Detroit. It also had extremely short overhangs and a detachable rear section granting access to the spare wheel. The generous suspension travel and massive ground clearance gave it true off-road capabilities — also enhanced by the company’s proprietary 4Motion setup.
Featuring an unusual body, the Concept T had an almost flat roofline and side mirrors mounted up high on the A-pillars. The absence of conventional wheel arches further demonstrated its off-road prowess by revealing a good chunk of the showcar’s suspension bits and bobs. Both headlights and taillights look high-tech even by today’s standards, and if you’ll look closely, the circular exhaust tips are actually integrated in the rear lights.
VW envisioned the 2004 Concept T with a beefy V6 engine developing 241 horsepower (177 kilowatts) channeled to both axles through a Tiptronic automatic gearbox. The hardware arrangement granted the peculiar vehicle with a 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) run in a more than decent 6.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 144 mph (230 kph), which was actually electronically governed.
The folks from Wolfsburg said back in the day the Concept T would pave the way for a new segment, but unfortunately it never evolved to become a production car. The idea of a racy crossover with off-road chops was rehashed by VW’s posh brand Audi through Italdesign about four years ago with the Parcour pictured above, a Gallardo-powered concept on stilts.
Unfortunately, the 550-hp showcar riding on massive 22-inch alloy wheels had the same faith as it never materialized as a road-going model. Not only that, but the concept was actually crashed later the same year during the Goodwood Festival of Speed.