Volkswagen Concept C

At the 74th Geneva Automobile Salon, Volkswagen will be showcasing its new (semi-series-mature) cabriolet, the concept C design study. (C stands for cabriolet and coupé.) The vehicle features a new generation of fold-away steel roof, which transforms this four-seat Volkswagen from a coupé to a cabriolet in a matter of only seconds. Or vice-versa, of course. In a stroke of engineering genius, the roof also features an integrated glass sunroof. This exciting new automobile provides a view on things to come, on how a new Volkswagen cabriolet in the next-higher vehicle class to the successful New Beetle Cabriolet could ultimately look. And performance? The concept C is driven by a 110-kW / 150-hp FSI engine.

Taking a whole new approach. What makes this automobile so distinctive is its design, the base technology used and its dimensions. The progressive look of the concept C, with its "Pure Essence” metallic finish, takes the fascinating form first used on the concept R roadster design study, with all deviating contours having been subjected to intriguingly new design ideas. The same is true of the technology used: the concept C features an array of newly developed components.

These components enable a new interplay of vehicle dimensions. The concept C has moved away from the class of cabriolet found in the A segment. Positioned in the mid-class segment, it is as much a cabriolet as it is a coupé. This automobile looks wider than any other cabriolet in the A or B segment - and it is. Because of its extreme width of 1.81 metres (1.43 m high / 4.41 m long), the concept C rests as sturdily upon its wheels as would a beefy, high-calibre sports car. A tread width of the axles is designed to accommodate future vehicle generations and helps to produce exceptional agility and reliable handling properties in the concept C. The result is pure driving pleasure - be it with the roof up or down.

The interior of this fully-fledged four seater. The vehicle's dual-tone interior offers similarly attractive dimensions and details. The upper sections of the compartment (dashboard, spandrel and the instrument panel) are a rich green (known as "Deep Storm”), with a lighter beige tone ("On Shore”) used for the seats, the upholstery and all the interior elements situated below the window rails. The inner section of the seats themselves have been given a particularly stylish touch through the contrasting stripes that run across them. Timber applications on the side panels produce an exceptionally luxurious look. The upper sections of the door panels take on the styled curve of the dashboard. And the newly developed cockpit, with its instruments set in brushed aluminium frames, ideally interprets the sporty character of the concept C. This high-quality material is also used in the design of the air outlets.

The cabriolet-coupé design study was devised as a fully-fledged four-seat vehicle, which is why it features easy-entry rear seats as well as a comfortable and ergonomic seat design for rear-compartment passengers. It goes without saying that the newly developed interior of this car features four airbags and a roll-over safety system.

Attractive market segments. With all these properties (both cabriolet- and coupe-like), with its unconventional dimensions and its claim to excellence in terms of technology and quality, a hypothetical series version of the concept C would find itself positioned in a very exciting market. In western Europe, for example, some 337,000 new cabriolets and roadsters were sold in 2003 (across all vehicle classes). The concept C is a cabriolet! Likewise in 2003, close to 240,000 coupés were sold. The concept C is a coupe! There is a good chance that these 580,000 or so cabriolet and coupé owners will eventually have a new alternative to choose from, i.e. a Volkswagen which is as visually appealing as it is technologically revolutionary, a car with more room and comfort than the derivates of the A class, yet more athletic and versatile than many of its competitors in the B segment. For, to date, the B segment has not produced a four-seat cabriolet which, like the concept C, has both a folding steel roof as well as a glass sunroof. These are comfort features normally only offered in a coupé.

Source: Volkswagen press

Gallery: Volkswagen Concept C