The TDI Roadster We Will Never Get

In 2009, VW brought the Bluesport Roadster to the Detroit Auto Show with a spec sheet that checked many important boxes. To start, it had the perfect layout for a sports car with the engine in the middle and power running to the rear wheels. Then to make it efficient, VW’s 2.0 liter TDI engine and 6-speed DSG made up the power train in this sub 2,600lb roadster. This incredible sports car never saw the light of day, and after the recent diesel emissions scandal it never will.

The Bluesport roadster was a revelation for car enthusiasts, proving diesels could perform in sports cars, and shouldn’t be stuck in massive trucks or eco hatches. The Bluesport roadster’s low curb weight coupled with a the diesels big torque made this the perfect anti Miata. Power came from the now infamous 2.0 liter TDI engine, tuned to 180 horse power and 258 pound-feet of torque which, propelled the car to 60 in 6.2 seconds.  This fuel-efficient roadster promised to return almost 45 miles per gallon making it quick and frugal purchase for a fun to drive commuter car.

The beautifully designed Bluesport roadster was like a fuel-efficient discount Porsche Boxster. This car was targeted directly at Mazda Miata customers but offered a different driving experience which, allowed it to carve out its own section of the niche roadster market. With the hopes that the Bluesport roadster could be a halo car to TDI enthusiasts who didn’t have a scandal to deal with in 2009, it seemed like a no brainer.

When the concept was first released, the promise of a fuel-efficient back to basics roadster with VW’s incredible TDI engine was a sensible idea, but times have changed. Since the Bluesport roadster would require an extensive engineering effort to produce it was hard to justify the business case initially. However, in today’s more stable economy the affordable sports car market is growing and would have been perfect for this concept car. That was until the recent emission scandal which completely destroyed the TDI brand.

Today a car like this could never be built using a diesel engine after VW’s scandal completely changed our attitude toward diesels. When the concept was initially released it promised that sports cars could offer a fun drive experience while remaining efficient. This idea is still developing today just without a diesel engine.


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