Volkswagen will be showcasing a new design study at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, called the concept C. Following the recent concept R roadster and concept T SUV prototypes, this latest model demonstrates another new possibility for the Volkswagen brand, in a market where it is not currently represented.
The concept C is effectively two vehicles in one, indicated by the ‘C’ which stands for both ‘coupé’ and ‘cabriolet’. However, uniquely in this sector, this study features a sliding glass sunroof in addition to an electro-hydraulic folding steel roof, enabling its occupants to enjoy the feeling of an open-air car in all weathers.
In terms of length, the four-seater concept C fits in between the Golf and Passat, yet is wider than both of these models. This extra width gives the vehicle a squat, purposeful appearance, much like a larger sports car, and also contributes to stability and dynamic handling qualities.
The concept C takes styling cues from both the concept R and concept T, such as distinctive quadrilateral headlamps with rounded base sections, a deep arrow-shaped grille (in this case, made from aluminium), and sleek rear lights. The slight slant of the bonnet over the headlamps, creating an impression of ‘eyebrows’, is also a common feature of the three concepts, and was first seen on Volkswagen’s flagship luxury saloon, the Phaeton.
The interior is both luxurious and ergonomic, with aluminium and wood complementing the cream-coloured upholstery. Boot space is generous, with 200 litres available with the roof down, increasing to 400 litres when in coupé mode.
Unlike many convertibles of this type already on the market, the concept C’s A-pillars do not extend obtrusively into the interior – chiefly because it is not based on the cab-forward design of a modern hatchback.
Volkswagen has a long history of creating successful convertibles – both the original Beetle Cabriolet and the Golf Cabriolet are among the best-selling open-top vehicles in the world to date. The most recent, the New Beetle Cabriolet, has not only exceeded sales expectations since going on sale last April, but has scooped What Car? magazine’s Best Convertible award for two years in a row.
A decision on whether the concept C will go into production or not is yet to be taken.Published 7 March 2004