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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 1, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    Geneva motor show live: VW’s big plans

    Michael McAleer

    Volkswagen are now established as the powerhouse of the European motor industry, boasting a portfolio of brands under its ownership that stretches from Bugatti to Skoda with potentially more to come.

    But at the heart of the action remains the eponymous brand and it isn’t hiding behind the more luxurious brands in terms of challenging for a showstopper at Geneva’s auto show. One of the most fetching concepts on display is the new Bulli, based on the legendary minivan from the 1960s that became synonymous with free love and the faint whiff of a certain type of handrolled cigarette.  

    VW's new Bulli concept

    The Bulli concept may seem like a rather boxy minivan but with its big badge up front and smartly styled wheel rims that imitate white wall tyres, it offers a surprisingly spacious, airy cabin capable of carrying six. It will hopefully herald the arrival of a production car in the not too distant future.

    The Bulli's new interior boasts a host of connectivity features

    Aside from its various engineering and design traits, the Bulli is simply cute. In keeping with the eco-principles of the 1960s owners, the new Bulli is powered by an electric motor with a promised range of 300km on a single charge.

    VW Bulli concept can seat six, with three up front.

    Those figures, of course, cannot be substantiated as the car is a concept. VW claims at fast-charging points, the recharging process takes less than one hour. It also claims a 0 to 100 km/h in 11.5 seconds, and its top speed is 140 km/h (electronically limited).

    New VW Golf cabriolet: soft-top roof folds away in 9.5 seconds

    Of more immediate interest is the introduction of a new Golf Cabriolet, the soft top variant most popular in the coastal states of the US. The Golf’s soft top opens in just 9.5 seconds and can be opened while driving at speeds of up to 30 km/h. Even with the roof stowed away, the bootspace on offer is still a reasonable 250 litres.

    The firm has also introduced a new Tiguan to the range, a small SUV that hasn’t set the Irish market alight in the face of stiff competition from the likes of the Nissan Qashqai. The new model boasts a revised front nose design and significant upgrades to all its interior switchgear and features.

    Finally, a new Passat Blue­Motion variant has been unveiled, powered by a 1.6-litre turbodiesel (TDI) engine with 105bhp and fuel consumption in saloon format of 4.2 l/100 km. Emissions levels for the new powertrain is expected to be below 110g/km, putting it firmly in tax Band A in Ireland, with a motor tax charge of just €104 a year.

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