VW goes all funky with reborn Microbus 01 | 03 | 2011

    VOLKSWAGEN IS DOING everything it can to return us to the hippy days of the Sixties by introducing the second generation of its reborn Microbus concept. And the concept is clearly intended to give us a strong hint that the classic small people-carrier could well be destined for production.

    The Bulli carries the name given to the original 1950s Transporter 1 in several markets, including Germany and it follows on from the 2001 concept which came out of VW’s Californian studio. This version though has been styled by the VW Group’s design chief, Walter de’Silva, and VW brand design chief Klaus Bischoff.

    At 3.99 metres long, 1.75 metres wide and 1.7 metres tall, the six-seat concept is powered by an 85kW electric motor, fuelled by a 40kWh lithium-ion battery that gives a range of up to 300km. Capable of reaching 62mph in 11.5sec and an electronically limited top speed of 87mph, the Bulli's layout would also easily suit 1.0 and 1.4-litre petrol and turbodiesel motors.

    Inside the cabin, it's what you would expect; groovy, funky and cleverly practical. There's a removable iPad as a centre console, a stereo developed with Fender to make all music sounds as though it is being performed live, easy reclining seats to create a compact camper, plus a stowable rear bench seat that can increase cargo capacity to 1600 litres.

    Officials on the VW stand would only say the car “has the potential to establish a new, fifth brand of people carrier next to the Caddy, Touran, Sharan and Caravelle”.

    Unofficially? Well it was indicated the car — based on a longer version of Volkswagen’s Golf platform which is destined for the next generation Touran — already has the green light for production. We can't wait.

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    Jim McGill

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