Skip to main content

For years Volkswagen has teased building a sports car slotted just a notch above or below a Porsche Cayman. It never happened. But with EV platforms reducing new car development costs, it is back at it. And with the power and torque EVs are capable of, a VW EV sports car fits in nicely with what a sports car should be. 

Why is VW teasing a sports car now?

VW XL Sport
VW XL Sport hybrid sports car | VW

VW just teased more in a press release about its EV intentions. The automaker is taking pulse inverters and thermal management systems in-house. A pulse inverter converts battery current into a multi-phase current using all of its energy. 

Thermal management systems control all of the vehicle’s climate controls including the battery. Both the inverters and TMS will be modular, according to Electrive. So they can control everything from an ID.2 to a high-performance sports car. These are expected in the next generation of VW’s MEB electric platform, internally called MEB Evo.

VW has a history of sports car concepts

VW XL Sport
VW XL Sport hybrid sports car | VW

The thing is that in the press release, VW distinctly offers that this technology could power a sports car with over 500 kW of power, or 680 hp. That bumps into Porsche Taycan Turbo territory. While we doubt VW would step on Porsche’s segments, it suggests that a very capable sports car could be in the works. 

While a project like this won’t take priority, it does help to justify the modularity of its MEB platform. It can also help burnish the brand. After all, every brand needs a halo car.

This isn’t the first time VW has explored a sports car. In the 1970s it co-produced what became the Porsche 914. But in Europe, it was the VW Porsche 914. Its ultimate version was the 914-6 with a Porsche T flat-six engine.

What is the W12 Nardo mid-engine VW?

W12 Nardo concept
W12 Nardo mid-engine sports car concept | VW

More recently, in 1997 it revealed the W12 Nardo mid-engine sports car concept. A Syncro coupe and W12 Roadster debuted, both powered by a 12-cylinder engine, but built in a W configuration. The ultimate version of this series of concepts is the W12 Nardo arriving in 2001. 

Thirteen years later, VW came back with another sports car concept called the XL Sport. This time it featured a plug-in with a Passat GTE diesel hybrid engine combined with a V2 Ducati engine. Volkswagen Group owns Ducati. In the rear was a Ducati 1199 Superleggera hung to a seven-speed DSG transmission. Zero to 100 km/h took 5.7 seconds. The Ducati engines used titanium and magnesium components to keep the weight down. 

Does VW need a sports car?

VW XL Sport
VW XL Sport hybrid sports car | VW
Related

VW Considering EV Sports Car To Combat New Tesla Roadster

So, while it seems a serious-enough undertaking to produce these sports car concepts over the years, the expectation was to see something similar with a more conventional drivetrain. In this era of tight budgets and growing EV competition, an entry-level sports car could be just what the automaker needs to shine some light on its technology, and the company itself.

The first all-electric sports car springing from the Volkswagen Group is the Porsche 718 Cayman replacement. It is set to debut in 2025 at the earliest.