VW’s Midsize Coupe Concept Is What the Jetta Should Be

Auto China 2014

The first thing you might notice about Volkswagen’s (VLKAY.PK) Midsize Coupe Concept, which was revealed at the Beijing Auto Show earlier this week, is that it’s not what many would consider a coupe; it is, by the stricter of definitions, a sedan. The second thing you may also notice is that the Coupe Concept would make a damned nice successor to the Jetta, one of Volkswagen’s most popular cars here in the U.S.

However, VW’s American operations have been in some distress of late, and the Jetta is at least in part to blame. While it’s not an ugly car, it’s certainly not very exciting to look at. It’s actually quite bland, really, and against competition like the Ford Fusion and the new Toyota Corolla, the Jetta hasn’t managed to excite people looking for a bolder approach to automotive design.

For the new concept, Volkswagen drew from the CC, an elegant sedan with a raked rear window that offers the appearance of a coupe, though it has four doors. Applied to a car like the Midsize, it looks quite good — though true to VW fashion, it’s still understated and clean, but not boring or bland.

Volkswagen recently issued updates for the Jetta, which include a couple of cosmetic tweaks here and there, but overall the efforts fell short of what some fans and observers were hoping for. Our advice, if VW was ever interested in hearing it, would be to shoe-horn this concept into the Jetta’s spot in the lineup ASAP — retain the turbo, TDI, and GLI nameplates, and watch sales head north.

Auto China 2014

It’s not that the Midsize Coupe Concept is flashy. Au contraire, it’s actually much simpler and less glitzy than many new cars these days (more so when you discount the usual conceptual embellishments that cars are treated to pre-production.) But that’s the appeal — it’s simple, understated, and almost elegant like the CC, and it’s been proven that that’s a winning formula for attracting large groups of people.

The concept possesses VW’s 1.8 liter turbo-four, which puts out a not insignificant 217 horsepower while apparently mustering about 37 miles per gallon. So where does it fall in terms or proportions? According to VW, the concept car is actually shorter than the Jetta, though it’s even wider than the larger Passat. “Midsize” seems like an appropriately ambiguous term for its class, then.

Volkswagen didn’t give any hints as to the production possibilities or availability of the concept, but we’re sincerely hoping it makes the cut — and reaches the U.S.