Consumer motoring magazines say Volkswagen’s Mark Five Golf-based mid-engined roadster prototype, named Concept R, which will be shown at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show, hints at a 167mph Boxster-bashing coupe already given the go-ahead for a 2006 launch – at half the Porsche’s price.


Power for the roadster comes from a 265 PS V6 mid-engine which takes the car from 0 to 62 mph in 5.3 seconds, and on to a limited top speed of 155 mph. Without the governor, top speed would be 167 mph. Peak torque of 258 lbs ft at 2800 rpm is transferred to the road via a six speed direct selection paddle-shift gearbox and rear wheel drive.


The Concept R’s design team, led by Murat Günak and Peter Schreyer, broke new ground for the Volkswagen brand in developing the roadster, demonstrating how a sports car packed with aesthetics and emotion could look in the future. At 4.16 metres long, 1.78 m wide and 1.25 m high, the two-seater is around the same length and width as the Golf hatchback.


There are many interesting design features of the Concept R – for example, when the driver turns on the ignition, the Volkswagen logo, which is generated digitally by a display, begins to pulsate in the so-called OLED screen. When the ignition is activated the pulse stops.


Another highly unusual feature is that the Concept R’s bucket seats do not adjust in any way. Instead, to find the correct position, the driver moves the polished metal information block of the instrument panel, including the steering wheel and pedal cluster back or forth – they are activated electrically.


For the first time in a sports car, leather-covered active foam is used which adapts to the body shape of the driver and passenger. The hardness of the springs in the seats can be adjusted according to whether a harder or softer ride is desired.