Green manual

Funny how just days after posting my musing about the feasibility of a hybrid equipped with a manual transmission, I see a Wired article reporting on green performance cars. Included is a car coming from Honda in 2011. This isn’t a concept vehicle. Honda says it is coming as a production vehicle.

Wired says:

Honda says we’ll see the gas-electric two-seater — which beautifully updates the awesome CRX — in 2011. Word is it’ll have a 140-horsepower motor mated to the IMA system found in the Insight and — importantly — a manual transmission. With a curb weight in the vicinity of 2,800 pounds coupled with a torquey electric motor and one of Honda’s high-revving fours, how could it not be fun?

And what would a car story be without a picture?

20090402_honda_crz

Even more interesting is the Volkswagen Concept BlueSport Roadster, though as the name indicates, it’s only a concept at this point:

We’re eager to see VW build the 42-mpg Concept BlueSport Roadster it brought to the Detroit auto show. It’s got an aluminum body, six-speed paddle-shifted DSG transmission and the 2.0-liter turbodiesel you find under the hood of the Jetta TDI. Zero to sixty comes in 6.2 seconds and VW says the car is good for 140 mph.

The BlueSport Roadster was a highlight of the show, and VW hinted it could see production in 2011. Unfortunately VW has a habit of teasing us with sweet concepts that never see the light of day, but it should build this one. The concept was assembled with off-the-shelf parts, so development costs would be low, and the car could provide a platform for entry-level models from from corporate siblings Audi and Porsche (914 redux, anyone?).

The turbodiesel currently at home in the Jetta TDI produces 140 horsepower and 235 lb/ft of torque, and the torque peaks from 1750 to 2500 RPM. The BlueSport would be a joy to drive. Ain’t it pretty?

20090402_vw_bluesport

I prefer the VW styling over the Honda, and I like the diesel, but I’m not at all interested in the paddle-shifted DSG, thanks. I know a clutchless manual is faster, but I want three pedals in the floor, please.

But having said all of that, I’d still prefer a sedan. I don’t even want to limit myself to only two doors, much less two seats.


Photos courtesy Honda and VW, both via Wired.

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