First Sight: Volkswagen Iroc conceptMon, 28 Aug 2006 00:00:00 -0700
The Iroc is a show car preview of a production coupe to be launched next year that will fill a gap in the Volkswagen model line up left by the demise of the Corrado 11 years ago. Volkswagen describe the Iroc as "transferring the globally successful Scirocco idea into the future" - the Scirocco Mk1 by Giugiaro being produced from 1974-1982, the Mk2 from 1982-1992. Like the Scirocco, the Iroc is a front wheel drive coupe with four seats - as opposed to the 2+2 seating arrangement of the only other sports coupe from Volkswagen Group: the Audi TT.
The Iroc is 4240mm long, 1400mm high, 1800mm wide and has a wheelbase of 2680mm - 50mm taller, narrower and longer than the TT, and 40mm longer and wider than the Golf and 80mm lower - so almost exactly half way between Golf and TT dimensionally. Based on the Golf 5 platform (as is the TT) the Iroc uses the 'twin charger' (turbo and super charged) engine from the recently launched Golf GT - a 1.4 litre four cylinder engine that produces 210bhp in the Iroc that powers the front wheels through the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) also used in the Golf and TT.
The most significant aspect of the Iroc's design is the introduction of a new Volkswagen grille type - a dominant, deep section hexagonal shaped design in brushed aluminium. This has been developed not as the new corporate face of Volkswagen to be used across the model line up, but as a new type of grille for use on sports orientated Volkswagen cars. It is the first instance of Volkswagen's new strategy to have different types of facial identity for different types of Volkswagen product - expect to see next a new type of face on the forthcoming large Volkswagen sedan that will sit between the Passat and Phaeton in the range.
The design is otherwise most notable for its near 'shooting brake' profile with an upright rear window which makes it more of a sports estate than coupe. Interestingly such a vehicle type was previewed by the Audi Shooting Brake a year ago at the Tokyo Motor Show, and has since been seen in the Renault Altica show car from Geneva (see Review story below).
The exterior otherwise owes a lot to the current Golf, whilst the interior has more show car bespoke elements, not least the 'Viper Green' neoprene, leather with reptile skin embossing and aluminium detailing.
Volkswagen Group have a broad proliferation of models across its mass market brands of Skoda, Seat, Volkswagen and Audi, but relatively few niche products - it has no small SUV, only one sports coupe (the TT), no proper sports car and was late to market with the Volkswagen Touran mini MPV. The Iroc suggests that Volkswagen now see the value of a sporty image leading product for the brand, and a car that might recapture the allure of the original seventies Scirroco. The car also innovates with its grille as part of a new corporate strategy on the brand's facial identity and with its practical shooting brake rear.
Volkswagen Concept A - Geneva 2006
First Sight: Audi TT
Audi Shooting Brake - Tokyo 2005
Design Review: Renault Altica
By Sam Livingstone