Iroc Available by Fall 2008

By: Correy Putton

The world's fourth largest car producer after GM, Toyota and Ford, Volkswagen will make its 2009 Scirocco available by Fall 2008.
The Iroc, shorter name for Scirocco, concept gives a strong hint about the direction of the upcoming Scirocco -- even taking its moniker from the middle four letters of the production model's name.

Wrapped in an arresting three-door hatchback body, the Iroc portends a wave of new high-volume models. Volkswagen is banking on the new models to haul it back to financial health after its costly move into the luxury ranks with cars like the Touareg and the Phaeton.

Created in-house under the direction of Volkswagen's chief designer, Murat Gunak, the Iroc eschews the retro route previously traveled by VW with its New Beetle and stillborn Microbus concept. Instead, the Iroc's design relies on contemporary styling that's said to provide solid hints about other future Volkswagen models. Central to the exterior appearance is a gaping single-frame grille finished in brushed aluminum, giving the new car plenty of presence and a certain Audi-esque allure. Further refinement will be carried out, but the proportions are said to mirror those of the production car.

The Iroc is 166.9 inches in length, 70.8 inches in width and 55.1 inches in height, similar to the dimensions of the Golf. The concept also sits on a long 104.6-inch wheelbase, offering seating for four adults and about 10.6 cubic feet of luggage space. Inside, Volkswagen serves up a dramatic-looking cabin with styling links to the Concept A unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show back in February.

The dashboard, more minimalist than people used to seeing from Volkswagen, displays a combination of plastic and brushed aluminum, with the air vents mimicking the shape of the new coupe's arresting grille. A thick-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel, with shift paddles for the DSG gearbox, has a highly technical look that is shared by the instrument panel and switchgear.

Underpinning the Iroc is a lightly modified version of Volkswagen's PQ35 front-wheel-drive platform as used in the Golf and a whole range of models from Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen. As expected there are the excellent : suspension is via MacPherson struts up front and multilinks at the rear, with the Iroc hunkered low over 235/35 rubber on towering 19-inch alloy wheels. The steering relies on electrohydraulic assistance. Volkswagen isn't giving too much away about the Iroc's four-cylinder engine, except to say the supercharged and turbocharged direct-injection Twincharger unit produces 210 hp. Sources suggest to Inside Line that it is the same 1.4-liter unit that powers the Golf GT, with added boost pressure to increase power by 40 hp. With a projected curb weight of about 1350 kg, or just less than 3000 pounds, 0-60-mph acceleration should be around 7 seconds, with top speed likely to hit 150 mph.

Other engines under discussion for production versions of the new coupe include a 240-hp version of the Golf GTi's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, along with the new 280-hp 3.6-liter V6 found in the North American market's top-end Passat -- the latter in combination with Volkswagen's 4Motion four-wheel-drive system.

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