Ride and handling
Volkswagen is assessing several suspension setups. The one we drove is apparently being driven by engineering boss Dr Ulrich Hackenberg (indeed, this is his car). It's a decent start but isn't quite sporty enough. Volkswagen needs to do more for this to be a genuine hot hatch microcar.
Encouragingly, the suspension is slightly stiffer, giving better body control, and it's a very confident car to fling about. Steering is clean, composure is fuss-free and overall confidence levels are high. The short nose gives an impression of mass-free turn in too, and the driver draws lots of satisfaction from the car's lithe front end.
However, body roll needs to be cut, the rear end needs to be stiffer for genuine dart-about agility and the steering needs more firmness. Frankly, the base car is so well sorted, it can handle a more sporting makeover than this. If it looks as sharp as the concept style suggests, this middle-ground setup will be a letdown.
The test car ran on weedy 15-inch wheels: Volkswagen is still working on the technicalities behind fitting 17-inch wheels. It is a tight fit, we were told, but the engineers are hopeful. They are also weighing up whether rear disc brakes are necessary. Currently drum brakes are fitted, which are 'borderline' during hard, high-temperature use.