понедельник, 12 марта 2012 г.

Blue-sky thinking

Forty-five miles per gallon is nothing special by the standardsof modern eco-cars but if you could achieve it in a good-sizedfolding hard-top convertible that felt solidly built and reasonablynippy to drive, would you be interested? Volkswagen hopes you willbecause it's put together just such a combination in the guise ofits Eos BlueMotion Technology.

If the environmentally-friendly car is the hair shirt of theautomotive world, the convertible is a pair of high fashion designersunglasses.

Any style expert worthy of their daytime TV series would adviseagainst combining the two but Volkswagen paid no heed and juststeamed off down the catwalk with the Eos BlueMotion Technology.

The combination brings VW's mid-sized folding hard-topconvertible, a car that shares components with both the Golf and thePassat, together with the marque's popular BlueMotion eco-brand.

BlueMotion-badged vehicles are commonplace throughout theVolkswagen range and usually feature an economical engine along witha series of modifications designed to enhance its efficiency. TheEos version is no exception.

The Eos differs from other BlueMotion Volkswagens in two ways.Firstly, it's a convertible and secondly it's powered by a petrolengine. Diesel is usually the preferred choice for anyone wanting toachieve the lowest possible fuel consumption and emissions butdespite a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine being available in the widerEos range, the BlueMotion Technology runs on petrol. Not just anypetrol engine though.

Power is supplied by a 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged unit with120bhp and, thanks partly to the turbo assistance, 200Nm of torque.The engine is widely used in VW Group products and manages toextract decent performance and economy from its comparatively smallcapacity. In the Eos BlueMotion Technology, it can cover the 0-60mph sprint in 10.9s and hit a 121mph top speed.

There's a distinction to make with Volkswagen's BlueMotion range.The manufacturer offers both heavily modified BlueMotion models andless extreme eco-cars that it dubs BlueMotion Technology.

This Eos falls into the latter category and can be ordered in achoice of S and SE trim levels at prices less than Pounds 400 morethan standard 1.4-litre models. With the S, there's ESP stabilitycontrol, air-conditioning, front fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheelsand a sunroof cleverly integrated into the folding hardtop roof.

The SE adds 17-inch alloys, sports seats, parking sensors,automatic headlights and automatic wipers for a premium of Pounds1,100.

In the Eos BlueMotion Technology, the 1.4 TSI petrol engine ismated to a six-speed gearbox and features both regenerative brakingtechnology which recaptures kinetic energy to charge the battery anda start/stop system that turns off the engine when the vehicle isstationary.

There's also a gear change recommendation that flashes up ion thedash telling you the most efficient gear to be in.

The result of all this is combined cycle economy of 45.6mpg andemissions of 144g/km. It's still not enough to better the non-BlueMotion diesel Eos (which gives you another 6mpg on the combinedcycle) but that engine can be a little raucous for a convertible andit's more expensive.

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