Pictures on this page of the Volkswagen Polo SUV (above) and the Mazda MPS hatchback and BMW M2 coupe (further down) are computer-generated images based on spy shots taken by Automedia’s photographers.
How true to life they are won’t be known until the cars themselves are officially revealed. But the Automedia designers who pen the images have a history of being uncannily accurate.
The five-door Polo SUV doesn’t yet have an official name, but expect it to carry a moniker that has something to do with natural weather patterns. That’s what VW has done for years.
Polo itself has more to do with polar winds than horses or water. Passat is German for trade winds; Jetta is linked to the jet stream, the fast-flowing air currents above the Earth. Golf, too, has more to do with the Gulf Stream ocean current than the game.
The VW nameplate Bora comes from the winter wind that gusts around the Adriatic; similarly, the Sirocco wind blows dust from North African deserts across the Mediterranean Sea and into southern Europe.
Touareg is named after a nomadic tribe in the Sahara Desert. Tiguan is said to be a mix of tiger and iguana, two creatures known for their sharp eyesight. At one point in the development of the Tiguan, VW was said to be considering the name Beduin, a variation of bedouin and the Touareg people.
Eos, VW’s tin-top convertible, is named after a woman, the mythical Greek goddess of the dawn. The ancient Romans called her Aurora. She had two sisters, Helios (Sun) and Selene (Moon). When Helios woke up Eos would become Hemera (Day) and accompany Helios on her travels until Selene appeared in the night sky.
Then Hemera would go back to being Eos again until dawn’s early light, when she would wake and weep buckets mourning a son who was killed. Her tears, so the story goes, are the morning dew.
Anyway, perhaps VW saw its tin-top Eos as two things: a convertible and a coupe. Just as the mythical Eos was both the dawn and the day. One thing that is clear in all of this is that VW has made no secret of the Polo SUV it previewed as the three-door T–ROC concept at last year’s Geneva motor show.
Dr Heinz-Jakob Neuser, board member for VW technical development, has said: “In the future we will have a minimum of one SUV in each segment.”
Like the Polo hatchback, the small SUV will be based on the carmaker’s flexible MQB architecture and use the VW Group’s small capacity engines. It is almost certain to be front-drive only to rival models like the Nissan Juke. Other rivals, like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 will offer all-wheel-drive options.
Mazda, so the stories go in Europe, is quietly working on a new Mazda3 MPS from its in-house performance division. Mazda itself is saying nothing, but word is it wants a flyer to challenge Ford’s upcoming Focus RS and the established VW Golf R, both all-wheel-drive models. The front-drive Renault Sport Megane is also in Mazda’s sights.
The previous MPS was a front-driver, powered by a boosted 2.3-litre engine delivering around 195kW. But talk is Mazda will use all-wheel-drive in the new model to better benchmark it against the Ford and VW.
Power is expected to come from a turbocharged version of the 2.5-litre Skyactiv four-cyclinder petrol engine already in the Mazda3. Expect it to be boosted to deliver around 235kW – that’s what Ford says the 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine in the Focus RS will generate.
The BMW M2 will be the company’s entry-level ‘M’ car, although it has still officially to confirm that. Under the bonnet of the two-door is a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine tuned to deliver around 280kW/500Nm. It’s not a detuned version of the engine in the M3 sedan and M4 coupe but a new development altogether.
Compared with the standard BMW 2-Series, the M2 will come with wider hips and seriously wide wheels to match. Under those wheels, massive cross-drilled rotors hide while the boot lid gained a small lip for more downforce on the rear axle.
Up front, there’s a new design for the side air intakes in the works while at the back the quad tailpipes point to the car’s output. Gearboxes will be six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic channelling power to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential.
In theory, the M2 should be quicker than the M235i coupe. Its output of 280kW is 30kW more than the 1M coupe but 40kW less than the M3/M4.