Volkswagen Corrado – VW’s Forgotten Sports Coupe
The Volkswagen Corrado represented VW’s attempt to add a true sports car to its model range alongside more traditional economy-focused models. Sold from 1988 to 1995 initially just in Europe, the swoopy Corrado brought coupe style and lively performance unseen in VWs since the Scirocco. Under the sleek skin lay a clever powertrain lineup, four-wheel independent suspension and upscale interior trimmings setting it apart from VW’s familiar practical cars. The Corrado aimed at affordable enjoyment over outright power, complementing VW’s core brand values.
Styling Stands Out Among VW Stables
Long and low with a tapering hatchback tail, the Corrado looked decidedly sleeker than VW’s core boxy models. Pop-up headlights and integrated rear spoiler added flair. Aerodynamic focus yielded a low 0.32 drag coefficient to enable performance. The cockpit provided a wraparound instrument panel and well-bolstered sport seats. While unmistakably VW inside, the Corrado’s looks aligned it with contemporary affordable sports coupes rather than econo-hatches. The styling supported its driver-focused mission.
Volkswagen Corrado Lively Powertrain Choices
Three featherweight engine options focused on response over brute force. The base 1.8-liter 16-valve inline-4 made 139hp to reach 60mph in under 9 seconds – respectable for the era. Moving up, the supercharged 1.8-liter G60 produced 160hp for more urgent acceleration. Top-line VR6 models packed a novel narrow-angle 2.9-liter V6 with 188hp onboard, making 60mph in under 7 seconds possible. This powertrain variety gave the Corrado wide appeal from economical all the way to stirring.
Nimble Reflexes and Balance
The Corrado emphasized nimble dynamics over raw speed. Four-wheel independent suspension, front stabilizer bars and precise power steering enabled it to carve corners with poise bellying its modest power. The base engine’s light weight contributed to a perfect 50:50 front/rear balance ideal for handling. While no track weapon, the Corrado delivered smiles through agile reflexes rather than brute force. It focused squarely on affordable fun for the twisty backroads.
Upscale Appointments Throughout
VW sought to elevate the Corrado’s interior quality to align with its sporting mission. Front and rear headrests, armrests, and subtle chrome trim provided a step up from VW economy cars. Leather seating surfaces added available luxury, complemented by a leather-wrapped shift knob and thick four-spoke steering wheel. Thoughtful details like height-adjustable seatbelts and a front center armrest console set a more premium ambiance. The Corrado provided a hint of Audi-grade refinement.
A Performance Halo for Volkswagen Corrado
The Corrado sold moderately well but failed to reach sales projections, ceasing production in 1995 after just 97,000 units. However, it brought valued excitement to VW’s lineup, showcasing the brand’s capabilities beyond just sensible transportation. The VR6 engine technology it pioneered continues in VWs today. For a brief shining moment, the Corrado echoed VW’s sporty tradition of the Scirocco to provide a German alternative to Japanese front-drive sport coupes.