VW has revealed a new nichemobile: the NMC, or New Midsize Coupe. Unveiled at the Beijing motor show, it’s a close-to-production concept car that takes VW into new territory: the C-segment four-door coupe class. Target? Mercedes CLA, and the mooted forthcoming BMW 2-series Gran Coupe.
Is this just the new VW CC?
No – the CC is a four-door coupe take on the Passat. The NMC, meanwhile, is a class below, applying the swoopy coupe idea to the Golf-based Jetta saloon – you guessed it, this is another spin-off using VW’s modular MQB architecture. This makes it a cut-price version of the Audi A3 saloon, but with more design flair than the drab Jetta. Despite being shorter in length and lower than the lacklustre Jetta, the NMC can still seat five occupants and boasts a 500-litre boot, according to VW.
Look out Mercedes CLA, then?
Indeed. Though the NMC doesn’t look as outlandish as the angry-faced, short-tailed CLA, it’s arguably a more handsome overall design, thanks to designer Klaus Bischoff’s clean-cut lines along the flanks and sharply-edged light clusters.
The wide-chinned front bumper reminds of the R-design bodykit worn by high-spec versions of the new Touareg and Golf – it points to VW offering a hot version of the NMC to fight the Mercedes CLA45 AMG. The concept car’s stance is pumped up by enormous 20in alloy wheels.
The NMC concept takes its powertrain from the VW Golf GTI – the non Performance Pack version, that is. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, generating 217bhp. A dual-clutch gearbox sends drive to the front wheels only (no 4Motion all-wheel drive here), allowing a claimed 6.5sec 0-62mph time and a top speed of 152mph.
The NMC and A3 aren’t the only saloons spun off the MQB underpinnings. Skoda’s upcoming five-door coupe, previewed recently by the Vision C concept, is also set to be based upon this do-it-all architecture, like the current Octavia.
When will the NMC be available?
You won’t see the NMC until at least 2015, with pricing expected to be below the new MQB-based Passat, which should start at around £20,000.