DETROIT – A new concept roadster unveiled here could be on the market “in a couple of years or so” if it gets the green light from management, Volkswagen AG insiders say.

The car, dubbed Bluesport, is a small open-top 2-seater, similar in concept to the Audi TT convertible, but with a heavier accent on fuel economy to go along with performance.

Power for the small car comes from a 177-hp 4-cyl. clean diesel positioned midship that is mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Driving the car’s rear wheels, the powertrain is said to deliver fuel economy of 55 mph (4.3 L/100 km).

Micro-hybrid-type technology that includes start/stop and energy-regeneration systems boosts fuel economy another 5%, if the driver opts for the “Eco” setting, VW says.

Such technology is expected to proliferate throughout the Volkswagen Group lineup in coming years, powertrain chief Wolfgang Hatz tells Ward’s in an interview on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show.

The Bluesport uses parts from VW’s current Golf model, but also employs components from the next-generation modular architecture that is expected to debut with the new Golf small car. That remains a few years off, as VW unleashed an updated Golf in 2008.

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn says the Bluesport is just a show car “we’ll test with customers.” But, he adds, “I’m sure it has a good chance to enter into series production.”

If the car does get the nod from VW management, the auto maker will go it alone, rather than rely on independent assemblers, such as frequent partner Karman GmbH, for production, Winterkorn says.

VW of America Inc. President and CEO Stefan Jacoby doesn’t believe the Bluesport infringes on territory occupied by the Audi TT.

“I don’t think we’re competing with Audi,” he says. “We think we’re well separated in products and presentation.”

The Bluesport, which measures 157.1 ins. (399.0 cm) in overall length, can hit 62 mph (100 km) from a standstill in 6.6 seconds, VW says. It has a top speed of 140 mph (226 km/h).

dzoia@wardsauto.com