2011 Volkswagen Bulli

Apart from the Beetle , no other Volkswagen model can claim ’iconic’ status as the venerable Volkswagen "Type2 T1" Microbus . Back in its glory years, the Microbus was one of the most popular vehicles on the planet, used in more ways than anybody could have anticipated. Remember the 70’s and those ’Love Buses’? Yeah, those were the days, right?

It’s been a while since we last saw an iteration of the Microbus so you can imagine our surprise - and excitement - when Volkswagen unveiled the Bulli Concept at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Finally, the latest spiritual successor to the Microbus of yesteryear has arrived. Measuring 3.99 m in length, 1.75 m in width, and 1.70 m in height, the Bulli Concept is far from being green-lighted as a production vehicle, but now that a concept version has come out as a development model of the last Microbus concept that was unveiled back in 2001, it bodes well for those people that have been clamoring for a new Volkswagen Transporter to be released.

Whether we see one or not is all up to Volkswagen. But if we had a say on it, we’d be sending this vehicle to the production line in the blink of an eye.

UPDATE 08/15/11: It took a while, and it’s not set in stone yet, but if recent rumors are to be believed, it looks like the iconic Microbus will finally get its long awaited successor. Volkswagen hasn’t confirmed anything yet, but it appears that they’re seriously considering building a production version of the Bulli concept by 2014. We won’t draw any conclusions here, but at this point, we’d be very surprised if the Bulli doesn’t hit production anytime soon.

Details on the Volkswagen Bulli after the jump.

Exterior and Interior

Volkswagen Bulli

Harkening back to the days of the Samba, the Volkswagen Bulli comes with a similar two-tone paint job with the distinctive ‘V’ on the van’s bonnet. Likewise, the Bulli’s 18” alloy wheels were dressed with the same stylized chrome hubcaps as another apparent tribute to the old Samba bus.

Volkswagen Bulli

The interior of the Bulli is where things get a little more different, particularly because the new Bulli comes with a lot of new high-tech digs. Before getting to that, it must be noted that the Bulli’s interior comes with a 3+3 seating configuration with the three rear seats capable of being folded flat to maximize cargo space – or if you’re really feeling the 70’s vibe, you can turn all that space into your own mobile “good time spot”. If all six seats are occupied, the Bulli will still have an available load-space of 370 liters compared to the 1,600-liter load-space available with the seats folded.

Now for the fun stuff. The "center console" of the Bulli comes with a removable iPad, which serves as a multi-function touchscreen that comes with Internet-based applications, its own media center, as well as phone and navigation functions. Conspicuous by their absence are the tachometer, which we’ll explain later, and the gear lever. Taking the place of the lever is a rotary switch just to the right of the driver that’s used to select both forward and reverse gears. There’s also a push button found in the same switch that can be used to activate and switch off the motors. Finally, there’s another rotary switch found on the left side of the driver that controls every and all lighting functions of the Bulli.

Performance

Volkswagen Bulli

The Bulli is an electric vehicle, which explains the absence of the tachometer, and is powered by a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery that is joined by an 85 kW electric motor. With this powertrain, the Bulli is capable of producing 113 horsepower and 192 lb/ft of torque with a 0-62 mph time of 11.5 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 87 mph. Expected driving range for the Bulli is at 186 miles, which for all intents and purposes, is an impressive number for an electric car.

Pricing

Volkswagen Bulli

No word yet on pricing since the car is still a concept. And since it’s been a while since Volkswagen has released a spiritual successor to the VW buses of yesteryear, there’s no telling how much they’re going to price this one in the event that a production version is green-lighted. Nonetheless, we’re pegging a sticker price of somewhere around $24,000 - $33,000 based on what a Volkswagen Touran costs these days.

Competition

Volkswagen Bulli

Should the Volkswagen Bulli hit the production block, you can expect it to compete against something like the Fiat Nuovo Doblo . Depending on how you configure the seats of the Bulli, the Nuovo Doblo’s load-space capacity is either going to be smaller or bigger than the Volkswagen concept at 790-liter load space.

While the Bulli will carry its name as an electric vehicle, the Nuovo Doblo is all gasoline, with up to four different powertrain options, beginning with a 1.3-liter engine that produces 95 horsepower and three diesel Multijet engine variants with an output at 90, 105, and 135 horsepower.

Depending on your taste, each vehicle has its own merit, so picking one over the other may end being a matter of preference. That is, if the Bulli ends up as a production vehicle. Otherwise, all comparisons end up being moot points.

Volkswagen Bulli
LOVE IT
  • Nice dress-up ’tribute’ to the old Microbus
  • Efficient powertrain
  • Spacious interior
LEAVE IT
  • No word on production
  • While efficient, powertrain could be more powerful
  • How long ’til we see it out on the streets?

21 comments:

Wow! Is it Scooby’s service? Well, it is a good service van for sure.

I wonder why they named this vehicle Bulli? It sounds funny. smiley Anyway, I love
the spacious interior of this Bulli. The interior detailing was also impressive. Too bad it’s an
electric mobile. I don’t find them reliable.

Well, we all know that Volkswagen micro bus was really spacious. It has a nice exterior that was perfect for their tribute. Great that it’s now efficient in powertrain. 

It’s a lot bigger to say its cute, but I think it is CUTE! It looks like a bus actually but its a car... hehehe. Very nice platform, and cool interior. I love the folding features of the passenger seat to give more storage space plus its good performance. I would agree that it should really be put into production. smiley

I thought it was a bus! smiley kidding aside, I must say that bulli is really so unique on its platform for a SUV or a van vehicle. It’s a good thing as well that it has a very spacious and comfortable interior.

Bulli is really so unique with its platform, which is very noticeable on it. I also love the spacious and cozy interior of it, which is absolutely awesome for this. I just only hope that its engine will be truly good enough on it.

It’s a van right? Well, I’m looking forward to see this one in the future, I love the looks that it, so simple but very appealing and attractive for me.

Bulli is so cute, and I’m really impressed with it. I love the spacious interior of it, so cozy and relaxing though it doesn’t have lots of technologies and design. Is it already in production? I would really love to see this in person.

HAHA! I’m still laughing with the name of the car. It is really a bully! Anyway, This Bulli of Volkswagen is somehow unique. Admittedly, it is the first time that I see this kind of car. Oh. It has a competition huh. I wonder how this two car will compete.

Well, I don’t think that we can call this vehicle as a bus though it was dress up like that. For me, it looks like a long- base SUV car. With the price tag of that micro bus I could actually bought a SUVs or Minivans with 6 seater.

Is this out in the market? Until recently, I haven’t seen this micro buses run along in the streets. I like its concept for its spacious interior. However, 6 seater is kind of small figure for a bus..it could be 8 or 10 seater.

What motorists would love today is the seating capacity. They wanted the entire family to join the road trip. I hope Volks will realize the importance of a spacious mini bus to the society.

Hey, aren’t there any word yet that this one is indeed going to be in production? Come on Volkswagen, what are you waiting for? A lot of people are already clamoring for you to build this thing.

This concept car ever made, which have unique features that I should say a good prospect. It consists of a more different aspects that is truly amazing.

We get most of our inspiration not by looking into future but by reviving history. True to Volkswagen, It should bring back the microbus to production and it surely will be an instant success.

We should really write a petition to Volkswagen to get this thing into production. Many people will surely sign in and join us on this one.

I definitely agree with you guys, Volkswagen should really put this one into production. Many will surely love it, not only for the nostalgia, but also its performance.

Now I am starting to miss the old VW Bus again. The last time I got to ride on that one was when I was a kid. I am really crossing my fingers and hoping that this actually gets produced.

Wow, Volkswagen is actually going back to their old school roots. This one definitely has the old VB Bus feel to it, even the interiors are done in that style. Really hope that this one goes into production.

VW still has an opportunity, though, to jump into the youth/young-at-heart premium activity vehicle/design-forward personal hauler segment, with equal gender appeal.
The only entrants there now are quirky. I’d think VW would be eager to be in a segment that isn’t already Japanese dominated, that links to VW’s unique design heritage, that allows them to reinforce the AWD message, and that gives them a readily-visually-differentiated marketing pitch for US customers. Vehicles like this could generate lines for pre-ordering! 6 seats and electric power, minimalist interior, camper capability. Perfect.

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