The lightweight 50 mpg turbodiesel sports car no one builds

What would the perfect 21st century sports car be like? Autocar magazine fantasizes about a low, wide, mean-looking roadster with the weight of a pregnant carp and the torque of a farm tractor. Give or take. Actually, it's better than it sounds.

Writer Steve Sutcliffe calls the figment of his imagination the British Sportscars 1 ("BS1" for short). It's a mid-engined two-seater with an open top and rear-wheel-drive, weighing around 2,200 lbs and costing just £35,000. Sounds simple enough — and already available. We call it the Lotus Elise. But that's not all he's got in the dream bag. Read on.

The rule for the car's power delivery is something like, "torque, now and forever." For such duties, Sutcliffe chooses Volkswagen's 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, tuned to produce 250 hp and 350 lb/ft. With the BS1's gnat-like mass, Sutcliffe projects the diesel would get it from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 147 mph. With diesel's efficiency profile, he projects fuel efficiency at a very sippy 60 miles per gallon. Of course, Sutcliffe likely means Imperial gallons, so we're talking around 50 mpg in the US. Still, no sneezing at that here.

The lightweight 50 mpg turbodiesel sports car no one builds

To keep weight (and costs) down, the BS1's spaceframe chassis would naturally be built from a combination of aluminum and (und) steel, with body panels from fiberglass and carbon fiber. Oh and did we mention? No traction control.

Sounds like a very intriguing car, Mr Sutcliffe, even if it does retire our love of high revs to the dustbin of sports car history. But wait. He's about to make some enemies — and in just three words: paddle shift gearbox.

There's more detail on this amazing dream driver's car in this week's Autocar, which we yanks can get from Zinio.