Volkswagen’s TDI diesel engine program was supposed to be a gem, a method of clean fuel technology that saw diesel powered vehicles not as coal-rolling pickup trucks, but small, efficient cars that got unbelievably solid fuel economy numbers that sold for reasonable prices. Countless people saw them as the alternative to a hybrid saw them as the perfect commuter. But fun fact: a diesel that utilizes a turbocharger can be tuned to within an inch of it’s life and made mental. Case in point, this Seat Arosta. Seat is Volkswagen’s Spanish-oriented nameplate, and since the mid-1980s has functioned in an odd middle ground as an independent that utilized VW architecture and engines. Hence, the Arosa: a Volkswagen Lupo with a 1.9L TDI that was probably raided from the larger VW Polo/Seat Córdoba lineup. Stock, you got either 99 horsepower or 129 horsepower, depending on which model you bought. This one is blasting out 550 horsepower through the front wheels. For a tiny little city car in origin, this is Mr. Hyde, complete with fire out of the front-exit exhaust and a bit of coal out of the pipe, too.
Leave it to a gearhead to look at a little front-wheel-drive city car and think, “hmm…that’ll haul ass.” How much? How about 10.1 second quarter miles?