Volkswagen K70, the NSU that became VW

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In the mid-80s, the development wheels in Neckarsulm were running at full speed. NSU was working full steam ahead on two mid-range newbies. The Ro70 with Wankel engine was destined to show the world the innovation potential of NSU in an ultramodern way. A second mid-range car, also stylistically progressive, with a more conventional engine, was also in the week. That became the Kolben 70, in short the KXNUMX.

In the final year of the Sixties, the stylish sedan would be shown to the public in Geneva as the NSU K70. Everything changed when NSU was taken over by VW. The manufacturer from Neckarsulm was merged with VW subsidiary Audi. Mother Volkswagen also received the complete model range of NSU.

NSU K70 becomes Volkswagen K70

Several prototypes had already seen the light of day, and the K70 was almost ready for its market debut. The closeness of NSU by the Volkswagen concern meant that the new middle class would only see the light of day in 1970 as a VW K70. The acquisition of Neckarsulm was the go-ahead to gently convince the large VW buyers of a new technical era. The first steps on the path of water cooling, front-wheel drive and inline engines forced Wolfsburg and all affiliated dealerships into a strong mindset. The helm did not change radically, because the air-cooled boxer models also remained a spearhead of VW. The Volkswagen K70 represented Volkswagen's middle class, along with the 411 (and later the 412) series.

Excellent welcome

The press received the VW K70 well. The journal was impressed by the K70. It convinced with its excellent driving characteristics, front-wheel drive, independent wheel suspension with McPhersons at the front and sloping wishbones at the rear. The well-functioning separate braking system and the space offer also received approval. The Volkswagen K70 debuted with the 1605 cc overhead cam engine. The power source was available in both the 75 PK and the 90 PK variant. Disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear provided the speed deceleration.

Figurative headwind

The VW K70 also suffered from figurative headwinds, because the buyer paid a hefty price due to the high production costs (rear axle, three-piece gearbox, complex engine-box combination). Another reason for the high production costs was that NSU had developed the car. As a result, there were no interchangeable parts with other VW models. In other words: VW had to produce it separately.

VW Werk Salzgitter

Volkswagen planned a production of 500 units per day of the newcomer. It was built in the new VW Werk Salzgitter. The Volkswagen K70 was regularly adapted, in such a way that it could now share parts with the group brothers VW 411 and Audi 100. Modifications also took place in other areas. The VW K70 L versions got double headlights, at the same time Volkswagen reconsidered the K70 in terms of comfort. An example was the use of a two-stage instead of a three-stage fan. Also cosmetic details and things like lighting in the glove compartment disappeared. VW planned engine adjustments to reduce the high fuel consumption of the Volkswagen K70. It also carried out interventions in the field of – initially moderate – aerodynamics (different hood, modified fenders). In addition, Volkswagen applied much better sound insulation and improved gearbox synchronization.

Larger engine

An important change from 1973 was the arrival of the automatic choke. And from May of that year, Volkswagen also supplied the K70 with an 1800 cc engine, which showed an impressive power of 100 HP, and was linked to the trim levels S and LS. The elastic 1.8 variant replaced the 90 HP variant of the 1605 cc power source. In fact, the arrival of this power source was the last major change for the model, although 1974 was also dominated by modifications. But the end of the car developed by NSU was in sight. The gracefully lined car had meanwhile been joined by group members VW Passat and Audi 80. In addition, the VW K70 was not sold to the desired extent during its production years, partly because of the high asking prices.

Pioneering for VW

In January 1975, for example, the last Volkswagen K70 was built in Salzgitter. In the five years of its production, the elegantly lined and rather progressive VW 211.127 was built. He can be conceptually regarded as the pioneer of an entirely new generation of Volkswagens, without the K70 technology being given a place in Passat and co† Nevertheless, the success of the later front-wheel drive VWs with a water-cooled engine can be attributed to the innovation drive of the NSU developers. They unknowingly pioneered VW's work in the XNUMXs with this beautifully lined car.

Also read:
- NSU Ro 80. Controversial, died too early, endlessly beautiful
- Audi, NSU and the importer conflict in the polder
- NSU-Fiat, a fight divorce
- VW Passat. An affordable classic
- Volkswagen 412, the nose bear


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  1. It was the car that brought VAG to the brink of bankruptcy. No experience with front-wheel drive, water cooling and introducing a brand type of which VW had a share. They adopted a stepchild with teething problems: high oil consumption, advanced (expensive) production costs, synchromesh problems, not the simplest things to solve, placed with that other 'daughter': Audi, which had just 'soaked' the 100 from Daimler, what a Benz should have been. Still clever how VW continued to make efforts with the new Passat, Golf and Audi 80 to gradually phase out the air coolers.

    • High oil use and recurring VW problem as well as distributions and the unit injectors. And then the diesel shambles, they were the start of all diesel misery so that we may or may not yet be able to drive in them.c

      • The pump injector diesels were fantastic to drive, so much raw pull and endurance. Just the fact that they weren't clean enough to get them off the hook.

  2. Our primary school headmaster used to have a K70. As a 6th grader, I had to pick up some things with the headmaster at another school. I was allowed to join in his K70. I can still remember the dashboard and also that the thing wanted to take off. I can even remember the sound. A very nice green K70. It is in my memory as a beautiful car. It's a shame that something so beautiful with those clean lines is no longer made. OK, the CW value must be something like a wardrobe. But it sure was beautiful!

  3. Went on holiday to the Dordogne as a temporary replacement with a K70: a great experience. Plenty of space for a tent and dog, you didn't need a station wagon for that! Happened now more than 40 years ago, but I can't remember that the K70 had excessive fuel consumption!

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