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Tony O'Kane | Mar 9, 2012

German company Roding has unveilled its Roadster 23 sports car at the Geneva auto show, a carbon-fibre two-seater that in some ways resembles a KTM X-Bow with a proper enclosed body.

Despite its long-nosed proportions, the Roadster 23 is actually mid-engined. Even more interestingly, the engine is a three-litre turbocharged BMW straight six - either the N54 or N55 - mounted transversely behind the driver and passenger.

It's the first time that particular BMW engine has been used in a transverse application and it's an odd engine choice too, given how impractical an inline six's length becomes when mounted sideways in a car's engine bay.

Volvo makes such a configuration work in cars like the S60 and XC60, but few other manufacturers bother with transverse inline sixes in passenger cars - let alone sports cars.

Roding says the Roadster 23's inline six pumps out 235kW and 450Nm, and takes drive to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transaxle. A locking rear differential helps maintain grip under acceleration.

The Roadster 23 weighs around 950kg, giving it a power-to-weight figure of 4kg per kilowatt. Sixty percent of that weight is contained in the rear half of the car, as is typical for a mid-engined performance car.

Roding makes no claims for zero-100km/h sprint times, however given its low weight and respectable power output we've no doubt it's brisk. Cornering performance is said to be excellent though, with the Roadster 23 able to pull 1.6g in a corner thanks to its optional semi-slick tyres and double-wishbone suspension.

Initial production will be limited to 23 cars, however Roding indicates that if demand is strong enough it will put the Roadster into series production.

The limited-edition Roadster 23 will be offered with a bare-carbon roof, doors and bonnet, while the chassis will also be presented in unpainted carbon fibre. Pricing has not yet been announced.

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