Like a bankruptcy estate the car even today does not look like and yet it is one, because it is developed at NSU and not with VW. There one does have a successful small-car segment, but has forgotten almost of sheer Wankel enthusiasm to do something for the ever-increasing middle class. Actually, one wants to present the K 70 in 1969. There are already brochures and press events, but unfortunately retracts the new parent company VW, all the actions at the last moment. After all, one has even vehicles in this segment.
VW itself partly goes still with the 411 and 412 in a completely different direction. One does not want to abandon the nearly completed project, especially as it is still known for a long time and associated with a lot of expectations. And quite rightly so. Compared with the competition even at VW the K 70 is a for the time modern car for the time with advanced suspension and engine technology. The longitudinally front-wheel drive has lots of space for passengers and even more for the luggage.
Just today (2006), Audi is presenting a concept, to defuse the front load of its models from A4 upwards. The K 70 creates that by an axle drive under the engine. Certainly this is not optimal for its height and gravity, but it shows the modernity of the design. However, one could have put more emphasis on a perfect gear changing, a shortcoming that has nothing to do with the basic concept.
One may criticize the body to be not enough streamlined but, in the period around 1970, realism and good overview are demanded. Some say that it is similar to the R80 with the long wheelbase, low waistline andnarrow roof pillars. After all, the car is so well designed that it can not be ignored by VW. In the beginning, it even seems as if it should be a wanted child. One redesigned the car in the wind tunnel and brings him a year later with two engine variants and many colour options.
The power drive is, though now liquid cooled, related to the smaller NSU engines, what the individual valve covers already clarify, despite VW logo. It has of course also due to the changeover of the type of cooling a modified engine block but this also helps its stability. Supposedly it is due of the small distance at the limit of a possible increase in displacement, but later bored to 1.8 liters anyway. For the time being it must do it with 1.6 liters, not much if one wants to serve even the most demanding customers. And then the front, which effectively prevents top speeds.
The suspension causes ambivalent opinions at the testers. One (of course) good winter capability and not excessively distinctive tendency to understeer Obviously opposite there is a very stiff steering and under partial-load range a too much braking rear axle. It also shows once again the theoretical favorable construct of the internal discbrakes as prone to oil leaks.
Very interesting, the first time at VW to be seen front-wheel drive. It has not become standard for longitudinal installation. To reduce the front load, the axle drive moves under the engine and is driven via an additional shaft with gear wheel drive past the flywheel (Fig. 7). A disadvantage is in addition to the complicated build, the increase of the engine and thus the center of gravity, what through its inclined position is compensated insufficiently. In any case, VW has preferred the solution of Audi.
Now, the whole factory should build up on this new technology a complete model range of vehicles. Not so with giants. Against their ponderous apparatus, an elephant is really agile. The 412 remains - although probably more expensive to manufacture - as arelatively inexpensive alternative with of more advanced technology. Against this and compared with the prices of the partly a model generation lagging behind competitors it is difficult for the K 70. Such a new technology is always accompanied by problems in the beginning and requires very committed care by the mother company.
This is slow going. It takes too long, until the worst defects are stopped. Some, like e.g. the high fuel consumption, and rust susceptibility never really disappear. VW is busy with too many projects and can not decide. It has yet to come much worse before one decides to take radical measures. These are e.g. determined by the first oil price crisis 1974. Yet there the image of the K 70 is already slightly negative. It would have be able to save the company, but in the history of of technology has mostly enforced the second best solution. 08/12