Imagine that the Chevrolet Camaro Concept–shown earlier this year in Detroit–were loaded onto a cargo ship bound for Europe. During the ride, it would assimilate to European-performance-car ideals, shrinking in exterior dimensions and—most definitely—engine size. This Paris concept, the Chevrolet WTCC Ultra, is what would screetch down the pier on the other side. It is modern and even forward-thinking. Its hatchback form maximizes its space efficiency, and a compact, 190-hp diesel engine allows performance and efficiency to coexist. This is a massive transformation from the big hood, big haunches, and big displacement of the Camaro, yet the WTCC Ultra is edgy and muscular in just the same way.
Chevrolet claims that the WTCC Ultra is ready to drive, and not in a quarter-throttle, 30-mph sort of way. It’s a fully functional concept that could be driven right from the show floor, though Paris, down the Autoroute, and onto the track at Le Mans. If a similar—but obviously less radical—vehicle sees production, it could show Europe that Americans can do hatchbacks as well as anyone. Ford’s Focus ST has done it and Dodge’s Hornet is set to do the same.