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A Production Chevy Code 130R?

February 15, 2013 by Matt

Chevy Chevrolet Code 130R Red Concept

Yes, please.

Left Lane reports Chevy may be considering a production version of their well-received Toyota FR-S/ Subaru BRZ-fighter, the Code 130R concept car:

GM hasn’t officially green lighted the 130R, but the Detroit-based automaker is at least considering ways to make the car a reality. …

[A] production version of the 130R would be loosely based on a version of the rear-wheel drive Alpha platform that underpins the Cadillac ATS.

Considering the Alpha platform is arguably the most successful piece of the ATS package—most reviews gush over its handling poise, steering feel and overall balance—a dealership-ready Code 130R built on that chassis would likely stand a good chance of being Chevy’s first real driver’s car since, well, ever.

Granted, to secure my fandom, Chevy would have to cleave to the concept’s formula and develop a FR-S/BRZ alternative. In practice, this means they would have to keep the weight low (sub-3,000 lbs), keep the car low-priced and basic, emphasize the fun-to-drive factor and above all, keep it RWD. If Chevy does all that, they’ve got a least one banner-waver in the enthusiast community right here.

Chevy Chevrolet Code 130R Concept Interior Inside Cockpit Console Dash Dashboard

The sticking point in the whole idea is the fact that Chevy’s own V6-engined Camaro occupies roughly the same low-$20K price point as the Code 130R presumably would, packs a good deal more punch under the hood and has massive name recognition to boot. Is the market for small, back-to-basics RWD sports cars strong enough to support both the FR-S/BRZ twins and the Code 130R? Given the choice, would enough buyers opt for a slower but more fun-to-drive 130R over a V6 Camaro if both are similarly priced? Open questions, but ones I’d love to see explored.

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Filed under: Chevrolet, News


  1. A sub-3,000 lbs Chevy? As much as I’d love to see it happen, I’m not exactly holding my breath :)

    • Matt says:

      If I’m honest, I’m in the same boat. The Suboyota Twins weigh in at a shockingly (nowadays) low 2,800 lbs, so if a Code 130R is to compete effectively I’d think it would have to shoot for that.

      And let’s not forget GM actually did hit a weight target for the ATS. So they can do it if they really want to (which is a good motto for the American auto industry in general).

      • GTfrank says:

        The 128i is engineered to be not as good as the 3 series. a limited slip rear end. The turbo 2.0 and the removal of a little sound deadening and the rear ballast and you would have a 3000 pound 240 hp 32k BRZ killer. Taking 100 pounds off the front wheels would do wonders for the steering. It would also be a 3 series killer. A no no for BMW.

      • GTfrank says:

        The ATS hit its weight target but it is no lighter than the more space efficient 3 series. It is only in line with the other cars in its class not lighter. The big problem with GM is it competes with its self to much. They are always making shore you NEVER get more than what you pay for. Honda use to be the opposite.

  2. Automobiliac says:

    I know it sort of overlaps with the Camaro in theory but in practice this car is for an import customer who would never buy a Camaro to begin with. I don’t think it would cannibalize sales. Its real competitor would be the Dodge Dart.

    • Matt says:

      Good point about there being different types of customers for the Camaro and a prospective 130R.

      Not sure how you see its main competitor as the Dart, though. I’d think the 130R would go up against the FR-S/BRZ, the Miata and maybe the 4-cyl Genesis Coupe. The Dart competes with the Cruze, Civic, Mazda3, Focus, etc.

  3. Ryan says:

    If Chevy builds something like this I hope it looks better than the above concept b/c IMHO the FRS and BRZ both look much sportier/sexier than the “130R.”

    • John D says:


      • John D says:

        I dont think it looks bad…it certainly has some good lines and aspects that I like (grlle/hood/headlights look great, tires filling out wheel arches nicely, etc). But it’s just too cutsie and nice/friendly looking. Not sharp or aggressive enough aft of the front wheels. Looks like the styling design from there back may have been influenced by soap bubbles. Even being able to make that comparison rules it out in my book.

        Same reason I was never a big fan of the old school Miata…just looked too darn cute. Wonderful car, but not my taste in styling at all.

        In person the BRZ/FR-S look very sharp and edgy. Me likie.

    • It looks like Chevy took their overarching styling cues from the BMW 1-Series..

  4. Aye, I’m a fan of the body style. But why not a 135i? :)

    • Matt says:

      The 135i is darn near as heavy as my E34 at 3,400 lbs (!). The 128i is ~200 lbs lighter—still too heavy—seems more pure with the N/A I6 (one of BMW’s last—so far) and is cheaper. :) If the 1-series is supposed to be the “new 2002,” then compared to the 135i, the 128i seems “2002ier.” If that makes sense.

    • Ryan says:

      Must agree. In my book more power almost always = better. But admittedly I am a HP Junkie who prefers American V8 muscle and if you can top that off with a little (or a lot) of boost I’m even happier. ;)

    • GTfrank says:

      I may be the only guy in america that likes the N/A BMW six over the Turbo one. The N/A unit builds power progressively. It keeps making power right up to the red line. It has a nice bump in torque as the revs climb also. It is one of the sweetest 6 cylinders on earth. The Turbo has no sonic character and it is done by 6000 rpm. You can rev it to 7000 but there is no reason to. The Turbo is way under rated (it puts out more like 330 hp). It makes power almost like a computer game. The N/A unit is real. I am sad to see it go. The 1 series needs the lighter, more efficient and more powerful turbo 4.

  5. Brad says:

    If they go with the 140s, I will buy it. I won’t buy the 130r. The 130r is the same old retro bulls**t that domestic car companies keep throwing onto the market. Nobody cares.

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