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Wild VW GTI concept at Austrian fest: 503 hp, 186 mph

Not your Mother's GTI
Wednesday, May 8, 2013


VW GTI 503
How about a really high-performance Volkswagen GTI? Say, 503 horsepower instead of the standard model's maximum 230 hp, and 186 mph flat-out, vs., well, less than that by quite a bit.

Volkswagen will Thursday showcase a new Golf GTI concept for the track – the Design Vision GTI – at the annual enthusiasts’ meeting on the shores of Lake Worthersee in Reifnitz, Austria.  Around 150,000 fans are expected to attend the gathering between now and Saturday, and take their turn to see the concept, designed by Volkswagen engineers and designers.

Based on the seventh-generation Golf GTI which has just gone on sale in the UK, the Worthersee concept transfers the design and power potential of the iconic hot hatch to the world of racing.  Drawn under the watchful eye of Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen’s Head of Design, the new car’s most striking features are the C-pillars and side sills which have been extended out as autonomous body elements, allowing for a substantially wider track and larger wheels.

Using all the flexibility allowed by the Volkswagen Group’s MQB or Modular Transverse Matrix, the Design Vision GTI has a long wheelbase and short front overhangs.  It measures 4,253 mm in length (15 mm less than the production GTI), just 1,385 mm in height (57 mm lower than the road-going car) and 1,870 wide – a 71 mm growth in width.  These dimensions are reflected in the car’s wide track: 1,595 mm at the front and 1,579 at the rear.  Its overall wide, low stance shows that this is a car which belongs on the track, while unique 20-inch wheels and ceramic brake discs complete the racing style.

Many of the car's external design features will be familiar to the Worthersee audience – albeit they re executed in a more extreme manner: the honeycomb grille, black, red and white color scheme and horizontal red line details are all there.  A particularly striking feature is the headlamp unit in which the lights are set back as if into the bonnet, giving the car 'eyes' with a somewhat menacing appearance.  Like the overall design it's 100 per cent GTI, but emphasized to the max.

Under the bonnet the theme continues: the Design Vision GTI is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 TSI engine with direct injection and turbocharger, which produces 503 PS at 6,500 rpm and 560 Nm of torque between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm.  500 Nm is already produced at just 2,000 rpm.  This power is channeled via a DSG gearbox to all four wheels; standstill to 62 mph takes a mere 3.9 seconds.  With this drivetrain and bespoke sports chassis the GTI concept is capable of handling the most demanding of race tracks.

Inside, the concept car was designed according to the following rules laid down by Volkswagen’s Head of Interior Design, Tomasz Bachorski: ‘Pure GTI.  Concentration on the truly essential.  But with style.’  And they stuck to these, with the Design Vision GTI exhibiting the minimum number of switches, and those which there are oriented towards the driver for optimum use when driving on the track.  A familiar black, red and white color scheme, touches of carbon and alcantara as well as a door handle in the shape of a red loop (reminiscent of that in Porsche Cup models) add to the race car feel.  The back seat space is occupied by an X-shaped cross member, adding to the car’s overall stiffness.  Two black helmets are stored under the cross member.

Of note in the cabin are an onboard camera and a facility to allow the driver to network with a social community from the car.  A large display to the right of the main instruments shows the circuit being driven as well as times achieved.  The display also communicates with other vehicles on the course and calculates details about the current status of the race in real time.

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