VW's wild new 496-hp Golf GTITue, 07 May 2013
UPDATED: Volkswagen has revealed a 496-hp version of the seventh-generation Golf GTI as part of activities at this year's Worthersee fan meet in Austria – and with it, projected the hot hatchback into the same league as some of the world's most celebrated supercars.
Dubbed the Design Vision GTI, the radical new concept showcases a twin-turbocharged 3-liter V6 engine developed for use in upcoming models that, like the new Golf GTI, are based around Volkswagen's highly flexible MQB (modular transverse architecture) platform structure.
Set to find its way into selected new Volkswagen models in future years, the direct injection engine replaces the Golf GTI's turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four, and is mounted transversely in the engine bay of the Design Vision GTI.
Power is up by 279 hp, rising from 217 hp to a Porsche 911 GT3-beating 496 hp. Torque also increases by 155 lb-ft, going from 258 to 413 lb-ft – some 369 lb-ft of which is claimed to be on tap at just 2000 rpm.
No specific details pertaining to the new V6 engine have been revealed, although early suggestions that it may be derived from the new Porsche Macan Turbo engine have been denied.
The power is channeled through a dual-clutch gearbox – the specification of which remained under wraps prior to the new car's unveiling in Worthersee this week. But unlike the standard Golf GTi, which has traditionally boasted a front-wheel drive layout, the Golf Design Vision GTI uses a multi-plate clutch AWD system to apportion drive to each corner.
The result, according to Volkswagen's official performance claims, is a 0-62 mph time of just 3.9 sec – an improvement of 2.6 seconds over the standard Golf GTI. Top speed increases by 38 mph, extending from 152 mph to 190 mph.
Styled by a team of in-house designers under the guise of Volkswagen brand design boss Klaus Bischoff, the Design Vision GTI builds on the look of the standard Golf GTI with a heavily reworked body that takes full advantage of a modified chassis. At 96.6 inches in length, 73.6 inches in width and 54.5 inches in height, the new concept is 0.6 inches shorter, 2.8 inches wider and 2.2 inches lower than the standard hatchback. The concept gets increases in track width and 20-inch wheels to give the new car a truly aggressive air.
The new appearance is claimed to include elements destined for a limited edition 40th anniversary Golf GTI model due out in 2014, while providing hints at the look of an upcoming race version of the GTI to be sold through Volkswagen's increasingly active motorsports department, which is also responsible for the German car maker's World Rally Championship campaign.
By Greg Kable