Volkswagen has revealed an extreme 370kW version of the seventh-generation Golf GTI as part of activities at this week's Worthersee fan meet in Austria.
The concept - unveiled early this morning (NZ time ) - projects the iconic hatchback into the performance realm of some of the world's most celebrated supercars.
Dubbed the Design Vision GTI, the radical new concept showcases a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine that has been developed for use in upcoming models that, like the Golf GTI, will be 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-litre in-line four-cylinder unit and is mounted transversely in the engine bay of the Design Vision GTI.
Power is up by 208kW or almost 129 per cent, rising from 162kW to a Porsche 911 GT3 beating 370kW. Torque also increases by 210Nm, going from 350Nm to 560Nm – some 500Nm of which is claimed to be on tap at just 2000rpm.
No specific details pertaining to the new V6 petrol engine have been revealed, although early suggestions that it may be derived from the new Porsche developed unit destined for the upcoming Macan Turbo have been denied.
The prodigious reserves are 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 four-wheel system to apportion drive to each corner.
The result, according to Volkswagen's official performance claims, is a 0-100 kmh time of just 3.9sec – an improvement of 2.6sec on the standard Golf GTI. Top speed increases by 61 kmh, extending from 244 kmh to 300 kmh.
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 boasting wholesale increases in track width and the inclusion of 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 celebratory Golf GTI model due out in 2014, while providing hints to the look of an upcoming race track version of the iconic hatchback to be sold through Volkswagen's increasingly active motorsport department, which is responsible for the German car maker's World Rally Championship campaign.
At 4253mm in length, 1870mm in width and 1385mm in height, the new concept is 15mm shorter, 71mm wider and 57mm lower than the standard Golf GTI.
The Vision GTI concept is the latest in a long succession of wild one-off models built by VW for the annual fan festival, and follows in the same vein as the Golf W12 that was revealed in 2007. That car featured a mid-mounted twin-turbo W12 engine from the Bentley Continental GT.
Audi has also produced a track-focused concept for this weekend's event, the TT Ultra Quattro, which is a lightweight version of the iconic coupe that uses some of the developments from Audi's Le Mans winning sportscar program.
-Fairfax Media Australia