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17 May 2007

Well Volkswagen has pulled a fast one (literally) and decided to unveil a W12 powered, rear-wheel-drive, mid-engined GTI at the tuner/drunk/party fest in Austria known as Worthersee. We’ll have more information, photos and video in coming weeks ahead. A full photo gallery is provided in the links below.

We also have a loosely translated version of the German press releaes below, but what we do know is this:

- VW claims a top speed of 202 mph

- 6.0l W12 12-cylinder twin-turbocharged engine mounted in the back seat of the GTI

- 650hp and 553 lb-ft. of torque (!)

- with the flared fenders the car sits over 6 feet wide and only 4.6 feet tall

- 19″ wheels with 295 rear rubber and 235 front rubber

- the fenders are flared 3.15″ at the rear

1600×1200 wallpaper images can be found HERE

Press release coming next…

Wolfsburg, 17 May 2007 – Leaving conventions in its wake has always been at the very heart of the GTI. An icon over three decades, the GTI has lured over 1.67 million drivers with its siren song. To drive the GTI it to make a statement. Since 1982, GTI fans have gathered in Wörthersee, Austria. Thousands come to the five-day carnival at Wörthersee, and it is for them – the people who made the GTI a legend, that the GTI W12-650 show car was conceived.

More powerful than any Golf ever built, wider than any Golf crafted at Wolfsburg, faster than any of its iconic predecessors, the GTI W12-650 is seemingly fresh from the race course. A golf that packs in technology used for the Pace Car of the 24 hours of Le Mans. It is named after its heart: A W12 engine producing 650 horsepower. The GTI W12-650 is a show car, nothing more, nothing less, but it does show the enormous potential offered by the Golf platform.

3.7 seconds, 202 mph, 553 pound-feet

Its 6.0-liter twin-turbo engine is located lengthwise between the front seats, converting the traditional front-drive Golf into a classic mid-engined race car. A six-speed automatic gearbox feeds a maximum output of 553 pound-feet of torque to the rear axle. Such force catapults the GTI to 62mph in a scant 3.7 seconds. Stay on the accelerator, and the biturbo engine will carry the car to over 200 miles per hour, putting the GTI W12-650 in the rarefied air of dedicated exotic cars.

6.2 feet wide, 235-width tires in front, 295-width in rear

Under its 6.2-foot spread and 4.7′ tall body, Volkswagen engineers and designers united technologies across the spectrum of Volkswagen AG for the first, and perhaps only, time. Each mechanical piece was originally conceived and designed by Volkswagen AG, showcasing the unequalled breadth of Volkswagen’s technological prowess.

235-width tires on the front wheels are mounted to 19″ gloss-turned “Detroit” GTI wheels, custom-made to fill out the deeply sculpted fender flares. At the rear, the gigantic 295-width tires extend much farther than standard GTIs to bring the GTI W12-650 a properly aggressive stance.

2.75″ lower, 6.3″ more broad

The wheels are tucked 2.75″ further into the gigantic wheel arches, the shoulders of the fenders becoming coupe-like in their proportions. Says Klaus Bischoff, Director of Volkswagen Design: “In the back, the show car is wider by about 3.15″ on each side. The standard model already has a strong shoulder line and arched flare, but, as with a sports car, we pulled the fenders more strongly outward.”

He continues: “Our goal was clearly defined – despite the dramatic technical changes, the GTI W12-650 should remain clearly a classical GTI. The design of the Golf is like a fingerprint. If it smears, the character of the car is destroyed. We would not allow that to happen.” To that end, as many parts as possible were carried over from production GTIs such as the headlamps, doors, hood and tail lamps.

C-Pillars as part of the engine air intake

“Our largest challenge,” says Klaus Bischoff, “was to supply the six-liter mid-mounted engine enough air without diluting the silhouette of the GTI. Side inlets had to be used and optimized for breathing, and the aerodynamics of the car had to be reworked so that we could achieve sufficient cooling at the rear axle. We did not want to set an enormous tail wing on the car.”

In both cases, a trick helped. Bischoff continues: “The strongest Golf design elements are the C-pillars, and it was exactly there that we needed the inlets for the engine air intakes. The C-pillars were redesigned by hand in such a way that we allowed the rear windows to cant slightly inward. So engine air is sucked in through a gap between the window glass and the C-pillar. Cooling is taken car of by an enormous radiator in front as well as by the ducts located in the flares.” Each part of the revised bodywork appears at first sight to be a production GTI part, however they have been carefully designed to have increased functionality without sacrificing aesthetics.

Carbon fiber roof is a diffuser

Innovative and thoughtful construction of the bodies prevented the clean lines of the GTI W12-650 from being ruined by a roof-mounted wing. Says Klaus Bischoff: “This GTI moved the wing inward. The roof is part of an enormous diffuser, which provides sufficient down force on the rear axle. It is made of carbon fiber and forces air over and under the tail spoiler to obtain a perfect amount of pressure on the rear axle.”

The bumpers of the show car show strong lines and clever design, as well. In the back, enormous exhaust openings mark the car as a GTI W12-650. Two chrome-plated dual pipes frame the exhaust opening in the rear. At the front, a red-line grille draws upon the heritage of the very first Golf GTI produced.

Interior with racing ambitions

Today’s GTI drivers would feel at home inside the GTI W12-650. The leather and Alcantara seats are new. Three round gauges mounted in the center stack harkens memories of the Ur-GTI. Transparent “flip up” switch guards are used on the switches for functions such as the ESP override. To prevent mis-activation, the covers must first be flipped open with the index finger. Likewise the racing fire extinguisher integrated in place of the glove box reminds driver and passenger that the GTI W12-650 is a serious race car. For weight reasons, the door panels have been removed and replaces with lattices which allow a compete view of the door mechanics.




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