Volkswagen GTI-Themed Waze App Steers You Toward a Good Time

Our personal biases frequently lead us to condemn any number of advanced automotive technologies. That’s partly because we’re dinosaurs who fetishize vintage automobiles that, in reality, are actually far worse than we like to pretend. But it’s also because most modern-day tech sucks harder than a jet-powered Dyson. A large portion of that problem stems from automakers implementing technology solely to appease regulators or line their pockets with cash.

Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. You sometimes end up with things like power windows, torque vectoring, the dual clutch transmission, and satellite navigation. And while it’s still handy to know how to read a map, GPS has made car-based voyages a breeze, and it’s only getting better.

Waze, a preferred navigation app for many, offers community-confirmed accident information, fuel pricing, and speed traps. Since its purchase by Google in 2013, the system now finds itself baked into Android Auto. Things are progressing rather nicely, as a new partnership with Volkswagen implements features that cater specifically to driving enthusiasts. 

Announced by VW on Monday, Waze is launching a new pilot program in the United Kingdom aimed at helping drivers find pristine stretches of road. Over 75 of the region’s best driving roads were chosen by a team of data scientists based on the following criteria: “scenic, yet close enough to points of interest; have the right driving conditions — including engaging corners; low amounts of traffic; and low incident reports.”

Dubbed as “GTI Superdrives,” the Waze app will be available on all UK-based GTI models. That includes the Golf, Polo, and Up (stylized as “up!”). Whenever the driver of one of those sport-tuned hatchbacks activates Waze and comes within 12 miles of a specially selected road, a GTI logo will appear on the screen. Giving it a tap then reroutes the driver to the paved slice of heaven.

It’s certainly an interesting idea — one we wouldn’t mind seeing rolled out in North America in a future update. However, maybe Google is right in limiting it to performance-oriented models. That’s not to say you can’t hoon a minivan; personal experience dictates otherwise. But it might be bad form to announce every secret stretch of road to the general public and local police department.

Regardless, Volkswagen made it very clear that VW-loving app users shouldn’t speed. “Working with Waze, we wanted to offer more drivers the chance to get off the often congested ‘beaten track’ and instead experience the simple pleasure of driving once more,” said Alison Jones, Director of Volkswagen UK. “The aim, very clearly, is about enjoying time behind the wheel — not speeding or driving in a way that increases risk — and we believe that the intelligence of the Waze app helps drivers do just that.”

Right. You wouldn’t want to break the law by exceeding the posted limits on a gorgeous road that’s absolutely begging for you to do so. That would be illegal.

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