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2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Heartbeat

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Heartbeat

Designed to quicken the pulse of enthusiasts

In June of 1976, Volkswagen introduced a sportier variant of the Golf, dubbing it the GTI. In the four decades that followed, this speed box helped define the very essence of the term “hot hatch,” offering tire-roasting output, corner-carving suspension tuning, and even a place in back for cargo. Now, in celebration of that history, VW is introducing a custom one-off called the Heartbeat, and it’s bringing all the stock GTI goodness, plus showstopper styling, a monster stereo, and a considerable power boost under the hood.

The Heartbeat is actually part of a duo of one-off show concepts VW is debuting at the 35th annual Worthersee car meet this year. Held on the banks of Lake Worthersee in southern Austria, the event regularly attracts tens of thousands of enthusiasts from around the world, who arrive to rejoice in all things within the VAG spectrum. 

Since 2008, VW has brought along a new GTI project car to help fan the flames. The custom rides are produced as part of the Volkswagen Vocational Training program, which offers VW apprentices the chance to create their vision of the ultimate GTI. This year, 12 fresh-faced trainees designed and built the Heartbeat in less than nine months, honing their skills in five different areas of expertise. The team consisted of five women and seven men, aged 20 to 26, and included interior fitters, vehicle paint technicians, automotive mechatronics technicians, a technical product designer, and a process technician specializing in plastics and rubber engineering.

So what do you get when you leave 12 young and talented VW devotees alone with a GTI? Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI Heartbeat.

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2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S

The car that beat the Civic Type R around the Nürburgring

The GTI event at Lake Worthersee has officially kicked off, and with that kickoff, Volkswagen has debuted the new king of the Golf GTI lineup: The Golf GTI Clubsport S. The car is based on the Golf GTI Clubsport, but has gone through numerous upgrades and refinements to make it the fastest and lightest Golf GTI yet. In short, Volkswagen engineers were able to reduce the car’s overall weight to 2,998 pounds while upping permanent engine output to an impressive 306 horsepower – that’s a 30 horsepower increase over the standard Golf Clubsport. The Clubsport S will be produced in just 400 examples.

The whole idea of the Clubsport S came about during the testing of the final version of the Golf GTI Performance. Karsten Schebsdat, the Head of Chassis Tuning, said, “It was obvious to all of us that this GTI had immense potential, so we decided to get the most performance possible out of this car. A small team went through the entire process, from bottom to top, pretty much like it was back when the first Golf GTI came into being.” Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy task and VW engineers had to put in a lot of work, but that work paid off.

The payoff came when the Golf GTI Clubsport S smashed the lap record at the Nürburgring for front-wheel-drive production cars. With Benny Leuchter behind the wheel, the car hit the lap in 07:49:21 – that’s 1.4 seconds faster than the previous record that was set by a Honda Civic Type R. To make this possible, the Clubsport S received a special sport chassis, refined interior, and an extensively adapted engine control unit that all helped to raise the crowned Clubsport S above the standard Golf GTI Clubsport it was based on. So, with that said, let’s take an in-detail look at what makes the Clubsport S so much better than the regular Clubsport.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport Concept

Volkswagen isn’t shy when it comes to producing wild concept cars, and now it has unveiled a high-performance plug-in-hybrid hot-hatch concept dubbed the GTE Sport.

Many of the wild concept cars that VW has produced recently have actually been confirmed for production. Models like the 2015 Golf R400 and the 2015 GTI Clubsport are both set to hit the production line, but this hybrid hot-hatch is not going to see showrooms any time soon.

Instead, this concept car is more of a technological study that will also gauge buyer interest in performance hybrids outside of the supercar realm. If this tech ever does land in a VW AG model, it will likely start in a model that is higher up the food chain than the Golf. Something like the 2015 Volkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE seems more of a feasible model in the near term.

Despite its lack of production future, the GTE Sport is still an intriguing model that gives us a look at what VW is working on.

Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Volkswagen GTE Sport concept car.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Dark Shine

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Dark Shine

A new one-off show car concept from Volkswagen has just dropped cover, and it boasts a sensational two-tone paint scheme, an ear-bleed-inducing 3,500-watt stereo system, and nearly 180 extra horsepower. It’s called the GTI Dark Shine, and it was put together over the course of nine months by a group of 17- to 25-year-olds taking part in a VW training program. Making its world debut at the 34th annual Worthersee enthusiast car show in southern Austria, the results speak for themselves.

"By working on the Worthersee GTI project, our apprentices learn about the complexity of automobile production," says Dr. Stefan Kreher, Head of Volkswagen Vocational Training. "The project offers especially talented young people an opportunity to learn from experienced colleagues from the entire company at an early stage."

The 13-member team worked with experts throughout the build, but planned and executed almost every step of the process on their own. An estimated 150,000 gearheads were in attendance at Worthersee, giving the young group a sizable audience to showcase their skills.

Read on to see what they did.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI Dark Shine.

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Audi Brings New Genuine Accessories To Worthersee

Audi Brings New Genuine Accessories To Worthersee

It’s the little-known goal of all corporations big enough to pursue it — put competitors out of business as often as possible. It’s not intentional, it’s just a natural outgrowth of expanding into occupied markets. Right now, from Audi’s perspective at least, the biggest problem with aftermarket accessories is that they’re just that: after. After you leave Audi and wind up at Pep Boys, or your local speed shop, or an online marketplace.

Okay, maybe it’s not quite as cynical as that. Audi is a good brand, and its customers are some of the most loyal on Earth. Stands to reason that the average Audi customer would be happy to find the four rings on every gadget and doodad the well-equipped motorist might need or want. Get ready to lose your market share, Pep Boys — the Germans have landed.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2015 Audi TT Clubsport Turbo Technology Concept

2015 Audi TT Clubsport Turbo Technology Concept

With Austria’s annual Worthersee car tuning show just around the corner, Audi unveiled the TT Clubsport Turbo Technology Concept, a study developed to showcase the company’s future turbocharging systems. Powered by an innovative turbo that uses electric power to produce more horsepower, the concept also showcases Audi’s ability to turn the sporty TT model into a full-fledged race car. Arguably more aggressive than the TT Cup introduced in 2014, the Clubsport Turbo Technology Concept is inspired by one of the company’s older race car and looks ready to hit the track for some impressive lap times.

Unfortunately, Audi doesn’t plan to put the concept car into production as whole. Instead, the Germans will further develop the turbo under the hood for road use and maybe use some of these aero updates in the development of the next TT Cup race car.

There’s no word when this new turbo technology will hit the streets, but Audi claims it is "close to production readiness," which could mean less than a couple of years. Keep reading to find out more.

Updated 05/13/2015: Audi unveiled a promo video for the new TT Clubsport Turbo concept. Enjoy!

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi TT Clubsport Turbo Technology Concept.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance Concept

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance Concept

With the Wörthersee gathering just around the corner, the Volkswagen Group is rolling out previews of all sorts of awesome concepts. Today, the German automaker is previewing a concept version of its GTI — dubbed the GTI Performance — that a group of 13 young apprentices developed for the show.

With the Wörthersee event not due to open its gates until May 14th, VW is only giving us a quick glimpse of the hatchback and its distinctive black-and-yellow paint. This leaves us with just a little taste of what these young folks have to offer, but it also leaves us wondering what else they have in store for us.

Luckily, we won’t have to wait much longer to find out how deep VW let these kids dive into the GTI.

Continue reading my preview of the GTI Performance concept to see what I think these apprentices will offer VW enthusiasts at Wörthersee.

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2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport

Fresh off a redesign in 2015, the VW Golf GTI is primed to take on the midrange of the hot-hatch market while its Golf R sibling tackles the top of the class. With the VW Wörthersee gathering set to kick off on May 13th, the Germans have previewed a special “near-production concept” that it’s calling the GTI Clubsport.

Unfortunately, Volkswagen chose to tease us on its Facebook page with sketches of the exterior of the GTI Clubsport but no real details. This makes it tough to piece together exactly what this model is. My gut tells me that it’ll be a special package that will make the GTI a more track-ready machine, but it could also be just a styling kit.

A track-tuned package would be the perfect middle ground between the GTI and the Golf R, but Volkswagen may not want to risk getting so close to its halo hatchback.

The Wörthersee gathering is right around the corner, so we’ll find out soon enough.

Updated 05/13/2015: Volkswagen dropped the official images and details on the new Golf GTI Clubsport concept.

Continue reading my preview of the GTI Clubsport to learn more about what I think this model has to offer.

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2014 Volkswagen Golf Variant Youngster 5000

2014 Volkswagen Golf Variant Youngster 5000

As the focal point of the Worthersee car show, Volkswagen has a huge presence at the show. But for all the years that it’s been attending the event, VW has never brought a Golf Variant to the show. That all changed in 2014, as the Volkswagen Golf Variant made an appearance with the "Youngster 5000."

VW developed this showpiece as part of its talent program and the wagon itself was built with the help of six young apprentices. That’s making a real statement that the design pool inside Volkswagen isn’t drying up.

The "Youngster 5000" features a unique Arancio Argos Pearl finish that is complemented by transplanted components from the VW’s R GmbH range. The front and rear bumpers, the door sill package, and the seat system were all added to the Golf Variant, creating a more aesthetically pleasing appearance that fits in with all the other concepts and prototypes at Worthersee.

By the way, the "Youngster 5000" title of the Golf Variant takes its name from a unique addition to the cabin of the vehicle, a 5,000-watt sound system that Volkswagen mounted on skids in the rear that passengers can control using a customized iPad.

Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf Variant Youngster 5000.

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2014 Volkswagen Amarok Power Concept

2014 Volkswagen Amarok Power Concept

The 2014 Worthersee Festival was packed with numerous high-performance machines and shiny concept cars, but there’s at least one certain pickup truck that literally rocked the Austrian event. We’re talking about the Volkswagen Amarok Power Concept, a truck created not just to showcase the company’s more aggressive side, but equipped with everything it needs to be the life of the party.

The most intriguing part about this pickup is the 5000-watt sound system and the DJ equipment fitted in its spacious bed. The gear includes a 92 Allen & Heath DJ kit, a Pioneer CDJ900NXS player, two Void Acoustics Impulse 3T speakers, a Stasys Xair subwoofer and six micro speakers. That’s more than enough to make a lot of noise while throwing a cool party at the beach.

Speaking of pumping, the party truck is fitted with a 3.0-liter, V-6, diesel engine that’s equally impressive in terms of performance. With help from a turbocharged unit, the oil-burner delivers 268 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, and launches the Amarok from a 0 to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds, before reaching a top speed of 130 mph.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Volkswagen Amarok Power Concept.

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2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition

The 33rd Worthersee meeting has come with its fair share of unique and attractive concepts. But the Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition stands on a level all its own. It’s special not because of its significance in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Golf, but because the people behind the development of the vehicle are 12 apprentice designers from Volkswagen and Sitech Sitztechnik, aged 18 to 23.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition is the brainchild of four women and eight men, each of whom, you can argue, has a bright future in the auto industry. Development of the car took nine months and it was far from easy too.

These budding designers spent all those hours planning, testing, and implementing all the ideas they learned while spending time with some of the finest designers in the industry, including project manager and instructor Holger Schülke. Under Schülke’s guidance, the designers created the Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition using a standard Golf GTI Performance.

From there, the designers went to work, putting all the knowledge they’ve learned into good use, thus creating a unique Golf GTI that not only looks as sexy as the past six apprentice GTI models to debut in Worthersee, but also showcases the immense design talent Volkswagen has developed on its own in recent years.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition.

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2014 Audi A1 With Audi Genuine Accessories

2014 Audi A1 With Audi Genuine Accessories

Audi has rolled out a suit-and-tie-dressed A1 Sportback at Worthersee, highlighting the enormous customization potential the German automaker is putting on its Genuine Accessories lineup. This particular A1 with Audi Genuine Accessories successfully combines a nice shade of black with splashes of yellow trim, creating a distinct two-tone look we rarely see from the A1.

Audi traditionally rolls out these kinds of products at Worthersee and its nice to see that the German brand still understands the importance of being a major presence in the annual event. The customized hatchback also shines a nice light on what’s possible when customers use Audi Genuine Accessories on their vehicles.

That’s the real good thing about being able to have a say in what your car is going to look like. A1 owners get a number of colors to choose from and you can style and trim it any manner you see fit. There might be some misses along the way, but as Audi has shown with this A1 with Genuine Accessories, there’s a lot owners can work with by taking advantage of the company’s aesthetic personalization program.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A1 With Audi Genuine Accessories.

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2014 Skoda CitiJet Design Concept

2014 Skoda CitiJet Design Concept

The Skoda Citigo, essentially a rebadged Volkswagen Up!, is basically unknown in the United States, a land where very few city cars have dared come and managed to survive. However, the Citigo is a bit more popular in Europe, where it’s being retailed in both three-door and five-door body styles.

The tiny, front-wheel-drive car never made it past beyond its box-shaped configuration on an official basis, but a new concept unveiled ahead of the annual Worthersee tuning festival in Austria suggests the Citigo could make a great two-seater convertible.

Designed and built by 16 Skoda apprentices over the last six months, the CitiJet Concept is actually a Citigo that had most of its roof chopped off, while part of the C-pillar remained intact. Also setting it apart from a production car is its unique paintjob, a blue and white metallic coating that shares each side of the vehicle.

The left blue side features a contrasting white stripe beneath the windows and white rims, with the right side being painted the other way around, with the wheels finished in a blue/white combo.

Click past the jump to read more about the Skoda CitiJet Design Concept.

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