Volkswagen has figured out how to ensure that the GTI wins Automobile of the Year again next year. Its crazy engineers made a rear-wheel drive GTI with a twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter W-12 in the back. Too bad we'll probably never get our grubby little fingers on one of these. But if we did, we'd love it.
Making its debut at the Wrthersee show - an enormous Volkswagen get-together in Austria - the Golf GTI W12-650 is a show car only. That means you shouldn't get your hopes up to be able to buy one. It won't happen.
But what did happen is that VW stuffed the mid-section of a Mk5 GTI with a 650-hp version of the W-12 found in the Bentley Continental GT. The engine is mounted longitudinally, and its 550 lb-ft of torque makes its way to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. And the resultant urgency should be obvious: the GTI bangs off zero to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, and tops out at 202 mph.
The W-12 GTI is almost five inches wider than the standard GTI, and sits more than three inches lower on nineteen-inch wheels. With no engine under the hood, the front tires are a relatively pedestrian 235-mm wide. The rears, however, have to cope with all that horsepower, and balloon to 295 mm.
VW stealthily incorporated air ducts into the C-pillar by angling the rear glass inward. Air sucked into the ducts is used to assist in cooling (there are radiators in the front of the car as well) but also helps to reduce aerodynamic lift in the rear. The carbon-fiber roof also assists in the production of downforce.
Although the GTI W12-650 is obviously not a mass-market car, it's nice to see that Volkswagen shows up with cars like this at enthusiast gatherings. Pay attention, auto makers: Vee-Dub is among the best in the business when it comes to playing to its fan base. And, to steal a few phrases from VW's ad campaign: this is one Pre-Tuned GTI that is definitely not sucking.