We already knew that the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf would be considerably lighter than the current version, but now Autocar reports an even lighter version of the Volkswagen GTI is in the cards. According to the British publication, Volkswagen will launch a version of the next GTI that uses aluminum and carbon fiber to trim weight to as little as 2475 pounds -- a savings of more than 500 pounds compared to today's GTI.
Like the 2014 Golf (pictured) on which it is based, the next-generation Volkswagen GTI trims some weight by switching to the automaker's flexible "MQB" chassis architecture. On top of that, Autocar suggests the GTI Carbon would use aluminum for the firewall, windshield frame, and floor panels; and carbon fiber for the hood and roof, saving as much as 440 pounds. That would potentially give the new car a 0-to-60-mph time under six seconds. As a side benefit, reduced mass could improve the GTI Carbon's handling and braking performance, too.
Volkswagen has reportedly pioneered two techniques that would make manufacturing carbon fiber and aluminum parts cheaper and easier. The research was inspired by the fact that future hybrid and electric versions of the Golf might use the lightweight materials. In the GTI Carbon, two layers of carbon fiber are layered on a thin sheet of steel, which can be welded into the body. The aluminum-alloy components, for things like the firewall, can easily be riveted or bonded to the rest of the car's structure.
Autocar says the next Volkswagen GTI will have an updated 2.0-liter turbo-four engine with 222 hp, although we've previously heard the new hot hatch could produce anywhere up to 260 hp. The car also will use a Haldex locking front differential to improve traction, and a variable-ratio steering rack to provide better cornering feel.
Because building the GTI Carbon would be difficult and somewhat more expensive than assembling a regular version, the car would be an extremely limited-run affair. Expect to see it sometime after the 2014 Volkswagen GTI debuts in a year or two.