Volkswagen Design Vision GTI Visits 2013 LA Auto Show

After showing it off at the annual Wörthersee tuning festival in Germany, Volkswagen has brought its Design Vision GTI concept car to the 2013 Los Angeles auto show. Though it is not slated for production, the wild performance car hints at what engineers could do with the Volkswagen GTI if money were no object.

The transformation, led by Volkswagen design chief Klaus Bischoff, begins with wider bodywork that can accommodate new 20-inch wheels. The flared fenders allow space for horizontal black slats alongside the liftgate, and a similar treatment out front next to the smiley-face blacked-out grille opening. Compared to a standard seventh-generation Volkswagen GTI, the Design Vision concept is 2.8 inches wider, 0.6 inch shorter, and 2.2 inches lower overall.

“The design team’s brief was to give a spectacular glance into the future of the Volkswagen GTI,” Bischoff said in a statement.

The standard Volkswagen GTI 2.0-liter turbo-four engine makes way for a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, which is rated for 503 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, more than double the output of a standard Volkswagen GTI. A dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive help enable a 0-to-62-mph time of just 3.9 seconds. To compensate for that power, carbon-ceramic brakes are fitted, with 15.0-inch front discs and 14.0-inch rear discs.

As for the interior, the Volkswagen Design Vision GTI ditches its rear seats in favor of a giant X-shaped brace. The entire dashboard has been revamped, and a new digital instrument cluster now sits before the D-shaped sports steering wheel. An exposed carbon-fiber pillar supports the new center stack, which is home to “rugged” metal climate-control knobs and toggle switches to start the engine. The DSG transmission shifter is a thick metal lever, and there’s a button for the car’s built-in fire extinguisher. In a nod to lightweight Porsche models, the traditional door handles are replaced by red fabric pull loops.

Though the Volkswagen Design Vision GTI will not reach showrooms, it proves that the company’s engineers are thinking of even more ways to make the GTI exciting. While we don’t expect 503-hp version any time soon, look for some of the thinking on this concept car to trickle down to future Volkswagen GTIperformance models.

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