The Worthersee Festival in Austria is hosting the debut of what’s probably the second-wildest Volkswagen GTI we’ve ever seen. Called the Design Vision GTI, the one-off VW concept is a 503-hp race car.
Unlike the GTI W12-650 — the mid-engined, rear-drive 12-cylinder GTI from 2007 with 650 hp — the GTI Design Vision uses all-wheel drive with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. The GTI is powered by a 503-hp twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 with 413 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm, but Volkswagen points out that 369 lb-ft is available at 2000 rpm. Acceleration from 0-62 mph is claimed to take 3.9 seconds. For comparison, the 430-hp R8 V8 coupe accelerates to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, with the new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The new GTI soon to be available in showrooms gets to 60 mph in about 6.5-6.6 seconds. The GTI W12-650 may have been capable of a claimed 3.7-second 0-62 mph sprint and 202-mph top speed (the Design Vision tops out at 186 mph), but the newer GTI concept has two three-way catalytic converters close to the engine to improve emissions.
Of course, the GTI Design Vision is about far more than just straight-line speed. The car has 20-inch wheels (235 tires in front and 275s in the rear) as well as C-pillars that have been stretched out, giving the car a much stronger look. Stopping power is provided by 15.0-inch carbon-ceramic discs up front and 14.0-inch units in back.
Volkswagen says the GTI Design Vision will “eat” any race track, and one look at the concept and we’re guessing they’re probably right. Compared to the normal GTI, the radically modified GTI is said to be 2.2 inches lower, nearly three inches wider, and with a track that’s increased by 2.5 inches in back and 2.2 inches up front.
Inside, the wild design continues, with a red door handle inspired by Porsche Cup cars, Alcantara, Nappa leather, and carbon fiber trim. One display can show lap times and the map of the track on which you’re currently racing, and Volkswagen says the car can communicate with others on the course. While an electrical kill switch and push-button-activated fire extinguisher have been added, the rear seats have been replaced by an X-shaped cross member to increase body stiffness.
Though the GTI Design Vision has about as much chance at production as the GTI W12-650 did, it’s a great way to create buzz for the upcoming front-drive GTI, which has less than half the power of the concept.