Volkswagen Design Vision GTI, a 503-hp fantasy: Motoramic Drives
As car enthusiasts, we don’t need much cajoling to get behind the wheel of Volkswagen’s charismatic GTI, a car that VW has more or less perfected over three decades. With its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, flawless transmissions, and delicious handling, VW’s perennial hot hatch puts an ear-to-ear grin on our faces every time we drive one.
But to drive a one-off, 500+ horsepower, all-wheel-drive, GTI concept car? One that is based on the all-new, “Mark 7” Golf GTI that’s hasn’t even been introduced here yet’? Well, that occasion happens exactly never, so when VW reached out and offered us such a chance with its stunning Design Vision GTI concept car shortly after its appearance at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, we showed up early and stayed late.
The three-door Design Vision GTI was developed to wow the crowds of the Wörthersee tuning festival in Austria last spring — think Caligula, but with Volkswagens — and sadly, will not be produced as is. Rather, it's an exercise in style, intended to “give a spectacular glance into the future of the GTI,” and to show the flexibility and performance potential of the “MQB” chassis it shares with the upcoming Mark 7 GTI and a number of other VW and Audi models ranging from compact cars to three-row SUVs.
And what style it has. Rendered in GTI’s traditional white-on-black-on-red garb, the Design Vision blends classic GTI cues and futuristic, video-game extremity. The long-nose, stubby butt proportions have long been GTI calling cards, though they’re taken to the extreme in the Design Vision GTI. It Dimensionally, it rides on the same wheelbase as the standard GTI, but is 0.6 inches shorter, 2.2 inches lower, and nearly three inches wider.
In the metal, the Design Vision is both beguiling and terrifying, like the lovechild of a Golf and an Audi R8 GT. Nearly everything done stylistically accentuates its added breadth, starting with its wide, grinning lower air intake flanked by gloss black blade-like strakes in the fascia trim. Thin headlamps and LED running lamps peek out from beneath scowling, smoke-tinted lenses, while the GTI’s trademark thin red stripe strikes through the light covers and the grille, spanning its entire width.
The body sculpting is amazing, with the lower half of the doors pulling inward and separating from the fat front fenders; the rear fenders are so wide that the bodywork separates from the cabin altogether, pulling the C-pillar sheet metal into flying buttresses. Out back, the angular, wraparound LED taillamps mimic the headlamps, while the bumper contains vaned diffuser elements and fat twin exhaust tips. Oh yeah, and there are four more scary black blades.