Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport and GTI Clubsport unveiled
VW doubled down today at the annual Lake Wörthersee fan-and-tuner fest in Reifnitz, Austria, taking the wraps off of two new concept cars. One, previewed here last week, is destined to spawn a production model in 2016. The other, a stunning hybrid-powered could-be dream machine bridges the gap between future road cars and sports racing machines. Here's the inside scoop on both.
VW Golf GTE Sport Concept
Star of VW's factory-backed hit parade, the Golf GTE Sport Concept matches extreme - and extremely cool - styling with a potent but eco-friendly gas/electric plug-in powertrain. Finished in White Club and constructed largely of carbon fiber, the GTE Sport's sleek bodywork is highlighted by a dual-level C-pillar that portends the look of upcoming Golf GT models. Originally seen on the 2007 Golf GTI W12-650 Concept, the refined 3D design of this element effectively channels airflow along two paths to create additional downforce and cool the rear brakes. Bold fascia treatments are set off with full LED lighting and a large front splitter complemented by a prominent rear diffuser inset with dual exhaust outlets and integrated decklid spoiler. The GTE Sport Concept rides on 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/35 front and 275/30 rear rubber. Cabin access is through XL1-style full-composite doors that swing up and forward.
Based on a modified platform from the production Golf GTE, this hot AWD plug-hybrid packs a collective 395 horsepower. It comes courtesy of a 295-horse/1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged/direct-injected gasoline engine also used in VW's successful Polo R World Rally Championship racer coupled with a two motor/generator units producing 114 horses each. Integrated into the housing of the car's 6-speed DSG transmission, the front motor churns out 243 lb-ft of torque while its rear-mounted counterpart that drives the rear wheels through a virtual "electric propshaft" makes an additional 199 lb-ft. With 494 total lb ft of torque in hand, the Golf GTE Sport Concept can sprint from 0-62 mph in 4.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 174 mph with all power sources engaged. On the green front, a lithium-ion battery pack that can be replenished by plugging in or via regenerative braking, has sufficient capacity to let the GTE Sport Concept travel up to 15.5 miles on pure EV power or help it achieve the U.S. equivalent of 117.6 mpg on the European combined fuel cycle.
Inside, the Golf GTE Sport Concept seats two and features tri-level instrumentation that places all relevant information directly ahead of the driver in a priority-stacked orientation. The racing-style yoke incorporates shifter paddles while the passenger can keep tabs on various real-time performance data on a secondary display screen.
Volkswagen GTI Clubsport Concept
Looking even better in the metal than it did in the teaser sketches, the Volkswagen GTI Clubsport Concept is the precursor of a limited-edition model that will appear in Europe next year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Golf GTI. Matching significantly higher absolute performance with function-focused exterior and interior enhancements, this "close-to-production" one-off puts a contemporary spin on an automotive icon.
Motivation for the GTI Clubsport Concept comes from a tweaked version of VW's 2.0-liter EA888 engine. The turbocharged/direct-injected 4-cylinder is tuned to develop 261 horsepower, more ponies than any other previous production GTI model and 35 beyond the Euro-spec GTI with Performance Package. For additional -- albeit temporary -- thrust, the Clubsport engine also features an overboost function that can kick that figure up by about 10 percent for limited periods of time. As in the standard GTI, power heads to the front wheels via a 6-speed DSG automatic and out to the tires through an electronically-controlled XDS limited-slip differential.
Painted Orex White with a contrasting black roof panel and accent bits, the GTI Clubsport boasts a full body kit that adds a distinctive look while elevating total downforce to "motorsport" levels. The bolder front fascia is offset by a lower splitter derived from the Golf GTE Sport and its larger, "wraparound" decklid spoiler works with a lower diffuser to enhance rear grip at speed. In addition to functional side sills, the GTI Clubsport's profile view is set off by 19-inch Brescia-design alloy wheels - although 18-inch forged alloys also will be on offer for the production car - and a black trim stripe on the lower door skin that pays homage to the one found on the Gen I GTI.
The performance-plus theme of VW's GTI Clubsport Concept carries over into its cabin, highlighted by a sport steering wheel and form-fitting racing buckets covered in Alcantara with honeycomb pattern inserts on their backs and cushions. Tartan fabric upholstery is set off with unique Honeycomb 40 trim elements on the dash, console and doors while red accents, custom floor mats and GTI badges/emblems round out a look that VW says will be largely replicated in the production 2016 Golf GTI Clubsport.
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