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Volkswagen’s Design Vision in a 503hp Beast of a GTI

Volkswagen Design Vision Front

All photos from Volkswagen Ireland’s Facebook page

Every year at the Wörthersee festival in Reifnitz, Austria, Volkswagen brings a few new or modified cars from their development labs to showcase at one of the largest VW auto shows in the world. In the past, they’ve brought along a Golf R Cabrio concept, a 500hp Audi A1, and the certifiably insane GTI MkV powered by the 650hp W12 found in the Bentley Continental GT. For 2013, Volkswagen unveiled the Design Vision GTI, an MkVII-based hatchback driven by a twin-turbo V6 that develops 503hp and 413lb-ft of torque. 0-60mph comes in a scant 3.9 seconds (for reference, a standard GTI makes the run in 6.4, and the Golf R clocks in at 5.5), and the car keeps on pulling to a top speed of 186mph. The engine is unsurprisingly married to VW’s DSG dual-clutch, and horsepower flows through all four wheels, as in the Golf R. The car isn’t all about performance, though, as a unique body takes the GTI in a much more radical direction as opposed to the extremely conservative design language that guides all current Volkswagens.

Volkswagen Design Vision  Rear

The front end has additional aero work underneath the laughing bottom air inlet, and the brake cooling ducts that the horizontal rakes morph into are functional. The thick C pillar that is one of the GTI’s most distinctive exterior design elements has been stretched outward to allow for more air intakes at the rear wheels. The area from the A pillar to the C pillar and back down to the front air outlet is bordered in black, making the profile view quite striking, as if all of the sheetmetal between the wheels were stamped inward. The front rakes are echoed in the rear, below the window, while the element meant to recall a rear diffuser is enlarged, giving the concept a greatly reduced visual height when compared to the GTI. Adding to the illusion is the fact that the Design Vision is 2.2 inches wider than the normal GTI. The turbine blade-shaped wheels are a bit of a departure from the current MkVI, but are an evolution of the new MkVII’s alloys, and they look fantastic. Great things can happen when Volkswagen’s design team reigns are loosened a little bit.

The concept’s cockpit is extremely driver-centric, with all auxiliary controls skewed toward the left. The passenger side is beautifully empty, with only a handle to hang on to as entertainment. The shifter appears to be pistol grip, and makes the reality that the Design Vision doesn’t sport a manual transmission that much more difficult to accept. The only buttons adorning the steering wheel consist of a push-button start and dial similar in look and function to Ferrari’s Manettino dials.

The Design Vision will likely never be produced for many reasons, not the least of which is that the engine makes only 15hp less than the V10 in the Audi R8 5.2. How about detuning the engine and stuffing it into a Scirocco? VW could have a fantastic sports coupe with 350-400hp to compete with the Nissan 370Z, Ford Mustang GT, and Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8, and Americans could finally buy the drop-dead gorgeous Golf variant that is currently only sold overseas.

Autoblog has a fantastic gallery featuring many more exterior shots and interior pictures here.

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About Cameron Rogers

Cameron Rogers is the founder and lead writer at Downshift Autos, the only automotive blog on the Internet*. Born in the back of an AMC Gremlin, Cameron vowed to never let this extraordinarily embarrassing detail define him, so help him God. He drives a GTI but absolutely will not shut up about it if somebody asks. He will not hesitate to let people know that no, they shouldn't get a Porsche 911 when a Morgan 3 Wheeler is so obviously the superior choice. He is obsessed with the seats of a Carrera GT and the steering wheel of a Fisker Karma. He once sat in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S, his greatest accomplishment to date. He is just now realizing that writing an autobiography, however miniscule, in the third person is odd and unnerving. *As of this writing, Cameron has been informed that there are, in fact, many websites and blogs centered around cars and car culture. He regrets his grievous error.

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