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VW celebrates 40 years of Golf GTI at Worthersee

Wild wagon: A team of budding VW engineers and designers have created two exhibition cars for the Worthersee show, including a modified version of the Golf R wagon with 257kW.

Hot concepts and a Nurburgring record for Volkswagen Golf GTI's 40th birthday


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5 May 2016

VOLKSWAGEN is celebrating four decades of the hot hatch, with two pumped-up Golf concepts at the Worthersee show in Austria, and a new front-wheel drive lap record at Germany's esteemed Nurburgring.

While the German car-maker was busy wowing crowds at the world's biggest Volkswagen show with a pair of custom Golfs that push power to a whopping 257kW and 295kW, a separate team was busy smashing the Nurburgring front-wheel drive lap record over the border.

The previous record of 7:50.63 was set by Honda's Civic Type R in March 2015, but Volkswagen's new Golf GTI Clubsport S, piloted by VW driving instructor and professional racing driver Benjamin Leuchter, set a new time of 7:49.21.

The special-edition car goes even further than the Clubsport that was revealed at the Frankfurt show last year, with more grunt wrung from the 2.0-litre four-cylinder. It will be restricted to an ultra-exclusive run of just 400 examples worldwide.

Of the limited number, 100 will be sold in Volkswagen's native Germany, and while the car-maker has not revealed where the remaining 300 are heading, none are destined for Australia at this stage.

With a fizzy 228kW on tap and sent to the circuit through just the front wheels, the Clubsport S is lighter (1285kg) than the all-paw Golf R and Clubsport, and has an “extensively modified chassis,” as well as semi-slick tyres wrapped around 19-inch wheels and 17-inch brakes.

Weight was also reduced with the use of a smaller battery and the deletion of non-essential items such as the second-row seats, floor mats and sound deadening, resulting in a 30kg reduction over the 'standard' Clubsport.

Torque gets a lift to 380Nm between 1700 and 5300rpm, thanks to a remapped engine and different exhaust system, which reduces back pressure. The result is a zero to 100km/h dash that takes 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 265km/h.

Occupants of the Clubsport S are nestled in racing bucket seats and the build number out of 400 is displayed on a centre console plaque.

While the S version won't be sold in Australia, local fans of the GTI can get their hands on a special edition (albeit not quite as exclusive) with the regular Clubsport coming Down Under in June this year.

All other markets will retain the Clubsport moniker, but here the car will be dubbed the 40 Years edition because of a name clash with the HSV Clubsport.

While 228kW and 380Nm may sound like a lot for a small hatchback, a pair of one-off show cars that were rolled out at this year's Worthersee VW enthusiasts event make the Clubsport S figure appear almost pedestrian by comparison.

The German car-maker frequently uses the event to give up-and-coming automotive engineers and designers a chance to show off their creativity, and this year has been no exception, with a team of 12 trainees rolling out the Golf GTI Heartbeat.

Based on the Golf GTI Performance, the team of young engineers and designers boosted the 2.0-litre engine to a staggering 295kW and matched the performance with a set of 20-inch BBS wheels, bodykit and detailed exterior decoration.

Its suspension has also been lowered for a more track-car look, while front brakes get an upgrade to large drilled discs with four-piston callipers.

On the inside, the team removed the back seats to make room for a thumping 1360-watt sound system and roll cage, while front seats were swapped for hardcore racing buckets borrowed from the Clubsport S, complete with the figure 40 embroidered on the headrests.

The team are part of Volkswagen and Sitech Sitztechnik Vocational Training program and represent interior, paint, mechatronic, design and process engineers, who planned and executed almost every element of the show car under the direction of project manager Holger Schulke.

A second show car was created by apprentices from Volkswagen's Sachsen vehicle plant in Zwickau and borrows the Golf R wagon as its basis.

The Performance 35 takes the standard 2.0-litre engine and boosts output to 257kW, while its exterior complements the potent performance with a multi-layer Quartzite and Tornado Red paint job and customised ventilated bonnet.

While the Performance 35 cannot match the Sitech Sitztechnik team's car for power, the wagon trumps them on sound, with a monstrous 2500-watt 12-speaker stereo dominating the interior.

The 35 moniker is a nod to the Worthersee show's 35th year as well as the concept car's boosted power output, which in pferdestarke totals 350.

An airbrush-decorated roof liner with LED stars completes the car, while the wagon's luggage space is unaffected by the modifications.

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