This past June, Volkswagen employees celebrated building the 25-millionth Golf in 33 years. In fact, the Golf is the second largest-selling vehicle in the world, trailing only the Toyota Corolla. To help mark the occasion, Volkswagen unveiled the most amazing Golf version yet: It's called the GTI W12-650, and we can already hear the horses...
This stunning one-off isn't the product of a tuner, but rather it's an official Volkswagen project presented during the famous GTI meeting at the Wörthersee in the Austrian state of Kärnten. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and executive chairman Ferdinand Piëch attended the reveal.
The GTI W12-650 is a pure 2-seater, as the 6.0-liter W-12 is mounted in a rear/mid-engine format. Twin turbochargers help it achieve 650 bhp at 6000 rpm and 554 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm, put to the rear wheels by a 6-speed automatic transmission. VW says the sprint to 60 mph should only take 3.7 seconds, while top speed is figured at 200- mph. Curb weight was not given, and neither was a price.
We do know that the W12-650 comes with 6.3-in.-wider fenders (increasing overall width to 74.0 in.), special "Detroit-style" 19-in. alloy wheels with 295-width tires at the rear, a 2.8-in.-shorter wheelbase and an overall height of just 55.9 in., due to a lowered suspension and a flattened roofline. The last is special because it forms an upper diffuser, so no additional spoiler is needed. To feed the W-12's cooling demand, there is a gap between the C-pillars and the rear side windows, leading to an additional duct. Hot air exits through huge outlets in the rear.
Despite all these changes, it remains a GTI. "We wanted to keep it recognizable," stated a very proud Klaus Bischof, Volkswagen's Chief Designer.
Officially, the GTI W12-650 is meant to be a unique show car only. Personally, I don't believe it. Just look at the international tuning scene; there could actually be a real business case for this car! And VW's involvement with the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas means they understand this. To add even more fuel to a GTI W12-650 fire, VW's own in-house tuning department — called "Individual GmbH" — was recently started in 2005. So watch out for a Hot Rod Golf — it just may become a reality.