Golf GTI acolytes who congregate in Austria at Wörthersee for their annual GTI pilgrimage should be held spellbound by the 447 kW Golf GTI W12-650 this year.
As an uncompromised special project the GTI W12 is the unusual marriage between a 6-litre W12 biturbo engine and the original hot hatch. Shoehorning such a massive power plant into the iconic Golf GTI obviously necessitates some extreme engineering and ingenuity.
Only the headlights, doors, front hood and tail lamps are original parts, essentially everything else is new. Positioning the massive 6-litre engine longitudinally behind the driver and passenger - essentially yielding a mid-engine layout - immediately caused a problem with regards to sufficient cooling. To counter this C-columns were redesigned in such a way as to lead cool air onto the engine.
Visually the GTI W12 owes much of its menacing visual appeal to the extremely wide stance it haunches on, partly due to the axles being repositioned 70mm closer into the body and the overall width is now 1.88 metres.
The mid-engine layout makes rear-wheel drive possible, and a six-speed automatic transmission transfers 477 kW to the massive 295mm rear tyres. A torque peak of 750 Nm taxes traction to the maximum in every gear.
Keeping the GTI W12 shape as pure and true to the current GTI as possible, while retaining enough aerodynamic effect and downforce to keep the awesomely powerful W12 on the road, designers decided against the obligatory rear wing. Instead the carbon-fibre roof is part of an integrated design package which acts as a diffuser.
The interior is a synergy of everyday luxury and racing reality. Leather trim is Alcantara, while fire extinguishers are integrated place of the glove compartment.
Performance is way outside the usual domain of the GTI and other hot hatches. The GTI W12 does 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and powers on to a top speed of 325 km/h, leaving various exotic supercars trailing.