Scant days after announcing that a GTI Clubsport S had lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in record time, earning it the “most powerful GTI ever” title (due to its 305-hp 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine output), Volkswagen treated the world to a more powerful GTI.
The year’s GTI gathering at Maria Wörth, on the southern shore of Lake Wörthersee, celebrates 40 years of the model, which Volkswagen tags as “40 years of hearts beating faster,” so to celebrate, a team of trainees from Volkswagen and its subsidiary Sitech Sitztechnik (which deals in seat designs) created the one-off 394-hp Golf GTI Heartbeat.
The power is carried inside with a total of 1,360 watts of sound put out through seven speakers, and it’s all wrapped up in a unique paint job and complementary interior treatment.
“During the creation of their dream GTI, our apprentices learn about the complexity of automobile production,” says Peter Christ, Head of Automotive Technology Training in Wolfsburg. “We select especially talented young people and give them an opportunity at an early stage to learn from experienced colleagues from the entire company – for example, from the design departments, the MultiMedia Center, the pilot hall and the paint shop.”
It took nine months for the 12 aspiring car makers (aged 20-26, training in five different disciplines) to put together the GTI Heartbeat from a standard GTI. The exterior is painted in reflex silver metallic, with the roof and hood in contrasting dark grey foil and contrasting honeycombs in bright tornado red, grey and silver adorning the hood, roof and rear haunches. The sides are finished off with 20-inch bright aluminum BBS wheels.
The interior features two folding racing bucket seats (borrowed from the record setting GTI Clubsport S) and repeats of the honeycomb exterior print. Also repeated from the outside doors and roof is a “40” emblem in tribute to the GTI 40th anniversary, embroidered on the seat head restraints and repeated on the door trim. Heartbeat symbols also decorate the door trims, as well as the panel below the glove box.
The rear seats have been removed in order to make room for the new sound system, which features LED lighting and engraved glass covers.
This is the ninth concept premiered at Wörthersee by apprentices in Volkswagen’s Vocational Training program.
A second concept — the Golf R Variant Performance 35 — created by apprentices from Zwickau, Saxony also had its world premiere. The “35” refers to the metric horsepower boost, which takes the 2.0 turbo “four” up to 350 PS (345 hp), as well as the 35th gathering of enthusiasts at Maria Wörth.
Among its highlights is a multi-layer hand-painted exterior (in quartzite/tornado red), hood vents, a 2,500-watt sound system installed in the wagon’s luggage area along with a children’s run bike (no pedals), and an interior to match the exterior paint scheme with the addition of an airbrushed ceiling with LED “stars.”