Volkswagen blurs boundaries with the sensational GTI Roadster Vision Gran Turismo
By C.C. Weiss
June 3, 2014
Much like Mercedes did with last year's AMG Vision Gran Turismo, Volkswagen brings the virtual world to reality with its own Vision Gran Turismo. Designed to drive the courses of PlayStation3's "Gran Turismo 6", the juiced up GTI Roadster Vision Gran Turismo was also built out as a show car for this year's Wörthersee festival. The 503-hp roadster takes styling from last year's Design Vision GTI to new extremes.
Because it was designed for a video game, the GTI Roadster Vision GT was developed jointly by Volkswagen and Sony Computer Entertainment. After Sony asked VW to develop a car exclusively for GT6, the automaker held an in-house design competition and the two companies pursued the process through to both virtual and real-world GTI Roadster Vision GTs. They unveiled the GT6 virtual car on May 26 and the real version a few days later at Wörthersee.
Just like last year's Design Vision GTI, the GTI Roadster Vision GT packs 503 horses (375 kW) and 413 lb-ft (560 Nm) of available torque in a 3.0-liter twin-turbo TSI V6. That engine shoots output to all four wheels via a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. The GTI Roadster is actually a bit speedier than last year's hatchback, capable of tearing to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 3.5 seconds and cranking the speedometer needle to 192 mph (309 km/h).
The powertrain behind the Vision concept is familiar, but the look and feel are brand new. Volkswagen used the Design Vision GTI as a starting point before slicing off the roof and most of the windshield, exaggerating the styling out further, and covering it all in a luscious red paint job. The result is video game-level awesomeness that you can touch, feel and (theoretically) drive. Volkswagen calls it the "most spectacular GTI ever," and we'd have trouble arguing.
Specific styling elements developed from last year's Design Vision include the body wrapping C pillars and beefy side skirts, which are even more pronounced on the Roadster. Without a roof to blend into, the C pillars are left to round up into a rollover bar and float backward over the rear wheels, blending with the rear bumper. The pillars also serve as the end points for the sharp side creases.
The concept's low windscreen is flanked by equally low-profile side windows designed to give the car a speedboat-like look. Up front, a three-dimensional face provides home for squinty LED headlights, a large, smiley grille and a splitter. Carbon edging stretches from the front splitter, around the fenders, back via the side skirts and around into a rear diffuser highlighted by red light strips. Above that diffuser, exhaust finds its way out via dual trapezoidal tailpipes and air shooting over the low, race-inspired cabin is transformed into downforce by a huge rear wing. The car stands on 20-in center-lock aluminum alloys with body color accents and 235/35 ZR20 front and 275/30 ZR20 rear tires.
"The Vision GT project offered a wonderful opportunity to sketch out extreme ideas and design elements of the GTI that are portrayed as vibrantly, dynamically and emotionally as possible," explains Klaus Bischoff, VW head of design.
The Roadster Vision GT has been downsized compared to the Design Vision and production GTI. It measures 163.7 x 74.6 x 42.9 in (415.8 x 189.5 x 109 cm) and rides on a 98.2-in (249.4-cm) wheelbase. It weighs 3,133 lb (1,421 kg).
The Roadster Vision GT is a design that would look good in nearly any color, but the glossy metallic red paint accentuates it perfectly. The "Gran Turismo Red" is a new interpretation of the classic Golf GTI option "Tornado Red."
"We were looking for a very provocative and aggressive red," says Malte Hammerbeck, one of the designers behind the new show car. "The car should look fast, even when it is standing still, and the paint should emphasize its surface contours."
Matte carbon wrestles the viewer's attention (briefly) away from the dazzling red body, drawing focus on the bolt-on parts. The radiator and engine compartment screen have a high-gloss black finish.
Driver and passenger enter the GTI Roadster Vision GT by way of doors that swivel up and forward. They're seated in racing seats set low in a dual carbon fiber monocoque, a set-up that's inspired by formula racing cars. The two occupants are separated by a central bar, an element that reminds us of another fiery red VW Group roadster concept, the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador J. That central bar houses a fire extinguisher. There is a bit of GTI red contrast stitching to offset the black and anthracite interior, but Volkswagen keeps decorative elements to a minimum, remaining true to the race car-inspired nature of the car.
When it's time to take the track, the driver wraps his fingers around the Alcantara-dressed, four-spoke grip steering wheel that tops the long, exposed steering column. The cockpit display is mounted directly on the steering column far in front of the driver.
Even the very well-heeled won't be able to buy a GTI Roadster Vision Gran Turismo to drive on their local byways, but Gran Turismo 6 players will be able to download it starting in mid June. Watch a quick recap of the Wörthersee unveiling in the video below.