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Volkswagen Design Vision GTI Concept: Inspired by viewings of ‘The Island’ and ‘Minority Report’

Volkswagen is making a splash at the 2013 LA Auto Show with the Golf ‘Design Vision’ GTI concept. Silly name aside, I get the feeling they were just grabbing advertising words out of a hat, this concept represents the ultimate expression of the Golf.

At nearly 40 years old, the Golf is an elder statesman of the car world, but the souped-up “Design Vision” is positively futuristic. First off, let’s talk performance – and there’s a lot of it.

This formerly ‘sensible’ compact is packing 503 horsepower. That’s a little more than double what you get in a normal GTI, courtesy of two more cylinders and one more turbo.

All this power will yank the car and it’s terrified occupants from 0-62 mph in a heart-stopping 3.9 seconds. That’s faster than a standard Porsche 911.

How VW managed to shoehorn a 3.0-liter V6 and two turbos into an engine bay the size of suitcase is anyone’s guess. But my guess involves German magic, which, being engineering-related, is the most boring magic of all.

This Porsche-pulverizing power is delivered to all four wheels by way of a DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox. I am glad that VW decided to go with all-wheel drive here, after all, trying to pump that much power through the front wheels would have been funny, but not for the driver.

The styling might be just as striking as the performance. The design vision for the Design Vision seems to have come from late night viewings of The Island and Minority Report, because the final result looks more like a movie prop than a normal GTI.

The car is shorter, lower and, wider than a normal GTI, giving it the proportions of a shoebox. But it is a curvaceous shoebox, with aggressive lines sliding up from flared wheel arches to a rakishly raked windshield.

The areo kit for this car can’t possibly be described as subtle, but, considering the wrath-filed heart that beats beneath, it doesn’t need to be. The effect may not be very mature, but I like it. Read into that what you will.

The interior styling is not quite as sharp. I like the aggressive tack taken by the designers, but the execution falls short. The best analogy I can think of is to a mostly finished basement. Sure, there is carpet and drywall, but the drywall isn’t painted and there is no molding. And so it is with the interior of the Design Vision GTI. A lot of the materials look cheap or just unfinished. The dash for instance looks like it is made from the same plastic as a 1996 Dodge Intrepid, and that was terrible when it was new.

I will say that I like the instrument cluster and the steering wheel. They give the car a very stripped-down, race-y feel. It works, especially in conjunction with the aggressive exterior lines. Besides, the car is a concept, and concepts interiors frequently don’t bare close examination.

All and all it is unlikely that anything like the “Design Vision” GTI will ever see showrooms, after all there is probably not much of a market for stripped-down, 500-hp Golfs, but the styling at least may point the direction that VW is heading in.

Remember when VW used to make sensible cars for sensible people?

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