The Mk7 Volkswagen Golf will be joined by a limited run, lightweight performance version of the GTi. News of the carbonfibre and aluminium 'carbon Golf GTi' comes as a GTi test mule has been spied testing in Germany.
The carbon GTi has been conceived partly as a tribute to the original, pared-down GTi. Its front bulkhead, windscreen surround and floor panels will be fashioned from lightweight aluminium and the roof and bonnet from hi-tech carbonfibre. These advanced materials could shave up to 200kg off the Carbon GTi’s kerb weight, compared with today’s GTi, pushing it towards a highly competitive 1125kg.
Sources say the lightweight Golf will showcase VW’s use of hi-tech materials and recall the agility and simplicity of the original GTi, which weighed in at just 810kg.
Power will come from the same 222bhp turbo 2.0-litre engine that is set to power the Mk7 Golf GTi, which means the lighter body will contribute a slight improvement in the 0-62mph time, dropping to under six seconds.
Production will be limited and additional to the standard GTi, with a possible launch in 2014 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Volkswagen Golf.
Two production breakthroughs have made the carbon Golf GTI possible. Sources say the roof is a sandwich of two layers of carbonfibre over a thin steel core, which allows the roof to be welded into the body on a standard production line. And the alloy bulkhead, windscreen surround and complete rear floor — from under the rear seats to the rear bumper — will be rivet/bonded to the steel understructure.
The same technique will also feature in Audi’s next-generation MLB platform for longitudinal-engined models.
Autocar understands that the cost of engineering the part-alloy platform for the Carbon GTI is justifiable because it will also underpin hybrid and electric versions of the new Golf.
Like the standard Mk7 GTi, the Carbon GTi is expected to drive its front wheels through a new ‘VAQ’ front differential. This is, in effect, a Haldex 5 electronically controlled multi-plate clutch.
VW claims the VAQ diff, usually fitted in all-wheel drive systems to divert torque to the rear wheels, delivers “more agile steering behaviour” and a “greater sense of precision through the wheel”. A VAQ-equipped Golf has already lapped the Nürburgring eight seconds faster than prototypes with a conventional diff.
Like the other cars in the new line-up, the Carbon GTi will get a variable-rate steering rack, which is claimed to give the Golf more direct feel in the straight-ahead position and a “noticeably improved dynamic performance” during cornering.