12 apprentices spent nine months designing and building this ultra-hot, one-off Golf GTI; it's being shown alongside the new GTI Clubsport S

Volkswagen’s latest batch of apprentices has created a 394bhp version of the Golf GTI called the Heartbeat, which is on show at the Wörthersee meeting in Austria this week.

The one-off model, created by a team of 12 apprentices aged between 20 and 26 years old, has taken nine months to create and features a heavily reworked version of the GTI Performance’s turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. After mechanical and software upgrades, peak power has grown by a substantial 167bhp, dwarfing the output of VW’s latest fastest production Golf, the 306bhp GTI Clubsport S.

The car also sits on lowered suspension and features aluminium BBS 20in wheels. It has aggressive-looking bodywork and is finished in two-tone grey, and features a 1360-watt sound system in the back.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a Golf with close to 400bhp. The R400 concept of 2014 was destined for production after its Beijing motor show debut, but despite hope that it would make production, the model has now been shelved.

Golf R Variant Performance 35

Alongside the Heartbeat at Wörthersee is another modified Golf, but this one is based on the estate all-wheel-drive Golf R and is called the Variant Performance 35. It was created by a different team of apprentices from Volkswagen’s Sachsen plant (where the Golf estate is exclusively produced), and has had its 2.0-litre engine uprated to produce 345bhp.

Although this is a lower power output than the other car, the Variant Performance 35’s key feature is its multi-layer exterior paintjob, which has been applied entirely by hand. The exterior pattern continues into the cabin where there are also on LED stars in the headliner.

Like the other one-off Golf, the Variant Performance 35 has a powerful sound system inside, but this one has 12 speakers capable of outputting 2500 watts.

Volkswagen has also demonstrated its new record-breaking Golf GTI Clubsport S to the world at Wörthersee, just hours after Autocar broke the news that it had stolen the front-wheel drive lap record from Honda at the Nürburgring.

You can read more about the car and its ‘Ring lap here, and meet its driver here.

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Can the hottest Volkswagen Golf GTI ignite the passion and reclaim its crown now lost to the Ford Focus ST?

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4 May 2016
Its really good to see a company giving new recruits an opportunity to be creative, and then to promote it to the world. Surely those apprentices will feel truly appreciated by their employer for many years to come. They haven't had much praise recently, but for this, well done VW.

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