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Volkswagen Doubles Up for Worthersee

VW unveils Golf GTE Sport and GTI Clubsport during annual fest.

by on May.14, 2015

VW envisions a track-ready version of its GTE battery car making nearly 400 hp in plug-in form.

Hot hatch fans gather each year in the Austrian town of Worthersee for the latest news from Volkswagen AG. And the automaker isn’t about to disappoint them this year. In fact, it’s rolling out a pair of offerings at the event.

That includes both the 287-horsepower GTI Clubsport concept and the Golf GTE Sport, a carbon fiber-bodied, 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid. Think of the latter model as a zero-emissions race car, VW suggests.

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The two concept vehicles hint at the direction Volkswagen is taking as it continues to expand the award-winning “family” of Golf variants which already covers a broad range from basic econocar to high-performance hot hatch, with diesel and battery-car versions thrown into the mix.


VW Hopes All-New Golf Will Reignite Sputtering U.S. Sales

Compact models set to debut this spring.

by on Feb.07, 2014

The sporty Golf R model.

Volkswagen of America is hoping the introduction of the all-new GTI and Golf models — as well as revisions to the Jetta — slated to reach in showrooms this spring will help reignite the brand’s sputtering sales in the U.S. market.

The seventh-generation Golf is already a hit in Europe but VW decided to delay its North American launch a year, a move many analysts believe contributed to a sharp decline in its U.S. sales last year after several years of rapid growth.

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The surge began in 2010 and saw VW sell more than 400,000 units in the American market for the first time in 40 years. But progress stalled last year as sales plunged 7% despite the overall U.S. market reaching its highest point since before the recession began.  The downturn was considered a major factor behind the ouster of Volkswagen Group of America CEO Jonathan Browning, even though the maker’s smaller Audi brand achieved a Cinderella-like comeback that saw it set all-time U.S. sales records.


First Drive: Volkswagen Golf GTD

Blowing by 3 motorcycle cops at 120 mph.

by on Jun.25, 2013

VW is giving serious thought to finally bringing the high-performance diesel Golf GTD to the US.

There’s a sickening twist to the stomach when you blow by a cop doing triple digits on the freeway – never mind three of them riding along in the center lane.  Happily, seeing the word, “Polizei” on their jackets reminded us we were on the German Autobahn.  Squeezing back on the throttle, we nudged our little Volkswagen hatchback back up to 120.

It’s been a slow and difficult slog trying to get American motorists to change their perceptions of diesel cars. If any manufacturer has been successful, so far, it’s Volkswagen, oil-burners now accounting for as much as a third of the sales for some of its key models, such as the Passat, Golf and Jetta.

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We’re betting demand could surge even higher once U.S. buyers get access to the Volkswagen GTD, the diesel-powered alternative to the familiar GTI.  Make that “if” they get a chance to buy the sporty Golf variant, as the German maker is still waffling about whether to bring the GTD to the States.  But based on our recent drive of the peppy diesel hatchback we’d be surprised and disappointed if it doesn’t roll into U.S. showrooms in the very near future.


VW Bringing Sporty New GTD, GTI Models to Geneva

Only one of the hot hatches will make it to the U.S.

by on Feb.27, 2013

The new VW GTI will debut in Geneva next month but won't reach the U.S. until 2014.

Volkswagen will launch a pair of hot hatches at the Geneva Motor Show early next month, including one that could surprise folks who haven’t figured out what modern diesels are capable of doing.

For U.S. fans, the big news will be the debut of the seventh-generation Volkswagen GTI, the latest version of this German pocket-rocket now to be offered with an optional performance package that will churn out a hefty 230 horsepower, enough to launch it from 0 to 100 kmh (0 to 62.5 mph) in just 6.4 seconds on the way to a 155 mph top speed.

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For those who want some neck-snapping performance and good fuel economy, the GTD will deliver with a 2-liter turbo-diesel rated at 184 horsepower and a tire-spinning 280 pound-feet of torque.  VW isn’t saying what it’ll do in 0 to 60 launch mode but the GTD boasts a top speed of 143 mph.


First Drive: Volkswagen Golf R

Maker reveals pricing, specs for mean little hatch.

by on Oct.05, 2011

At 256 hp the new 2012 VW Golf R makes 6 more horsepower than the 2008 Golf R32 VR6.

Few makers have been doing better in the U.S. market, in recent months than Volkswagen, which posted a solid 36% jump last month as new models like the 2012 Passat and third-generation Beetle rolled into showrooms.  Anyone who wonders whether VW can keep the momentum going might just consider what else is in the product pipeline – starting with the 2012 Golf R.

The German maker is just making things formal, releasing pricing and specs on the mean little hatch – which we had a chance to spend a brief bit of time scooting around the Virginia countryside in a few weeks back.

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With its well-equipped interior – and a 256-horsepower turbocharged inline-four – the Volkswagen Golf R is destined to change the perceptions of anyone out there who might think the German 5-door is just a gussied-up econobox.

First, the numbers: the 2012 Golf R will set you back $33,990 plus destination charges.  That’s very definitely not econobox territory.  This is a sporty compact for those who believe that very good things can come in small packages – if you’re willing to pay the price.

The 2012 VW Golf R will be offered in both 3- and 5-door packages.