1969 VW EA 276 concept
It’s the Golf before the Golf. Back in 1969, five years prior to the launch of the first-generation model, the EA 276 was unveiled and to this day it’s seen as the precursor of the original Golf. It had the same front-wheel drive, front-engined layout, with a fairly large tailgate to make it family friendly. Power came from a Beetle-derived air-cooled boxer engine, which was replaced by a water-cooled motor on the production Golf to drive down production costs. The unique car wasn’t entirely functional, but it did pave the way for what was to become a massive hit for VW.
2015 VW Golf Variant Biturbo Edition concept
Diesel engines might be under heavy fire, but the TDI badge has a special place in the hearts of many loyal VW fans. In the pre-Dieselgate era, apprentices from Zwickau were given a Golf wagon to spice it up a notch. Aside from applying a two-tone theme inside and out, they got rid of whatever was underneath the car’s hood and replaced the engine with a torquey biturbodiesel 2.0-liter four-cylinder borrowed from the Passat BiTDI. With 368 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters) on tap, you can imagine it easily outshined the Golf GTD.
2005 VW Golf GTE Sport concept
A Golf that doesn’t actually look like a Golf, the futuristic GTE Sport is a tri-motor concept with a combustion engine teamed up with a couple of electric motors to produce a combined 400 hp. Its sharp body with gullwing doors is made mostly out of carbon and houses a battery pack with enough juice for a pure electric range of 31 miles (50 kilometers). It’s an all-wheel-drive car with a quoted top speed of 174 mph (280 kph).
2014 VW Golf GTI Roadster Vision Gran Turismo concept
Although it was born in the exciting world of video games (Gran Turismo 6), the two-seat convertible actually made it in the metal with its futuristic low-slung body. A rear wing at the back and a 503-horsepower V6 at the front allowed the concept to steal the show at Wörthersee back in 2014. While the “GTI” in its name might tempt you to believe it has a front-wheel-drive layout, the one-off was actually AWD. Top speed? 192 mph (309 kph).
2016 VW Golf R Variant Performance 35 concept
We’re suckers for a wagon, especially for one with a high-powered engine and all-wheel drive. Shown at last year’s Wörthersee, the eye-catching one-off came to life thanks to VW’s apprentices from the Sachsen plant in Germany. They decided to go with a hand-painted quartzite and tornado red paint, including for the vented hood. The Golf R’s engine was dialed to a meaty 350 hp and the interior cabin received LEDs to mimic Rolls-Royce’s fancy Starlight Headliner… in a Golf!
2013 VW Golf Design Vision GTI concept
With all-wheel drive, a stripped-out two-seater interior, and a biturbo VR6 engine, this is a hardcore Golf built primarily for the track. Created just for show, the concept has the same wheelbase as the regular seventh-generation model, but overall it is shorter, wider, and much lower to give it that aggressive stance. With a little over 500 horsepower distributed to both axles, the Design Vision GTI makes the Golf R seem a bit soft. It was actually built to be driven as some had the privilege to take it out for a quick spin, though they didn’t get the chance to test the concept’s quoted 186 mph (300 kph) top speed.
2015 VW Golf GTI Supersport Vision Gran Turismo
At the heart of this racy Golf was the famous VR6 engine, but dialed to a whopping 503 horsepower to make the all-wheel-drive machine ready to battle the other cars in Gran Turismo 6. This one too was envisioned with all-wheel drive and had an impressive top speed of 186 mph (300 kph), though this number was purely theoretical. As you would expect to see from a concept, regardless of make and model, it had a gigantic set of wheels.
2007 VW Golf Variant RaVe 270 concept
This was a hybrid concept, but not in the traditional sense of the word. It used the upgraded engine of the GTI combined with the all-wheel-drive system of the R32 to create the perfect all-rounder. With leather bucket seats, 270 hp, and a powerful 1,400-watt sound system, the special project built by Volkswagen Individual GmbH made a big splash a decade ago at Wörthersee.
2014 VW Golf R400 concept
Ah, the one that got away. VW actually gave the R400 the proverbial stamp of approval, but then Dieselgate happened and the project had to be abruptly abandoned to save money. The production version was actually supposed to be even more powerful, with a rumored 420 hp expected from the uber hatch and its EA888 2.0-liter mill. For what it’s worth, a Golf R with oval exhaust tips was seen in September at the Nürburgring and it might have had something do with the rumors of a more potent version of the engine for a future Audi model.
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