The 310-hp Golf GTI Clubsport S is certainly the main star at the Wörthersee meeting, but VW also has on display something with even more power. Meet the 400-hp Golf GTI Heartbeat one-off.
[update] Extra images added.
Although it has 90 hp more power than the limited-run Golf GTI Clubsport S, VW isn’t saying what is under the hood of this apprentice-built Heartbeat. It only mentions the car is based on the Golf GTI Performance, so it could be fitted with the same turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. Regardless of what powers it, the one-off Heartbeat comes to celebrate the GTI’s 40th anniversary and was created over the course of less than nine months.
Apprentices aged between 20 and 26 training in five different vocations were in charge of the project and they picked a reflex silver metallic body paint. This look was combined with a dark grey foil for the roof and front end to further differentiate it from the regular model. To provide a bit of contrast, there are a bunch of bright tornado red accents that also have a correspondent inside the cabin.
The hot hatchback has also received a custom body kit finished in high-gloss black and has eschewed the stock wheels in favor of a 20-inch BBS set that has special paintwork created specifically for this one-off.
Although interior pics are not available, we do know VW’s apprentices removed the rear seats and modified the trunk to accomodate a 1,360-watt audio system featuring seven speakers, engraved glass covers, and LED lighting.
The VW Golf GTI Heartbeat is the latest example in a long string of one-offs built by the company’s apprentices, such as: 2015 Dark Shine, 2014 Wolfsburg Edition, 2013 Cabrio Austria, 2012 Black Dynamic, and the 2011 Reifnitz. All of these Golf GTIs are just for show to demonstrate the talent of VW’s apprentices, so don’t expect a 400-hp Golf GTI in the near future.
VW Golf GTI Heartbeat
Volkswagen apprentices from Wolfsburg present their Golf GTI Heartbeat with 400 PS (295 kW) at Wörthersee meeting
40 years of the Golf GTI. World premiere on the Wörthersee. Hearts beating faster with anticipation: today, 12 trainees from Volkswagen and Sitech Sitztechnik are presenting their 400 PS (295 kW) Golf GTI Heartbeat in Austria at the international meeting of GTI fans. Fantastic sound, a contrasting color scheme, a honeycomb design and heartbeat symbols as well as a sound system with 1,360 watts from seven speakers make it quite clear: the interior and exterior design of the Golf GTI Heartbeat presented by the budding carmakers is inspired by the emotion of the GTI and the 40th anniversary of the Golf GTI. The unique GTI based on a standard Golf GTI Performance1 was created in slightly less than nine months on the basis of ideas developed by apprentices aged between 20 and 26 training in five different vocations.
Exterior highlights: the two-door sports Golf is painted in reflex silver metallic with the roof and front end covered in a contrasting dark grey foil. GTI honeycombs in bright tornado red with contrasting dark and light grey provide further design accents on the bonnet, the closed roof and on the wings, marking the transition from dark to light. In addition, an individual high-gloss body kit and 20-inch wheels featuring wide tires on BBS aluminum rims with exclusive paintwork accentuate the car's sporting presentation.
Interior highlights: The front of the passenger compartment is dominated by two folding bucket seats from the Golf GTI Clubsport S – decorated by a crystal grey embroidered "40" emblem on the headrest and honeycomb perforations with a red background on the back rests. These are repeated on the door insets. Heartbeat symbols on continuous lines decorate the strips above the door trims and the trim strip below the glove compartment. Instead of rear seats and luggage space, the rear end of the car features a high-end sound system with 1,360 watts from seven speakers and a special HIFI system with LED lighting and engraved glass covers.
The Golf GTI Heartbeat bears witness to the high-quality practically oriented training provided by Volkswagen. From the initial idea to today's world premiere before tens of thousands of GTI enthusiasts at Maria Wörth, the five women and seven men planned almost every step themselves. After discussing many ideas and techniques, they opted for the emotional Heartbeat concept. Finally, they assembled their Golf GTI Heartbeat on its wide wheels.
They are training to be vehicle interior fitters, vehicle paint technicians, automotive mechatronics technicians, a technical product designer and a process technician specializing in plastics and rubber engineering. By working on the Volkswagen Vocational Training project, the young talents gained considerable specialist expertise and skill and grew into a strong team together with project manager Holger Schülke.
"During the creation of their dream GTI, our apprentices learn about the complexity of automobile production," says Peter Christ, Head of Automotive Technology Training in Wolfsburg. "We select especially talented young people and give them an opportunity at an early stage to learn from experienced colleagues from the entire company – for example from the design departments, the MultiMedia Center, the pilot hall and the paint shop."
The Golf GTI Heartbeat is the ninth GTI project vehicle of Volkswagen Vocational Training to be presented by apprentices and to make its world debut at the Wörthersee meeting since 2008.
The Wörthersee Team 2016 from Wolfsburg:
Team members (by training vocations): Automotive mechatronics technicians: Jonas Rohrbeck (22, team spokesperson), Nils Burgstedt (21), David Rodenberg (21) and Tobias Weber (21). Process technician specializing in plastics and rubber engineering: Lisa Brandes (21).Technical product designer: Sandrine Reißig (22). Vehicle interior fitters: Mona Bök (20) and Jacqueline Budich (21, both Volkswagen); Jennifer Hase (21) and Tim Schneider (20, both Sitech). Vehicle paint technicians: Marc Hoffmann (21) and Osema Zouari (26).
Project manager: Holger Schülke. Project coordinator and controller: Martin Nobbe
Sitech Sitztechnik is a Volkswagen Group company specializing in the development and production of vehicle seats.
The Wörthersee GTIs 2008 – 2016 and their highlights (selection):
2008: Golf GTI Performance: gull-wing doors, wide body, three-seater, air suspension
2009: Golf GTI Street: two-tone color scheme with decorative foil
2010: Golf GTI Yellow Pearl: exclusive paintwork with matching interior
2011: Golf GTI Reifnitz: two-seater, multicolor paintwork with seamless transitions, aluminum gear shift knob
2012: Golf GTI Black Dynamic: decorative foil, embossed GTI logos on doors and tailgate
2013: Golf GTI Cabrio Austria: red, white and red paintwork, air outlets with honeycomb pattern
2014: Golf GTI Wolfsburg Edition: Wolfsburg silhouettes on doors, inside and outside
2015: Golf GTI Dark Shine: exhaust system with spectacular sound and valve control
2016: Golf GTI Heartbeat: two-seater with 400 PS (295 kW) power output, two-tone color scheme with dark contrasting foil, interior and exterior with heartbeat symbols and honeycomb pattern details