At the legendary GTI meet at Wörthersee (28 to 31 May), Volkswagen is erasing the boundaries between the virtual and real worlds. That is because, in a world premiere, the inventor of the Golf GTI is presenting a show car which was originally created as a purely computer generated car in bits and bytes for the PlayStation®3 classic “Gran Turismo 6” (“GT6” developed by Polyphony Digital Inc.): the “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo”. The two-seat convertible is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine that produces a power of 370 kW / 503 PS. The V6 TSI develops a maximum torque of 560 Nm between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm; 500 Nm of that torque is already available at 2,000 rpm in the direct-injection petrol engine. The enormous power of the TSI is transferred to the 20-inch wheel-tyre combination via a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) and all-wheel drive system (4MOTION). The lightweight 1420 kg super sports car reaches 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds. V/max: 309 km/h!
Volkswagen and Sony Computer Entertainment. The “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo” is the result of cooperation between Volkswagen and Sony Computer Entertainment. Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design at Volkswagen: “When Sony Computer Entertainment asked us if we would develop a Vision GT vehicle exclusively for the game to mark the 15th anniversary of Gran Turismo we didn’t hesitate for a moment.” An in-house competition was immediately launched and young Volkswagen designers submitted their designs. The submissions were judged by Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen Brand, and no less than Kazunori Yamauchi, Director of Polyphony Digital and Vice-President of Sony Computer Entertainment who is the inventor of the “Gran Turismo series”.
Kazunori Yamauchi is a GTI fan. The Japanese executive has his own stable of super sports cars that includes the icon of all sporty compacts: the Golf GTI. Bischoff and Yamauchi finally chose two designs, which were then developed further. Designers Malte Hammerbeck and Domen Rucigaj were in charge of developing the exterior, whilst Guillermo Mignot was responsible for the interior. The entire development process was realised on the computer; even the 3D model of the vehicle was purely virtual.
GTI from PS3 game becomes reality. Together, the three colleagues formed a sort of “Vision GTI-GT6 task force” together with other designers. Just a few weeks later, their “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo” was ready. Sony Computer Entertainment and Volkswagen unveiled the version for the virtual world of Gran Turismo 6 on 26 May. Just three days later a sensation: on 29 May Volkswagen will make the “GTI Roadster” that was designed for the PS3 a reality and present it as a superlative sports car at the GTI Meet in Reifnitz, Austria – in tribute to fans of the Golf GTI. And fans of the “GT6” world. From mid June “GT6” players will be able to download the “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo” for PS3.
Most spectacular GTI ever. Since Volkswagen designers gave their fantasy free reign in designing the “GTI Roadster” for “GT6” – and were able to overlook production model constraints entirely (e.g. producibility and selling price) – the resulting car is certainly the most spectacular Golf GTI ever! Klaus Bischoff: “The Vision GT project offered a wonderful opportunity to sketch out extreme ideas and design elements of the GTI that are portrayed as vibrantly, dynamically and emotionally as possible. Further development of an unmistakable design and a love for detail reflect the high standard shared by the ‘Volkswagen GTI’ and the ‘Gran Turismo’ by Sony and PlayStation® product brands. We were all really pleased to have created a vehicle that game players can use to get an incomparable virtual impression of the world of the GTI.”
GTI W12-650, Design Vision GTI, GTI Roadster. In designing the “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo”, Volkswagen revolutionized the visual concept of the “Design Vision GTI” concept car that was presented at Wörthersee in 2013. It was further developed, reinvented and sent into the future as a roadster. The specifics: the roadster was completely redeveloped, however the “Design Vision GTI” of 2013 still paved the way, because Volkswagen used it to show how a GTI for motorsport might appear – for the first time since the “Golf GTI W12-650” was presented in Wörthersee in 2007. Important to know: design highlights of the 2013 concept car are the C pillars and side sills that flare out from the body on a second level. Designers exteriorised them as independent body elements to create space for the car’s much larger track widths and specially developed 20-inch wheels. Despite its extreme modifications, the “Design Vision GTI”, with a top speed of 300 km/h, had a very homogeneous appearance – as though it might start in a car race tomorrow. The reason is that designers based their work precisely on the fundamentals of Volkswagen Design-DNA – despite all conceivable freedoms of design. The same applies to the new “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo”. A superlative two-seat convertible GTI which – and this is crucial – takes up the idea of the C pillars and side sills (carbon on the Roadster) and expresses it on another level.
Extreme proportions. Both concept cars show the potential of Volkswagen DNA, and that they will carry the GTI far into the future. The goal in the “GTI Roadster” was to push the “Design Vision GTI” concept to even greater extremes. The wheelbase of the Roadster, at 2,494 mm, is significantly shorter than that of the production GTI and the “Design Vision GTI”. With its minimal overhangs and minimalistic height (1,090 mm) and width (1,894) that is extreme in relation to them, the 4,158 mm long Roadster also has proportions that will not only make the jaws of GTI fans drop.
C pillars and side sills as a new level. As mentioned, the biggest parallels between the two Wörthersee concept cars are found in the area of the C pillars and side sills. On the GTI Roadster, they are once again independent body elements, but this time they are integrated in a convertible sports car whose dual monocoque stylistically links to the world of Formula sports cars.
Exterior design – the GTI as roadster
Convertible GTI for the race track. Volkswagen designers developed a progressive super sports car for race courses that are virtually simulated. Despite this virtual nature, the “GTI Roadster” gives viewers a way to experience unique aspects of the GTI world. Moreover, all those who have seen the “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo” live at Wörthersee and might want to even take the wheel in the dual monocoque sometime, can meld the virtual and real worlds on their monitor with a PS3 controller in hand.
GTI of the future. The fact is that the design of the “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo” launches the original GTI and its seven evolutionary stages far into the future. The visual image of the visionary two-seater already promises a direct driving experience. Its extreme acceleration potential in interplay with its extremely swept-back windscreen makes the car very easy to experience directly, both in the game and in reality. The driver sits in the monocoque and races around the track of the GT6 world from the height and perspective of a Formula race car driver.
Aerodynamics is everything. The roadster body was aerodynamically optimised by numerous modifications. Visually prominent at the rear is the large spoiler or wing. It creates a strong downforce, which transfers the extreme engine power to the road in a controlled way via an all-wheel drive system (4MOTION). In the overall visual concept, it is fascinating how the rear spoiler is integrated into the design of the “GTI Roadster”. Background: on the “Design Vision GTI” presented in 2013, the outlying C pillars transitioned into the roof. Now – as a defining design element of the side profile – they form a roll-over protection bar. The rear spoiler, with its lengthened design, gives the appearance of a wing hovering behind the roadster.
Red, the colour of the GTI. The “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo” sports a radiant, intensive red metallic colour, a new interpretation of the “Tornado Red” monochrome colour – which is the classic GTI red. Designers gave the name “Gran Turismo Red” to the new colour. Malte Hammerbeck: “We were looking for a very provocative and aggressive red. The car should look fast – even when the car is standing still – and the paint should emphasise its surface contours. We had excellent success with this high-quality three-layer paint.” All add-on parts are designed in matt carbon as an accent that complements the high-gloss red of the body. Only the radiator grille and the screen over the engine compartment vent are finished in high-gloss black.
Side profile – doors swivel up and forward. Just as cool as the rear spoiler are the doors that swivel up and forward. Visually, they split an extremely prominent character line into an upper and lower half. The contours of the doors are also very distinctive, because they are framed by the side sills (trimmed with the “Gran Turismo” badge at the rear), the C pillar and the extremely flared wheel housings. A small but exclusive detail on the sides: the illuminated GTI badge that is integrated in the “tornado” line. On the upper door section, the side window forms a line that rises forward with the low-profile windscreen. In this area, the GTI Roadster has the appearance of a speedboat; the mirrors with their carbon shells that are mounted on the door shoulders have the look of small wings.
Customised 20-inch wheels. The 20-inch GTI alloy wheels also have a new design. Designers worked body coloured elements into the wheels which are equipped with central locks; these elements form a red circle when the wheels rotate. The front wheels (8.5J x 20, ET32) have 235/35 ZR20 tyres, while the rear wheels (9.5J x 20, ET25) are equipped with 275/30 ZR20 tyres. A close look between the wheel spokes reveals the extremely sturdy ceramic brake discs. On the front wheels, the brake callipers grip discs that are 380 mm in diameter; the rear discs are 356 mm in diameter.
Front end – hovering modules. Viewed directly from the front, the roadster looks like a typical GTI – but one originating from the next decade. Since the concept car is just slightly over one metre tall, the front end was shaped to be extremely low and wide. The GTI front end has a three-dimensional design with bumper modules that appear to hover. Viewed from underneath: A carbon motorsport spoiler shaped as “blades” fills the space between the GTI and the road, and it increases downforce at the front axle. Above them are the bumper, which transitions into the wings on the sides, and a centrally integrated wide radiator grille with a screen in GTI honeycomb design. Its structure intentionally makes use of the available space, creating a distinct three-dimensional effect. The radiator grille is framed by a surface finished in body colour. To the sides of this surface are the vertically arranged LED daytime driving lights and the painted exterior surfaces of the bumper. Above them are the classic red GTI radiator grille cross-stripe, VW badge and GTI logo, another air inlet with honeycomb screen and dual LED headlights. Beneath the headlights, there are two other narrow LED strips for the daytime running lights, which form an unmistakable light signature together with the vertical daytime running lights. Highly precise in styling: the outer lines of the lower bumper air inlet wrap over the contours of the bonnet and towards the rear. This much is certain: On the race courses of the GT6 world, this unmistakable charismatic front-end look will cause some uneasiness when competitors see it approaching in their digital rear-view mirrors. The closer the GTI approaches, the more noticeable is its wedge-shaped air hood on the bonnet; hot air from the engine compartment is vented through it.
Rear section has 3D look. Viewed from the rear, the observer sees how the carbon blades at the front continue uninterrupted across the side sills and into the rear section as a wrap-around element. At the rear, they serve as aerodynamically optimised air guides. Together with the narrow elements in body colour that run parallel to them they frame the lateral air vents and the carbon diffuser in the middle. This diffuser is characterised by strong vertical precious metal slats and two rear light elements mounted in positions similar to those in motorsport. Extending to the sides above them is the bumper with trapezoidal dual exhaust tailpipes (with GTI badge) positioned in the middle of the car. On the next higher level, there are the narrow 3D LED rear lights mounted inside a painted cross bar, and above them the rear spoiler. Here too, designers made use of the depths at different levels as an additional dimension to achieve a 3D look.
Interior design – the GTI with dual monocoque
Uncompromising sporty ergonomics. The driver and passenger are enclosed in a dual monocoque made of carbon. The two sides are partitioned by a middle bar that ascends from rear to front; it is open below. In this lower area, a fire extinguisher was made equally accessible to both driver and passenger, just as in a race car. The “GTI Roadster” is equipped with two race shell seats. The seating position is very low, nearly lying down, so it resembles the ergonomic proportions of a race car. The seats and the four-spoke grip steering wheel are covered with Alcantara. Another feature executed in motorsport style is the cockpit display on a V-shaped wing joined directly to the steering column trim – far forward of the driver. The steering wheel is mounted on a very long, exposed steering column, which is typical of a race car. Designers located the red, illuminated rotary light switch and shift paddles (7-speed DSG) to the left and right of the steering wheel’s central axis. From there, they can be activated intuitively and ergonomically with the thumbs – without the drivers having to take their hands off the steering wheel.
Black, anthracite and a little red. The materials and colours of the interior and exterior were intentionally differentiated in the two different cars: the typical GTI-red is used for some interior accents – in the form of the 5-point safety belts, contrasting stitching on the seats, the handles for opening the doors and controls on the steering wheel – and the rest is used on the exterior. In the “GTI Roadster”, however, the interior colour selections are reduced to “Black” and “Anthracite”; they are the typical interior colours for race cars. Nonetheless, the matt carbon in the cockpit (used for monocoque trim and the instruments) establishes a link to the exterior. Other dominant materials are Alcantara, Dinamica (like Alcantara, it too has microfibres) and aluminium. Inside the “GTI Roadster”, most decorative elements were omitted in favour of an uncompromising and driver-active motorsport look. So that the driver can focus exclusively on the race track – in both the virtual and real worlds!