Local enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the launch of the 147 kW 2,0 litre FSI-powered VW Golf 5 GTI in South Africa and reports from abroad suggest Volkswagen chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder wants to consolidate the brand’s sportier image by putting the Concept R, Concept C and performance saloon models into production.

Local enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the launch of the 147 kW 2,0 litre FSI-powered VW Golf 5 GTI in South Africa and reports from abroad suggest Volkswagen chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder wants to consolidate the brand’s sportier image by putting the Concept R, Concept C and performance saloon models into production.


At the international launch of the Golf 5 GTI last year, Volkswagen admitted what hot hatch lovers the world over had been saying for years. The immortal GTI badge, made famous in the late 70s and early 80s, became nothing more than a marketing “sticker”… something the Wolfsburg company wanted to put right by developing the Golf 5’s GTI model (which will be launched locally next week) to be a proper driver’s car. Click here for the GTI’s driving impression.


But the enthusiastic spirit in which the latest GTI was conceived has not faded at Volkswagen. Pischetsrieder, who famously encouraged BMW to build the unconventional and brash M Coupé during his tenure at the Munich-based company, recently told that roadster and coupe versions of the mid-engined Concept R, which drew race reviews at the 2003 Frankfurt Show, would definitely go into production.


Some observers believed that the jaw-dropping two-seater concept, which was styled under the guidance of Murat Gunak, would be too complex and expensive to put into production.


But Pischetsrieder said “the roadster will be built,” and also hinted Volkswagen would retain the concept’s mid-rear mounted engine layout. ‘Pedestrian regulations are extremely difficult to comply with using a transversely-mounted engine at the front”.


According to a British publication, the production versions of the Concept R will employ a specially-adapted rear-wheel-drive platform. Engines should include naturally-aspirated and turbocharged versions of Volkswagen’s 2,0-litre four-cylinder and 3,6-litre V6 engines, mated with either six-speed manual or optional DSG transmissions.


The folding hard-top roof is likely to make way for a lighter and cheaper-to-produce ragtop. According to Wolfsburg sources, the coupé (in the mould of the forthcoming Porsche Cayman, with greater body stiffness and more stowage space than its roadster cousin), was being discussed but had not yet been signed off.


Volkswagen’s new-found focus on niche markets has reportedly also led to the development of a “four-door coupé”. Although at a very early stage of development, the new model was designed to sit on the same platform as production versions of the Concept C and Audi TT.


According to , the model would comprise components from the Golf and Passat, and could be offered with front- and four-wheel drive configurations. A range of in-line four-cylinder and V6 petrol engines, including a turbocharged 260 kW 3,6-litre V6 powerplant, look set to be offered.

Original article from Car