We are making very good friends with our fast, friends. VW unveiled their R GTI concept at SEMA and the watercooled VW fanboy in us is in a state of utter delight. The not-for-production concept (unless some of this treatment makes it to a future R32 or similar model) springs from zero to sixty miles per hour in 4.8 seconds, under heavy tuning from APR-a VW tuner well known in the community.
With an exterior of carbon-fiber body panels (by Volkswagen Chief Designer Derek Jenkins and the VW Design Center in California) and a more powerful 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged four (with a larger Garrett unit with twice the flow, pumping at 21 psi), this is no ordinary design exercise. Although we like the GTI, we recently wrote a review of the $15,000 Rabbit in which we said the base car was a better value than the performance-minded GTI. We encourage VW to do a higher level of GTI, and fast.