Maria Wörth, Austria – Each year the apprentices at Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant build a very special Golf GTI show car for the annual GTI fan festival at the Wörthersee. And this year’s project is even more special, partly because it’s the 10th in the series, and partly because it’s the first hybrid.

It’s called the Golf GTI First Decade and it combines a 300kW petrol engine driving the front wheels with a 12kW, 48-volt electric motor on the rear axle, in a fully running concept, capable of being driven conventionally by the front wheels, in pure electric mode by the rear wheels and and in combined, all-wheel drive mode.

There are two two batteries under the floor of the boot, charged partly by the petrol engine and partly by regenerative braking, allowing silent, zero-emission driving around parking garages, for short distances around residential areas and in stop-go traffic.

The All-wheel drive mode is intended mainly for take-offs on ‘challenging surfaces’ – mud, slush and wet cobblestones!

The modes are selected and controlled either from the car’s infotainment system (more about that later!) or from a tablet, using an app the apprentices developed themselves. These eight young men and five ladies, all aged between 18 and 23, built the car in a little under nine months, 

Three shades of blue

The GTI First Decade is finished in a very dark metallic blue, with go-fast stripes and large areas of foil on the sides in a lighter, satin-finish blue, and royal blue metal-flake detailing on the bumpers, striping and air intakes.

The hubs of the special 20 inch mb Design rims are finished in satin blue to match the foil, and the honeycomb grille and Clubsport spoiler are gloss black, and there’s a race number ‘10’ on each C pillar and a special ‘First Decade’ logo on the tailgate.

The ‘three shades of blue’ theme continues inside, with special sports seats, electrically adjusted from a smartphone or tablet, including several different back massage functions. One of the apprentices, 18-year-old Sarah Isabel Schorle, is training with Sitech, a Volkswagen group company in Wolfsburg that specialises in the development of seats; she designed the seats and trimmed them in a mix of very dark grey nappa leather and perforated alcantara with blue background and contrast stitching, and embroidered ‘10’ logos on the head restraints.

Instead of rear seats and a luggage compartment, the back of the car is completely filled by a 1960 watt sound system with 11 loudspeakers and a subwoofer, as well as a special rear control deck with LED lighting on a carbon-fibre base plate. We don't know whether to say 'Wow!' or reach for the ear-plugs!

IOL Motoring

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