Most concept cars never make it to production, but many preview what an automaker has planned for its future cars in terms of design and technology.
As one of the largest mainstream automakers in the world, Volkswagen’s concept cars are typically a bit more conservative than other companies, but that doesn’t mean they’re boring. Over the years, Volkswagen has created some really unique and crazy concepts.
It may seem that Volkswagen has been focused on crossovers and SUVs recently, but there’s more to the automaker than just family haulers. As it continues to work on changing its image following the massive diesel scandal, the automaker is focusing on hybrids and electric cars, but it has had some pretty interesting sports car concepts in the past as well.
Below are our picks for the Top 5 coolest Volkswagen concepts ever made.
It may be Volkswagen’s most recent concept car, but it’s also arguably one of the most important in the automaker’s history. Volkswagen is recovering from a massive worldwide diesel scandal and is trying to turn the page by investing heavily into electrification. Although the automaker has the Volkswagen e-Golf in its lineup, the I.D. Concept represents a new generation of electric vehicles built on the company’s new Modular Electric Drive kit.
Volkswagen plans on introducing an entire fleet of electric vehicles in the future and the I.D. Concept is expected to go on sale by 2020, offering a range between 279 and 373 miles while being powered by a 168-horsepower electric motor.
Premiering at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the Volkswagen XL Sport at the time featured the world’s most powerful two-cylinder engine, courtesy of motorcycle company Ducati. The XL Sport was based on the Volkswagen XL1, the most fuel-efficient production car of all time, but featured sportier styling elements that made it look more like a supercar than a gas sipper. With 197 horsepower generated from the Ducati engine, the XL Sport had an impressive top speed of 168 mph, while being capable of going zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.
Like the XL1, the XL Sport’s body is made of mostly carbon fiber panels, while its wing doors give it a high-end sports car appearance.
Golf GTE Sport
Serving as a concept that shows how electrification can benefit performance, the Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport made its North American debut at the 2015 L.A. Auto Show. Sporting a 1.6-liter TSI engine adapted from the automaker’s two-time World Rally Championship winning Polo R WRC, the Golf GTE Sport also boasts a pair of electric motors, each providing 113 hp. With the engine delivering 295 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, the total system churns out 494 lb-ft of torque, allowing the Golf GTE Sport Concept to go zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.
The important thing, however, is that the Golf GTE Sport Concept previewed how future Golf GT models could be styled, with sleek, sporty lines and a wide stance. It also previewed how Volkswagen envisions its sports cars of the future, providing more than adequate performance when wanted, but also offering zero-emissions driving when needed.
You might be surprised to learn this, but the Bugatti Veyron was actually based on a Volkswagen supercar. But before there was a Volkswagen supercar, there was the W12 Syncro Concept that debuted at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show sporting a 5.6-liter W12 engine with 414 hp. Penned by Italdesign, the W12 Syncro set out to prove Volkswagen could build a supercar, as well as a large and reliable engine for its luxury and high-end sports cars.
Four years later, at the same show in Tokyo, Volkswagen unveiled the W12 Nardo, packing 591 hp and 458 lb-ft of torque.
GTI Supersport Vision Gran Turismo
The Vision Gran Turismo concepts have given automakers a platform to really push the boundaries of design, and the Volkswagen GTI Supersport Vision Gran Turismo Concept is no different. It first debuted at the annual GTI festival at Wörthersee, Austria, in 2014, sporting a two-seat convertible configuration with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine pushing 503 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque.
Like other Vision Gran Turismo concepts, the GTI Supersport might not have a lot of realistic features, but it does show what the automaker is capable of doing and what it has envisioned for the future of automotive. Sure, Volkswagen might be investing heavily into electrified powertrains, crossovers, and SUVs, but it can still prove that not all its vehicles have to be boring, even if they’re just concepts.
Discuss this story on our Volkswagen Forum