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Carlex Criollo is a Volkswagen Multivan shrine to Alcantara, leather and... fish

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 10:15:00 EST

A keen angler recently went to Polish tuner Carlex Design (the same folks who did that steampunk Mini Countryman a while back) for a revamp of his Volkswagen Multivan. What resulted is perhaps the most striking - yet fishing-unfriendly - interior we've ever seen in a van. Below the shoulder line, if a surface isn't covered in cross-stitched Alcantara, then it's covered in cross-stitched leather. Even the steering wheel airbag boss. And the seat supports. And the cupholders.
The brown hue of the Multivan's interior is called Criollo, named for an especially fine specimen of cocoa. The finishing touch on the overhaul is a fileting knife that Carlex made for the owner. We imagine he'll use the knife for the marine life, but keep his van far away from it.

VW confirms Golf GTD diesel coming to US for 2016

Wed, 03 Jul 2013 11:00:00 EST

Part of the Volkswagen Golf recipe that has helped the car sell more than 30 million units in just under 40 years is the number of variants in which the hatchback is offered. Building on that range here in the US, Automotive News is reporting that we will finally be getting the sporty Golf GTD, likely as a 2016 model. It's the GTD, you'll recall, that crosses the performance abilities of the venerable GTI with a powerful and fuel-efficient diesel engine.
After speaking with Andreas Valbuena, Volkswagen product manager for the Golf, AN not only says that the GTD will for sale in the US in a couple years, it also estimates a baseline price of around $27,000, which would place it between the current pricing for the GTI and the Golf R. The GTD is launching in Europe this summer, but we won't be getting the seventh-generation Golf in the US for another year. The news about the performance diesel model isn't entirely unexpected - VW officials have been hinting at it for at least a year now, going so far as to import a sixth-generation model for media test drives on US soil, a task we happily took them up on last year.
The Mk VII GTD uses VW's 2.0-liter TDI engine with output increased to 184 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, allowing the car to sprint to 60 miles per hour in about seven seconds while returning more than 40 mpg in highway driving. We can't wait.

VW Up Buggy may be headed to showrooms

Tue, 02 Jul 2013 11:29:00 EST

Volkswagen showed six conceptual takes on its Up at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, one of those being the Up Buggy. Although few will probably remember it, VW has not forgotten it, applying for a patent for the Meyers Manx revival roadster way back in March 2012 and being approved in June of this year, according to a report in Autocar. That will give the automaker a 14-year lock on the design while it decides whether to move forward with a reboot of its past.
A patent doesn't mean the Up Buggy will ever move beyond the sheet-of-paper stage, but Autocar says VW is studying the market to see if a production version is feasible. We can't see North America ever getting it, but even so, we wouldn't complain if they made it - especially if they put an exposed engine in back that was set off by 18-inch-long twin tailpipes jutting straight up into the air. However, for a company that aims to be the world's number-one automaker by 2018, a niche vehicle for its mass-market brand would be a surprising use of resources.

VW Golf GTI wrung out by Chris Harris

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 20:00:00 EST

Enthusiasts like nothing more than to crucify modern interpretations of their favorite performance models for failing to live up to some imagined ethos. Even the Volkswagen GTI has suffered its fair share of slings and arrows for growing in size and curb weight. Chris Harris recently spent some time with the all-new MK VII GTI to find out if growing up means giving up on what makes the machine so special.
Judging by his comments, Harris certainly doesn't think so. Yes, the new GTI is considerably more comfortable than its predecessors, but that's hardly a bad thing. The multitude of driving modes actually seem to add depth to the car rather than simply try to force one tool to do many jobs, and Harris even finds the machine's electronic power steering tolerable. As a result, Harris goes so far as to call the Volkswagen GTI "one of the best cars to actually own." How's that for high praise? You can watch the video for yourself by scrolling below.

VW agrees to halt next-gen rally car development to help others stay in WRC

Sat, 22 Jun 2013 09:00:00 EST

Volkswagen has petitioned the FIA to hold on to the current specifications for cars in the World Rally Championship, according to Autosport.com. The move is evidently an effort to keep as many competitors in the sport as possible, despite the fact that using the current spec racers may actually hurt Volkswagen's chances at winning. The three factory teams currently competing in the WRC are at the end of a three-year homologation cycle at the end of 2013, and new cars are expected to bow next year. But developing new racers could cost as much as $4.7 million.
That price tag would put M-Sport (which fields Ford racers) out of the WRC game for 2014 and would put Citroën participation in question as well. VW has already begun work on the next iteration of its Polo R WRC, and the hatch has nabbed four wins in six rounds this season. Now it appears that car won't bow until at least 2015. The FIA has officially agreed to freeze homologation of new WRC cars until the end of next season.

Porsche-Piech buy 10% stake in VW's holding company

Tue, 18 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST

In August, 2009, as the scuttled merger of Porsche and Volkswagen had gone bad and Porsche was backed up against the ropes, Porsche Automobil Holding SE (PAHSE) relinquished a ten-percent stake in itself to Qatar Holdings as well as options it held on 17 percent of VW shares. The sale meant that, for the first time since the founding of the company 61 years before, an entity outside the Porsche and Piech families had a say in the running of PAHSE.
Buying that ten-percent stake back returns full ownership to the two families, the holding company's sole possession being ownership of 50.7 percent of VW's common shares. The price paid wasn't disclosed, but at market rates the purchase would be worth close to $1.25 billion. Qatar intends to hold onto the 17-percent stake it has in Volkswagen.

NA auto output to reach 11-year peak

Thu, 13 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST

According to Automotive News, automakers are expected to manufacture 16 million light vehicles in North America in 2013. That's up 500,000 units from last year and marks the largest number since 2002. The prediction comes courtesy of LMC Automotive and IHS Automotive, which point to the improving US economy as a bellwether for total production. LMC Automotive says North America will produce 16 million vehicles while IHS has a slightly more optimistic forecast of 16.1 million units. A total of seven automakers are slated to increase production on the continent this year. Nissan is set to see the largest jump at 20 percent over last year.
Volkswagen, meanwhile, is one of the only manufacturers predicted to scale back production. Analysts expect the German company's output to fall by 23 percent to 170,000 units, thanks in part to slow demand for the Volkswagen Passat and Jetta.

1000-hp Mk1 VW Golf is terrifyingly cool

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 19:58:00 EST

There are plenty of things to love about the Mk1 Volkswgen Golf. The machine's horsepower isn't one of them. From the factory, the little hatch cranked a breathy 112 horsepower from the most robust form of its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Boba motoring, however, has taken that figure and multiplied it by a factor of nearly 10. If 1,000 horsepower sounds terrifying in a machine with a wheelbase of just 94.5 inches, it should. A massive Garrett GTX4202R turbo force-feeds the little mill through a tweaked 16-valve KR head. The crew calls the beast the 16Vampir, and we think that's fitting.
Of course, we'd wager you quit reading right about the time you set your eyes on that headline. Those of you who've stuck around this long can point yourselves below to see the maniacal creation in action. You won't be disappointed.

VW builds 250,000th Passat in Chattanooga in just two years

Sun, 26 May 2013 09:01:00 EST

It hasn't been without incident or union organizing drive, but the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, TN has built its 250,000 Passat in just a little over two years. The Night Blue Passat TDI with black leather has come just two years and five weeks after the first customer car came off the line on April 18, 2011.
In the last year the plant operated at the 150,000-unit capacity that it was intended for, but the downturn in Passat sales and subsequent worker layoffs mean it will be a challenge to repeat the feat. The plant does have the world's largest solar park, though, and you can't take that away from them.
You'll find the official hand-clapping in the press release below.

2015 VW Golf R caught getting a flogging on 'Ring

Wed, 22 May 2013 12:45:00 EST

The upcoming version of the Volkswagen Golf R is nearly ready for prime time, if this video of the car flying around the Nürburgring is any indication. The all-wheel-drive R seems to make quick, neat work of the corners we see here, and sounds pretty devilish in the process.
Expectations are that the new Golf R will run a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (what else?), tuned to produce even more than the current car's 256 horsepower. (Some sources have indicated outputs as high as 286 horsepower, with 280 pound-feet of torque. It's still not clear if Volkswagen will bring the six-speed dual-clutch transmission to the US-spec Golf R in this next go-round or if we'll stick to having only... eh... the stick.
In either case - watching the video below will only whet your appetite for the new, highest performing member of the Golf family.