Volkswagen's design team in Santa Monica, California, headed by Derek Jenkins, was given the task of creating a concept GTI that infused futuristic design elements with the GTI's traditional 'sportiness.' So the idea of the R GTI was born and subsequently unveiled at SEMA 2006.

VW's desire for greater power output was fulfilled by APR, an Alabama-based VAG tuner, in the form of a stage three large turbo upgrade. The install begins with the standard 2.0T FSI engine being stripped of its airbox, intake plumbing, turbocharger assembly, fuel system, and complete stock exhaust. The APR turbo kit consists of an Inconel exhaust manifold and a larger Garrett ball-bearing turbocharger with twice the flow capacity of the stock turbo. The kit replaces all the pressure-side plumbing with high-strength silicon hosing. A large diameter, cast-aluminum, black powder-coated MAF/intake and cold air intake pipe feed the big turbo all the cool breeze it needs. The turbo discharges boost to the larger, front-mounted intercooler, which then delivers it to the engine.

The upgrade also includes a modified three-inch APR stainless steel turbo-back exhaust system with a high-flow metallic catalytic converter to ensure efficient flow-through. The turbo kit runs a peak boost of 21 psi and, when coupled with a turbo-back exhaust, produces 356 peak hp and 300 lb-ft of torque at 3600 rpm.

To make sure this new-found horsepower and torque reaches the ground, the factory clutch (which can take about 270 hp) has been upgraded. Installing the clutch provided a good opportunity to replace the factory differential with one more suited to racing. The Quaife differential is an obvious choice. When accelerating out of a corner, the standard differential, during wheelspin, will shift power to the wheel with less grip. The Quaife limited-slip differential does just the opposite. It will send power to the wheel with better grip. This system provides additional benefits in straight-line performance, as it allows a 50/50 split to both driven wheels and reducing torque steer.

Once the car posted a zero to 60 mph time of 4.8 seconds, a more advanced brake system was deemed necessary. The factory front rotors have been replaced with a set of 312.9-inch two-piece floating cross-drilled rotors with Brembo four-pot calipers custom painted in the colors of the German flag. For balanced braking, the factory rears have been updated with an OEM MkV R32 12.2-inch rear brake kit with matching drilled rotors and color-matched calipers.

The H&R RSS Clubsport ('Nrburgring set-up') coilover kit replaces the factory suspension. The downside to this aggressive street kit is diminished ride quality. To further decrease body roll and increase lateral stiffness, a pair of H&R shot peened and heat-treated 50CrV4 spring steel anti-roll bars have been installed. The front 26mm and rear 24mm anti-roll bars feature forged adjustable ends and urethane/Teflon composite bushings to ensure squeak-free operation.

To make use of the 10mm wider front carbon fiber fenders, the R GTI is fitted with a set of specially constructed 'hexagonal-inspired' 9x19-inch aluminum alloy wheels. These unique custom-made wheels were designed with Jenkins' lightweight theme in mind. The reduced mass helps minimize unsprung weight, improving ride quality and cornering. To avoid any rubbing issues with the 265/30 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, the wheels were machined with special offsets: et 40.5 in the front and et 55.5 in the rear. The benefits of the R GTI's reduced weight and wider track width are obvious when comparing it to a vehicle with similar modifications. The R GTI is able to navigate the road course faster and clock off quicker zero to 60 mph times.

For new body panels, carbon fiber is employed throughout the vehicle with a purpose beyond decoration. OSIR Design's expertise in hand-laid carbon fiber was employed to fabricate the front fenders, hood, side skirts, rear hatch, roof spoiler, interior belt line trim, and even the rear-view mirrors. The front seats were replaced with R32 Recaros reupholstered in black leather and accented by red stitching. To keep weight down, the stock rear seats were scrapped and replaced by a single carbon fiber piece with two molded bucket seats. Jenkins included a custom aluminum billet shift knob with a Price Is Right-type wheel inscribed with the R GTI logo that can be spun by the driver's thumb. The R GTI's exterior finish is a combination of glistening black paint and carbon fiber with flat black stealth graphics mimicking the hexagonal pattern found on the grille.

The large grille opening is framed in carbon fiber, features an abstract variation of the GTI hexagonal mesh, and is inlaid with the famous red GTI grille stripe. At both sides, the front bumper supports side vents containing Cibie LED foglamps, and the array is tied together with a lower carbon fiber lip spoiler. The rear bumper is completely redesigned and features a lower carbon fiber diffuser that incorporates the center-mounted twin exhaust tips.

Volkswagen R GTI

APR stage three turbo kit with Inconel cast exhaust manifold, APR/Garrett turbocharger, proprietary APR FSI fuel components, cast aluminum piping, silicon hoses, cold air intake, front-mount intercooler with cast aluminum end takes, software, three-inch turbo-back exhaust with centrally mounted tips

Quaife torque-biasing differential, stage three clutch upgrade

H&R RSS Clubsport coilovers, H&R 26mm solid adjustable front anti-roll bar, 24mm solid adjustable rear anti-roll bar

Brembo four-piston GT front calipers, two-piece cross-drilled and vented floating rotors, cross-drilled rear rotors

Wheels And Tires
Volkswagen Design custom alloys, 9x19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 265/30

Recaro Pole Position front seats with leather inserts and red stitching accents, carbon fiber rear shell with leather inserts, Schroth harnesses, OSIR Design carbon fiber belt line trim, Alcantara trim steering wheel, red stitch accent, custom gearshift knob with R GTI logo, custom carbon fiber rear-seat cradle with integrated bucket seats, R GTI floor mats

VW Design front and rear carbon fiber bumpers, side skirts, OSIR Design carbon fiber hood, two-piece roof spoiler, custom rear hatch assembly, black paint and natural carbon fiber with matte black ghost graphics, painted inner headlamp bezels, Cibie Concept LED foglamps, R32 rear taillights

Peak Power: 355.99 hp @ 6800 rpm
Peak Torque: 300.05 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
0-60 mph: 4.8 sec
60-0 mph: 116 ft.
Hot Lap: 1:27.39

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