Volkswagen has unveiled a unique design study which is set to feature at the largest GTI festival in Europe this week. The GTI W12-650 mates a Golf GTI three-door bodyshell to a bespoke mid-mounted bi-turbo W12 650 PS engine channelling drive to the rear wheels.

Not only is it the most powerful Golf ever produced by Volkswagen but it’s also the fastest. The sprint from standstill to 62 mph takes 3.7 seconds. A potential maximum speed of 201.8 mph is made possible through a 70 mm lower ride height and the extensive use of under floor aerodynamic aids including a diffuser negating the need for a large rear wing to keep the vehicle pinned to the ground at very high speeds.

At the vehicle’s heart is a bespoke mid-mounted W12 engine linked to a pair of turbochargers. In order to make the installation possible Volkswagen engineers created a unique aluminium subframe onto which the engine could be mounted. The engine’s cooling systems are fed by a pair of side-mounted cooling vents placed in the airflow just ahead of the rear wheels.

The 5,998 cc W12 engine is an evolution of the 450 PS version fitted to the Phaeton. The engine is made from aluminium to reduce weight further and features four valves per cylinder and two overhead camshafts per cylinder head. Extremely compact in design, measuring only 513 mm in length, 715 mm in height and 710 mm in breadth, it’s effectively made up of a pair of narrow-angle V6 engines laid alongside each other. The engine is linked to a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. With the fitment of a pair of turbochargers power rises to 650 PS at 6,000 rpm while peak torque is capped at 553 lbs ft delivered at 4,500 rpm making it over three times more powerful than the conventional Golf GTI.

A 160 mm gain in width over the standard GTI is designed to accommodate the mid-mounted engine, bespoke drivetrain and the side-mounted cooling systems. The roof is constructed out of carbon fibre and features an integrated cooling scoop to channel air into the rear-mounted radiators. The redesigned floating C-pillars further aid the cooling systems to feed air into the engine.

The purposeful new stance is further emphasised by a set of 19-inch wheels styled to mimic the standard wheels fitted to the Golf GTI but, in the case of the GTI W12-650 wrapped in 295-profile tyres to aid traction.

The GTI W12-650 is a bespoke design study built by Volkswagen to mark the annual GTI festival in Worthersee, Austria. The event, the biggest of its kind in Europe, sees fans congregate to pay homage to the GTI, now in its fifth generation and celebrating its 30 th anniversary in the UK.