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Auto blogMon, 11 Mar 2013 14:58:00 EST
There's torque steer and then there's what we'll from now on dub "The Boba," as in Boba Kettler. The German tuner has a way with the Volkswagen Golf, and the MkI example you see above has been touched with 736 horsepower - that's right, 96 more ponies than a new SRT Viper, all trying to get to ground through those two front wheels.
The 2.0-liter, 16-valve engine has an 8,800 rpm redline and is aided by a Garrett GTX3582R turbocharger shoving 50 psi through the internals. Other upgrades include a new ECU (natch) and a six-speed 'box among other treats. The rubber is Toyo R888s - street-legal competition tires. The result is enough smoke for three Chinese New Years when the lights go green. Indeed, the standing start isn't its forte, but it can apparently get from 62 miles per hour to 124 mph in five seconds.
Watch it go in the video below. And know that this isn't even Boba's best work; he's got a 900-hp MkII Golf that'll do 0-62 mph in 2.3 seconds.
Michael Andretti and Volkswagen have both been involved in Global Rallycross for a couple of years, but not together. Andretti Motorsports Marketing organized the final round of the 2012 GRC series in Las Vegas, and there were rumors then that Andretti was going to get in. Around the same time there were news reports that Volkswagen was preparing a 600-hp Polo Mk5 to race in the SuperCar class; the photo above is racer Anton Marklund in his privateer Marklund Motorsports Polo at the 2013 X-Games round in Los Angeles.
Now it's official: Andretti Autosport will campaign the 2014 GRC season with VWs. That's all that's been said for now, Andretti being busy at the moment launching four entries for IndyCar, two for Indy Lights and two for Pro Mazda. We have a feeling we'll be seeing the MkVII Golf involved, but the cars and the driver lineup will be presented at the Chicago Auto Show on February 6.
Reports in October 2012 claimed Volkswagen had begun investigating the creation of its own budget brand. This came after having failed to purchase Malaysian car company Proton or produce a meaningful partnership with Suzuki, and after watching Renault-Nissan make piles of euro on Dacia and plot the return of Datsun.
For VW, more important than the question of what to call it was how to build it profitably and in a way that didn't damage the VW brand. According to a report in Autocar, a satisfactory answer still hasn't been found. The hurdle is how to hit "'necessary' quality and safety levels" at the price points needed to make the venture worthwhile. At the time of the 2012 report, German outlet Der Spiegel said VW was trying to get prices down to 6,000 to 8,000 euro ($7,784 to $10,379 US), about two thousand to four thousand euro under the price of the VW Up and in line with the cost of a 6,790-euro Dacia Sandero in Germany.
In March 2013, VW announced, "We want to bring a true budget car to the market in China in the foreseeable future," the most concrete move in that direction after years of planning to make a decision. Working with local Chinese maker FAW, it was predicted that the vehicle in question would appear around 2016, but as of November last year a final vote on it needed to wait until this year because "We are still working on the cost side" and profit possibilities for a car that "has to be durable, it has to be precise, it has to be safe."