VW Reveals GTI Hybrid Concept Packing AWD, 418 Horsepower

Even with all-wheel-drive, however...you're gonna have some torque steer. 

Volkswagen

Even the humble Volkswagen GTI isn't immune from the march towards electrification. On Wednesday, VW is set to unveil the first GTI packing an electrified drivetrain: an all-wheel-drive concept making a combined 418 horsepower. 

The so-called VW Golf GTI First Decade, which will be officially revealed at the VW fan meetup known as Wörthersee GTI 2017, was whipped up by a group of college-aged apprentices from Volkswagen and its seating affiliate Sitech. A gas engine making 402 horsepower provides power to the front wheels, and an electric motor packing 16 horsepower sending its energy to the rear. This means this GTI has what's sometimes known as a through-the-road AWD system—the two axles are each powered by independent powertrains with no mechanical connection. 

While the system might seem like a way to deliver AWD performance to a car sure to be forced to grapple with ridiculous amounts of torque steer, VW seems instead to see the system as a way to provide eco-friendly mobility in urban environments. In addition to the obvious tractive benefits when starting off in slippery conditions, VW says the electrically-powered rear axle can be used to putter silently through towns and cities or to cut down on carbon emissions during parking, thus making the GTI First Decade the bane of visually-impaired meter maids. 

Like any good concept car, this GTI comes with plenty of fancy add-ons designed to up the wow factor, too. The rear seats have been tossed, making way for a 1,690-watt stereo system packing 11 speakers and a subwoofer. The exterior is clad in contrasting shades of blue—Atlantic Blue Metallic with Satin Ocean Shimmer foil accents—while the interior receives tasteful patches of blue trim to match. And the sport seats are made by hand, black leather and Alcantara jobs that can be controlled via smartphone app and even offer a massage function. 

Oh, and as for that name...well, you're probably wondering what the hell it's referencing. The VW GTI First Decade is named for the fact that 2017 marks the 10th year the carmaker has given its apprentices a chance to create their own customized GTI to show at Wörthersee.