This year, Volkswagen celebrates 60 years of importing vehicles to the UK, with celebrations planned at the 20th Goodwood Festival of Speed
on 12th - 14th July (dubbed ‘the largest motoring garden party in the world’), where UK motoring fans will get their first chance to see some of the most exciting new Volkswagen models.
Taking pride of place on the Volkswagen stand, and also making its way up the famous hill climb, will be the XL1. This super-innovative, ultra-frugal model looks like a vision of the future, but it is in fact already in limited production.
The XL1 is the world’s most fuel-efficient production vehicle, with an official combined fuel consumption figure of 313 mpg and CO2 emissions of 21 g/km, and it is also one of the most advanced vehicles in the world. Its body is made largely of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer, while its drivetrain melds a two-cylinder 800 cc diesel engine with an electric motor. Like any good supercar, it is also low (at 1,282 mm high it is lower than a Porsche Boxster) and features scissor-opening doors (although its 120-litre boot does make it somewhat more practical than supercar enthusiasts may like).
Next to the XL1 on the Volkswagen stand is a rather faster machine, the Polo WRC car. This bespoilered beast is currently taking the World Rally Championship by storm, and visitors to the Festival of Speed will get to understand just what makes it so special, as it will also be powering up Goodwood’s famous hill.
Among those driving the XL1 will be Formula One legend and six-times Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx, and Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, outgoing Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for development, who will also pilot the Polo WRC.
If all of that seems a little far removed from what you might expect to find in a Volkswagen showroom, visitors to the Festival of Speed will also get the chance to see the latest iterations of two more familiar Volkswagens.
On the Volkswagen stand we’ll be exhibiting the exhilarating new Golf GTI alongside its frugal yet feisty sibling, the Golf GTD. The GTI needs little introduction; since it first appeared on the market some 37 years ago, it has become an icon, combining accessible performance, sharp design and practicality like no other car. The latest GTI comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing up to 230 PS, meaning it can sprint from standstill to 62 mph in 6.4 seconds and on to a 155 mph top speed.
The GTD, meanwhile, proves that parsimony at the pumps need not mean a hair-shirt driving Experience. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine packs 184 PS and 380 Nm of torque, helping it to reach 62 mph from rest in just 7.5 seconds and hit 142 mph flat out, yet it returns 67.3 mpg while emitting just 109 g/km of CO2.