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Posted 15 May 2015

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The 395bhp GTE Sport follows a short, illustrious line of mad Golfs. W12-engined hatch, anyone?

True, the ratio of Volkswagen Golfs featuring boring, eco-minded engines compared to mad, window-licking ones is skewed heavily in favour of the hypermiling enthusiast fraternity.

Happily, however, the sheer lunacy of the latter is enough to cast a glow over the range. Case in point, the new Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport concept. Unveiled at this year's Worthersee event, it is a Golf of the future, and potentially from it. Sure, it's a hybrid, but it's also a 174mph, 395bhp all-wheel-drive, two-doored loon-machine.

It'll do 0-31mph in 1.8 seconds, 0-62mph in 4.3s, 0-81mph in 6.5s, and hit 200kmh - that's 124mph - in a whisker under 16 seconds. That's fast, not just for a hatch, but full stop.

It also looks properly mad, too, all gullwing doors, monster wheels and racing cabin. But it's not the first nor, we suspect, the last mad Golf. Here are five of its loopiest precedessors.

Which one's your favorite?

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Volkswagen Golf Design Vision GTI

VW's 2013 Worthersee show star was a proper monster. It featured a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-litre VR6 TSI engine, four-wheel-drive and a radical, plastic body.

Power was good for 503bhp and 413lb ft of torque, which meant 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 186mph. Huge exhausts - which partially melted the plastic rear bumper on TG's brief test drive - and monster carbon ceramic brakes only bulked up what was already an astonishing package.

Oh, about that brief test drive... it was really, bloody quick.

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Volkswagen Golf GTI Roadster


Originally built for Gran Turismo as part of the excellent Vision GT series of cars, this was Volkswagen officially off the chain. The roofless roadster got the same twin-turbo V6 TSI from the Touareg, here pumped to deliver 500bhp and 413lb ft of torque.

It was married to VW's ‘4MOTION' all-wheel-drive setup and a seven-speed DSG gearbox, which only had to propel a lithe 1420kg kerbweight. And it was fast - faster than a Ferrari FF to 62mph, anyway, recording a time of 3.6 seconds, a tenth quicker than the Fezza.

Top speed? 192mph, a particulary scary figure considering there's no roof......

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Volkswagen Golf R400

A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a whisker under 200bhp per litre? Yes please. That's more horsepower-per-litre than a Veyron (125bhp per litre).

The 395bhp R400 was merely a testbed for VW, to see the stretchability of that four-pot. And by the sounds of it, it's very stretchy. 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds-stretchy, in fact.

There's the usual gamut of four-wheel-drive and DSG on board, too, as well as some visual trickery, but the more important thing is the R400 looks set to enter production, likely in early 2016. This is definitely Good News.

Your move, Mercedes A45 AMG and Audi RS3...

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Volkswagen Golf GTI W12-650

Oh yes, no list would be complete without the daddy of all strait-jacketed Golfs, the W12 version.

As per the name, it gets the twin-turbo W12 engine so beloved of the VW Group, producing a scarcely believable 650bhp and an even more unbelievable 553lb ft of torque.

The engine itself was mounted in the middle, on a unique aluminium structure and under a heavily modified bodyshell (the vents were there to cool the big lump).

0-62mph? 3.7s. Top speed? 184mph. Sure, it's not the fastest mad Golf from the mad Golfs we've shown you, but purely because of that engine, it's clearly the maddest mad Golf. If that sentence made any sense at all.

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Boba Motoring's 1000bhp Golf MkI

OK, so this isn't a Volkswagen Group production, but we had to include it because it certainly qualifies under the ‘entirely unhinged' category of VW Golfs. It wasn't built to show off potential design themes on future Golfs, nor did it showcase a new engine, or indeed any new technology.

No, this is a first-generation Volkswagen Golf built by a privateer, with a 1.8-litre 16-valve four-pot engine, a socking great turbo running up to 60 PSI, four-wheel-drive and a DSG gearbox.

The result is over 1000bhp, 0-62mph in 2.0s, 0-124mph in 4.89s and 62-124mph in 2.89s.

Why? Does it matter? It's a thousand-horsepower MkI Golf, for goodness' sake...


Five more stupidly fast VW Golfs - BBC Top Gear
 
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