WALL ST. CHEAT SHEET
No brand is more well-known as the king of German auto makers than Volkswagen. The company was founded in the late 1930s to produce cars for the common man, as most of the German automotive market was dominated by luxury vehicles at the time.
Although things were disrupted for several years with the outbreak of World War II, which saw production shift to military vehicles, the end of the war saw Volkswagen return to designing and producing cars, and famously came out with what became known as the ‘Beetle.’
The company has ventured into the SUV and van markets over the years, and was one of the first automotive companies to pioneer diesel technology in commuter cars.
VW has also put out some performance vehicles over the years, and even has a luxury line, Audi, which produces cars capable of top speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour.
We’re taking a look at the fastest vehicles Volkswagen has ever produced, using top speed, acceleration time from zero to 60 mph, and horsepower to develop the rankings.
Modifications and concepts have been disqualified, as have one-offs that have been seen throughout the years. While VW doesn’t make any vehicles that can compete with the likes of BMW or Aston Martin, its models can hold its own.Read on to see the ten fastest Volkswagen vehicles of all time.
12. Touareg R50Volkswagen isn’t really known as an SUV-production powerhouse, but the Touareg R50 sure did leave an impression when it hit the scene. The R50 is powerful, but its girth held it back a bit when it came to performance. How powerful?
It’s 345 horses worth, all generated from the massive 5.0-liter bi-turbo V-10 engine. That’s the kind of power that can even tow a Boeing 747. That power allowed for incredible quickness as well, as the Touareg R50 could spring from rest to 60 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds.
11. Jetta GLIThe Jetta, one of the most popular models on the road today, has seen several variations and transformations over the years. The most impressive when it comes to performance, however, is the Jetta GLI. The GLI model has a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 engine, spitting out 200 horsepower.
Quickness is really this Jetta’s bread and butter, as it can make the trip from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in just 6.5 seconds. Surely, Volkswagen engineers are not through with turning the Jetta into a performance monster. But for now, the GLI iteration reigns supreme.
10. Passat W8The Passat has been one of Volkswagen’s more popular vehicles, and near the top of the Passat’s performance list is the W8 variant. The Passat W8 provided a leg up on most of the V6 models, and bridged the gap between VW’s top of the line Phaeton sedan with its lower-tier offerings.
The 4.0-liter W8 engine supplied a healthy dose of horsepower to the tune of 270, and allowed for the Passat to dash from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. Like many other VW models, the Passat W8 was limited to a top speed of 155 miles per hour.
9. Corrado VR6Turn back the clock a little bit, and remember the Corrado VR6 for all of its automotive glory. A V6 engine packed into the Corrado’s small frame powered it up to 190 horsepower, and a 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds. It even had the narrator of Motor Week in 1992 describe it as a “sleek little German cruise missile.”
The Corrado did not become a hit in the United States as much as Volkswagen hoped, despite the fact that it had a cool, albeit weird automatic spoiler that raised up when speeds of over 45 miles per hour were attained.
8. Beetle GSRWe all remember the Beetle for being adorable. Well, VW is turning away from the ‘cute’ approach, and the proof is in the pudding with the new Beetle GSR. Limited to 3,500 units, the GSR is nothing like your daddy’s Beetle.
This car produces 210 horsepower and makes the jump to 60 miles per hour from rest in just 6.3 seconds, thanks to a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 engine. Of course, the Beetle GSR’s performance doesn’t hold up to many other vehicles out there, but when it comes to Beetles, this one takes the cake for speed and exclusivity.
7. R32What is it that separates the R32 from the standard Golf model? Its 4-Motion all-wheel drive and a 3.2-liter VR6 engine for starters, which is what it had upon release as a 2003 model. Those tweaks allow the R32 to to put out 237 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, enough to make the car jet from 0-60 in six seconds flat.
The U.S. version of the R32 was outfitted with a six-speed manual transmission, allowing for even more connectivity to the road. The R32 is one rung in the ladder of the Golf’s evolution, and things didn’t stop here, as you’ll see in later entries on the list.
6. Touareg W12 SportUpping the ante from the standard Touareg model, VW released the W12 Sport variation, and the results are pretty astounding. This SUV is lightning quick, rocketing to 60 miles per hour in just 5.8 seconds. The Touareg W12 Sport was a limited edition model, and actually matched up with SUVs from Porsche with 450 horsepower.
A limiter keeps this SUV to a top overall speed of 155 miles per hour, while it is probably capable of much more. For those who second-guessed Volkswagen’s decision to market SUVs, the Touareg W12 Sport is a testament to VW’s engineering prowess.
5. Phaeton W12The Phaeton W12 is the Volkswagen model that comes with the spirit of a BMW. Equipped with a 420-horsepower W12 engine, the Phaeton can hit the ground running, going from 0-60 in 5.7 seconds.
This is also a range-topper for VW, as the Phaeton comes with a price tag significantly higher than other models. As a result, sales suffered, and production ended after the 2006 model year in the U.S. There has been talk of the Phaeton’s return, but it has yet to be seen.
4. Golf GTIThe Golf continues its evolution into a sleeker and faster little hatchback every year, and the newest Golf GTI iteration is no exception. In fact, by Motor Trend’s calculations, the upcoming new Golf GTI is 19 percent better than its predecessor. How do they come to that conclusion?
Mostly through design and engineering tweaks that have allowed for power production to improve to 217 horsepower in the European edition, and quickness to be augmented to a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds. The U.S. version of the GTI was relegated to only 210 horsepower.
It gets there on the back of a 2.0-liter turbo I-4 engine, working in conjunction with a manual six-speed transmission, which allows for slightly quicker performance than the automatic version.
3. Passat R36The R36 is the fastest production Passat to ever hit the streets. Even outperforming the Golf GTI and the Phaeton W12, this Passat model could spit out 295 horsepower from a 3.6-liter V6 engine. The R36 was quicker than even the Passat W8, able to hit a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds.
Like other Volkswagen models, top speed was limited to 155 miles per hour. Twin exhaust pipes were one distinctive feature that separated the R36 from its Passat brethren, and put it in a class of its own.
2. Scirocco RThe Scirocco “is a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe.”
The Scirocco R may not be a hurricane, but it does bring some serious performance to the table. The newest model brings some additional power and speed to the streets, a bit more than its predecessor.
The 2.0-liter TSI engine has been upgraded to provide 15 additional ponies than before, topping out at 276 total horsepower. Depending on the transmission, the Scirocco R can also make the jump from zero to 62 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds, or 5.7 seconds respectively.
It comes up just short in terms of performance to the Golf R, a big factor being that the Golf R uses an all-wheel drive system, whereas the Scirocco R is front-wheel drive only.
1. Golf RHere it is: the Volkswagen model you’ve been waiting for! The fastest vehicle in the whole VW fleet is the Golf R, a 296-horsepower turbo-powered speed demon that can make the sprint from 0-60 in just 4.9 seconds.
For the Golf R variation, engineers tightened up everything from a design perspective; angles were narrowed, edges smoothed out, and the lighting reconfigured for a more aerodynamic stance. Quad exhaust pipes also replaced the Golf’s standard centrally located ports.
When it comes to that famous German engineering and design that Volkswagen is famous for, the Golf R puts all together in the finest way possible to be the brand’s fastest vehicle.