For all of the fanfare surrounding the annual Volkswagen gathering at Wörthersee, one of the yearly highlights since 2008 has been the apprentice-built GTIs. These are cars conceived of, built, and displayed by young apprentices working for VW and its suppliers, and it’s an undeniably cool way for Volkswagen to train its next generation of car know-it-alls. For the 2015 festival, VW’s youth squad, ages 17 through 25, transformed a DSG-equipped GTI Performance model into the Golf GTI “Dark Shine.” Oh, that’s the 395-hp GTI Dark Shine. Yep, this year’s intrepid, 13-member team, comprised individuals from VW and Sitech Sitztechnik, took a two-door GTI body-in-white and threw nine months of work, an extra 175 horsepower, and a 3500-watt sound system at it. We’d call that Wörthersee Wörthy. Either way, the GTI Dark Shine wears a sweet two-tone Daytona Gray and R-Yellow paint job, sports a custom stainless-steel exhaust system, and received tweaks to its ECU, intercooler, exhaust downpipe, and dual-clutch automatic transmission’s control unit. The brakes are sourced from some pretty spicy VW Group hardware, with the eight-piston front brakes coming from the Audi RS Q3 and the single-piston rear binders having been donated by an Audi RS6.
Inside, the GTI’s seats are primarily rendered in gray leather, but the bolsters are black, the center sections a Titanium Black faux suede, and the stitching and seat piping a contrasting yellow. We also dig the “Der See ruft . . .” lettering on the dash and side mirrors. It translates to “the lake is calling”—a reference to the lake after which the Wörthersee meet is named.
The execution is top-notch, and Volkswagen says the experience was invaluable to the two aspiring vehicle-paint technicians, four interior fitters, four automotive-mechatronics technicians, and single media designer. And how can we leave out the two process technicians “specializing in plastics and rubber engineering?” Every hot car build needs two of those.