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  • A Volkswagen GTI with a 600+ hp Bentley motor in the back seats
  • VW dove deep into their parts bin to get this GTI moving
  • The Worthersee festival has yet to see a car as extreme as this

When talking about the annual Volkswagen festival in Worthersee, Germany back in 2008, Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson said he’d rather “blow torch my nipples off” than attend. Clearly, Clarkson had the wrong idea, because this Volkswagen GTI with a Bentley W12 motor was the best thing to come out of that festival, well, ever.

This Bentley-powered Volkswagen GTI is the fastest ever

It’s hard to know where to start with this monster. There’s just so much insanity at work, it’s hard to take it all in. A hot hatch with 650 hp? It doesn’t get much crazier than that. Much like the Renault R5 Turbo, VW decided it would be a good idea to take out that boring economy car front-engine, front-wheel drive idea and throw it in the trash. As for the motor, the choice was obvious. The W12 found in Bentley models of this era was still relatively new and demanded some showcasing.

As for the transmission, that was more of an afterthought. See, the car was built in only eight weeks, just in time for the aforementioned Worthersee festival. A Volkswagen Phaeton’s transmission was removed and grafted into the GTI Frankenstein car. That means no stick shift, and as Clarkson pointed out on Top Gear, the paddles to change gear didn’t even work. Neither did any of the buttons on the interior. Obviously, a motor with two turbos and 641 hp needs a lot of cooling, so the body was drastically altered.

This GTI isn’t a sports car, it’s a full-on supercar

A Bentley W12 engine surrounded by carbon fiber, placed in a hot hatch
The W12 engine that powers this insane GTI | Volkswagen

The standard MK5 generation Volkswagen GTI’s body was done in with some Eazy-E logic and thrown in the gutter. However, instead of buying another, VW built one. The new body forced air into the massive Bentley W12 through huge intakes at the side. Then, air was forced out and around the car by widened fenders (obviously also to accommodate bigger tires). The front was also widened to cool the brakes more and a fuel cell was fitted where the old engine was.

Speaking of brakes, 600+ hp will necessitate some big ones. So, Volkswagen chucked out those stock front brakes and added new ones from an Audi RS4. The VW parts bin can be quite handy at times. As for the rears, you might recognize them from the Lamborghini Gallardo. This hot hatch also uses the rear axle from one to help with that mid-engined handling.

A hot hatch can’t get more extreme than this

The Bentley-powered Volkswagen GTI hot hatch shot on track from the 3/4 angle
The GTI W12 had parts off a Lamborghini Gallardo | Volkswagen

However, that was a real sticking point for just about everyone who drove one. The Top Gear footage above is filled with a very dizzy Jeremy Clarkson. You see, adding 641 hp to a microscopic wheelbase means you get some rather… challenging handling. The car simply would not go in a straight line. No matter what, this Volkswagen GTI is likely the fastest and most extreme hot hatch we’ll see for some time. Now Honda needs to put a Formula 1 engine in a Civic Type R to best it.


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