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Car and Driver: Volkswagen Unveils Five Custom Cars for the Enthusiast Crowd


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With the whiff of dieselgate still in the air, Volkswagen is desperately trying to appeal to its fan base. The German manufacturer is focusing its efforts on maintaining its relationship with the enthusiast crowd that’s been tuning its vehicles for decades. As such, Volkswagen has created five and will be carting them around to enthusiast events throughout the summer and fall: a Golf 1.8T, a Golf GTI, a Golf R, a Jetta GLI, and a Passat.

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Golf 1.8T

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Is it Thursday? Because the Golf 1.8T in Volkswagen’s enthusiast fleet is a total throwback. Honoring the original Mk 1 Volkswagen Rabbit, this new Golf 1.8T is wrapped in classic Bali Green paint. But Volkswagen didn’t just paint the little hatchback and call it a day. The German manufacturer also installed a set of H&R springs to drop the ride height by two inches, as well as a set of gold 19-inch BBS Super RS wheels. Yellow tinted headlights, a roof-mounted bike rack, and a black stripe along the bottom of the doors complete this Golf’s retro look.

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Golf GTI

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Unofficially honoring the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Backcountry, the Golf GTI in Volkswagen’s enthusiast fleet wears more purple than the late Prince. H&R springs lower the ride height, and 20-inch, gold Vossen wheels fill in the fenderwells. A gold stripe that matches the wheels runs along the bottom of the doors, while a roof-mounted carrier box mimics the color combination of the car.

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Golf R

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Rubbing salt in our wounds, Volkswagen notes that its custom Golf R is inspired by the not-sold-here Scirocco GT Black Edition. Like the Golf 1.8T and GTI, the R relies on H&R springs to cut its ride height. Meanwhile, a matte-black roof and unique, 19-inch black-painted wheels give the car a subtle, stormtrooper-like look.

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Jetta GLI

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If the Golfs in Volkswagen’s enthusiast fleet are targeting style, then this Jetta GLI is aiming for performance. Designed for both the road and the track, Volkswagen wraps BFGoodrich g-Force Rival tires around 18-inch Neuspeed RSe52 wheels for track use, while H&R coilovers are employed to cut ride height and improve handling performance. Despite the emphasis on performance, Volkswagen left the powertrain untouched.

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Passat

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Marked for the “stance” crowd, this blue Passat with 20-inch Vossen wheels is equipped with an air-suspension system to get its underbody as close to the ground as possible. Volkswagen adds that the trunk, which houses the air suspension system’s vital components, is covered with real wood flooring.

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The tour kicked off last weekend at The European Experience in Savannah, Georgia, but you can still catch the five special V-Dubs at events in Tacoma, Washington (Waterwerks at the Park, June 26); Englishtown, New Jersey (Waterfest, July 16-17); Burlington, Vermont (Wolfsgart, August 5-7); Fontana, California (Fastivus, August 13-14); Ocean City, Maryland (H2O International, October 1-2), and Westwego, Louisiana (NOLA Speed and Style, October 8-9).

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