After a short stint at McLaren Racing, the man responsible for VW’s WRC victories returns to Wolfsburg
News of a car executive moving from one company to another wouldn’t usually even register on evo’s radar. But Jost Capito is no ordinary boring suit, and the announcement of his move from CEO of McLaren Racing back to Volkswagen is worth mentioning.
Capito is an engineer and racer at heart. Before he graduated from Munich Technical University with a master's degree in mechanical engineering, he started racing motocross bikes and entering endurance motorbikes.
In 1985, after university, Capito started working for BMW, developing its high-performance engines. He still found time to compete in motorsport though, and managed to win the Paris-Dakar truck category.
> Read our review of the Volkswagen Golf R
He moved to Porsche’s motorsport department in 1989 where he stayed for seven years before making the step into the tumultuous world of Formula 1. He then managed the Sauber F1 team during the late 1990s.
Arguably his most significant and influential role with the car industry started in 2001 when he joined Ford. Capito was initially responsible for Ford’s RS division and lead a project between two of the company’s departments, Special Vehicle Engineering and Ford Racing, which helped bring the Mk1 Ford Focus RS to market.
As well as launching a ground breaking hot hatch under his tenure, the motorsport department also won the World Rally Championship manufacturers' title in both 2006 and 2007. He eventually went onto to manage all of Ford’s performance cars, globally.
Capito carried on his success at managing rally teams when he joined Volkswagen as director of motorsport and led the team to the first three of its four WRC manufacturer and drivers’ titles.
Now, after only a year as CEO of McLaren Racing, Capito has returned to Volkswagen to head-up the department in charge of the company’s performance cars, Volkswagen R GmbH, and its accessories and equipment division, Volkswagen Zubehör GmbH.
> Read about VW's future motorsport intentions
As well as creating the Golf R and the R-line packages, Volkswagen R has also been responsible for the Polo WRC. But now that Volkswagen has diverted its motorsport attention to its customer racing programs, Capito won’t have an international race team to get his teeth into. If his attention is mostly focused on road cars instead, his résumé suggests there will be plenty to look forward to.
Worthersee is a huge show for both VW and its fans alike, the Austrian festival the perfect place to celebrate Volkswagens old and new. You’ll hopefully be familiar with the apprentice-built concepts at each gathering too – see last year’s GTI Heartbeat, for example – and 2017 is no different: welcome to the Golf GTI First Decade.
The name signifies the fact that apprentices have been building Worthersee GTI concepts for 10 years, but it’s far more interesting than just that. Why? This is the first GTI with electric propulsion. Don’t worry, it’s not an EV GTI, instead a hybrid version that uses a 410hp petrol engine for the front wheels – a brave enough move already, you would think – combined with a 48-volt electric motor for the rear wheels with a maximum output of 16hp. Certainly a mild hybrid then. The First Decade car can be run as front-wheel drive only – that’s what we meant about brave – as an all-wheel drive hybrid or in EV, rear-wheel drive mode. Don’t go getting carried away with that 16hp now.
Joking aside, the electric mode is there for short urban journeys or stop-start traffic; the batteries are then charged through regenerative braking the rest of the time. The drive modes are selected via the infotainment display.
Just in case there wasn't enough blue...
How close are we to a hybrid GTI? It doesn’t sound all that far off, VW’s Head of Automotive Technology Training Peter Christ saying the project means “our apprentices learn about the complexity and future challenges of automobile production.” Could these apprentices be working on the production car in just a few years time?
Hopefully they will have grown out of their young people design tastes by then, at least. The GTI First Decade features Atlantic Blue paint with ‘Satin Ocean Shimmer’ foil as a contrast. There are rally stripes in three shades of blue and the 20-inch wheels are from mb-Design. And inside, being young people, there are 11 loudspeakers, a subwoofer and 1,690 watts of sound system power. Sick.
As always, this apprentice concept is not a Golf for production. It does seem to preview upcoming GTI features though – and not just the 20-inch wheels – which could be along even sooner than you may think.
A high-performance Volkswagen T-Roc R could be launched in 2018.
Plans for the hot SUV are under discussion, according to VW’s head of development Frank Welsch, and if launched it would be a sister car to the upcoming Seat Ateca Cupra.
The most likely engine is the 306bhp 2.0-litre turbo unit from the Golf R hot hatch. This gives the Golf a 0-62mph time of 4.6sec when it's equipped with the optional automatic automatic gearbox. However, the T-Roc’s greater weight and less aerodynamic shape are likely to make it slighty slower.
“If demand is there for a more powerful car, we can likely satisfy it. There is a great deal of potential in the car that we can unlock if customers want it,” said Welsch.
The T-Roc is a Golf-based SUV and is set to be revealed this summer, ahead of going on sale in the autumn.
Because the T-Roc sits on the same underpinnings as cars such as the Golf, Ateca and Audi Q2, it is relatively easy for engineers to fit similar engines to all the cars. As a result, the T-Roc is also likely to be sold in plug-in hybrid GTE form and as a fast GTD diesel.
The new Audi RS 3 Sportback* completes the Ingolstadt premium automakerâ€™s sporty vanguard in the compact segment. Following the world premiere of the RS 3 Sedan* at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the RS 3 Sportback now stands poised to make its entry at the Geneva International Motor Show. With the most powerful production five-cylinder in the world, outstanding dynamism and an even sharper look, the car offers an emotional driving experience.
â€œThe Audi RS 3 Sportback offers our customers an attractive introduction to the RS world,â€ said Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH. â€œSince 2011 the sporty compact model has proved itself extremely successful on the market. And with the new five-cylinder engine, the Audi RS 3 Sportback is at the head of its class and continuing that strong track record.â€
From 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.1 seconds
Behind the impressive performance of the Audi RS 3 Sportback is the worldâ€™s most powerful production five-cylinder engine â€“ the 2.5 TFSI. It delivers 294 kW (400 hp) of output â€“ 33 hp more than the predecessor engine â€“ and is 26 kilograms (57.3 lb) lighter thanks to its aluminum crankcase, among other features. Its maximum torque of 480 Nm (354.0 lb-ft) is available at engine speeds as low as 1,700 rpm and remains constant up to 5,850 rpm. Thatâ€™s how the RS 3 Sportback is able to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.1 seconds. The effect of this extraordinary tractive power is intensified by the five-cylinderâ€™s unmistakable sound, which comes from having the ignition alternate between directly adjacent cylinders and widely spaced ones. On request, Audi will increase the electronically limited top speed from 250 km/h (155.3 mph) to 280 km/h (174.0 mph).
For better mixture preparation, the new 2.5 TFSI engine employs dual injection into the intake manifold and into the combustion chambers. On the exhaust side, the Audi valvelift system controls the duration of valve opening depending on the throttle and engine speed â€“ for moderate fuel consumption at low and partial load as well as more spontaneous throttle response and a high level of tractive power at full load. In the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) the RS 3 Sportback uses 8.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (28.3 US mpg), which equates to 189 grams of CO2 per kilometer (304.2 g/mi).
quattro drive with variable distribution of power
The S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive transfers the power of the five cylinders to the road. And the electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch distributes the drive torque variably between the axles. The sportier the driving, the faster and more often a large share of the torque reaches the rear axle. quattro management is integrated as a standard feature in the dynamic handling system Audi drive select, as are the steering,
S tronic, the engine management, the adjustable exhaust flaps, and the optional RS sport suspension with adaptive damper control. The driver can individually vary the operation of these components between three modes â€“ comfort, auto and dynamic. Handling is perfected using the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) with wheel-selective torque control and the sport mode specially tuned for the RS.
Wider track and sporty suspension setup
Together with progressive steering, the four-link rear axle, and the tight suspension setup lowered by 25 millimeters (1.0 in) relative to the A3, the RS 3 Sportback combines fascinating dynamism with superior stability. Compared to that production model, the track at the front axle of the RS 3 Sportback is wider by 20 millimeters (0.8 in) â€“ and the wheel arches are accordingly flared wider. As standard, Audi includes 19-inch cast wheels and 235/35 tires, and brake disks with a diameter of 310 millimeters (12.2 in). Alternatively, customers will be able to choose carbon-fiber ceramic disks in front. At the rear axle, brake disks with a diameter of 310 millimeters (12.2 in) are used.
Distinctive RS design
On the exterior, the RS 3 Sportback shows off its power in the form of a striking Singleframe with a gloss black honeycomb grille, large air inlets and angular sill trims. The redesigned blade in the bumper gives the front end an even wider look. At its ends it forms narrow, upright funnels. LED headlights with their distinctive lighting signature are standard, and Audi offers matrix LED headlights as an option. In the rear a stylish RS roof edge spoiler, a diffuser insert and the RS exhaust systemâ€™s large oval tailpipes are sure to turn heads everywhere. A quattro logo at the bottom of the Singleframe is a finishing touch to the dynamic appearance, as are the RS 3 emblem on the honeycomb grille and on the tailgate.
Lap timer, boost pressure indicator and special RS screen
The two circular instrument dials are black with red needles and white scales. The centrally positioned driver information system includes a boost pressure indicator, an oil thermometer and a lap timer. The fully digital Audi virtual cockpit displays the infotainment system data and is available as an option. A special RS screen shifts the tachometer to the center, displaying on either side the readings for torque, gâ€‘forces and tire pressure. When the transmission is operating in manual mode, a scale with a color background prompts the driver to use the steering wheel paddle or selector lever to upshift when approaching maximum rpm.
Sporty interior and outstanding comfort
The RS 3 Sportback is equipped with sport seats in black fine Nappa leather as standard. RS sport seats with more contoured profiles and integrated head restraints for the driver and front passenger are available as options. RS emblems are emblazoned on the seatbacks of both seating variants. The RS sport leather steering wheel is flat-bottomed and features buttons for operating the infotainment system. The main control element is the rotary/push-button control on the console of the center tunnel. A touchpad can be integrated in its surface as an option, enabling the driver to scroll, zoom and enter text. Also included is a free text search feature that automatically completes the userâ€™s input after just a few letters have been entered. The voice control can process user questions and commands formulated in everyday language.
Online with Audi connect
When it comes to infotainment, the RS 3 Sportback is extremely versatile. An LTE module brings the Audi connect services on board, including navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View, as well as information on fuel prices, weather, travel and traffic. The Audi MMI connect app lets users transfer their smartphone calendars into the MMI system. Drivers can also send destinations from Google Maps and special destinations to the navigation system, and also stream music from the internet. Apple Car Play and Android Auto can be used to immediately bring selected apps to the onboard screen, for telephone, navigation and music needs. In addition, the navigation system includes a Wi-Fi hotspot that enables passengers to connect their mobile devices to the internet.
Other highlights include the Audi phone box, the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 705 watts of power, and many driver assistance systems. In slow-moving traffic up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph), for example, the traffic jam assist keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front and can briefly take over the steering. Also new in the Audi RS 3 Sportback are the emergency assist, which automatically stops the car if required, and cross traffic assist rear. The latter system looks out for crossing vehicles when the driver is pulling out of a parking space.
Market launch and prices
Orders for the RS 3 Sportback and the RS 3 Sedan will be accepted in Europe from April 2017 under the â€œAudi Sportâ€ label; the market launch will follow in August 2017. The base price for the Audi RS 3 Sportback is 54,600 euros, and the Audi RS 3 Sedan is listed at 55,900 euros.
Since its launch in early 2014, the SEAT Leon Cupra is a car that's continued to impress in its various forms. Oh sure, it may not be quite as engaging as a Renaultsport Megane or have interior plastics quite as plush as a Golf R, but its combination of speed, dynamics and value have won it a lot of fans. The estate is also very good, and both Performance Pack variants make it a much more intense package.
Now it's time for a mid-life update. While the focus from SEAT is on the additional equipment - keyless go, new driver assist features and a bigger infotainment screen - we're more interested in the mechanical changes. Essentially it would appear the EA888 2.0-litre turbo is now to Golf R spec, with 300hp and 280lb ft, but of course in a lighter (by about 80kg) and front-wheel drive package. Expect the revised Golf R to boost those numbers (and the cabin ambience) to restore family superiority sometime next year.
Interestingly the Leon Cupra ST will now be all-wheel drive and DSG-only, making it very much a Golf R lite. The Leon Cupra ST DSG 4Drive - yes, that is the full name - is not the first all-wheel drive fast SEAT of course, the original V6 Leon Cupra using a 4Motion system. Looks like the front-wheel drive Cupra estates, particularly the Performance Pack cars, will be even rarer now...
Cosmetic changes are mild and in line with the standard Leon facelift, most notably the new lights, reprofiled bumpers and - at last - some nicer wheels too.
The new Leon Cupra is available to order now (prices are still to be confirmed), with first deliveries due in March. However, if you can go without the latest infotainment and another few horsepower, there are bargains to be had on the outgoing car.
Prices start at less than Â£17,000 now - this car is the super subtle 265 as well - with Â£20K buying a late 2015 manual hatch and the 290 version available for not much more. For those after the estate, this blue car looks nice. First drive of the 300hp car coming as soon.......
Volkswagen is less than two weeks away from unveiling its crucial facelifted Golf.
The reworked version of Europeâ€™s best-selling car is set to be revealed in early November in Wolfsburg, Germany, with UK sales starting early next year. The Golfâ€™s mid-life upgrades are designed to help keep the model fresh until the launch of a heavily re-engineered, new Mk8 Golf in 2019.
Visually, the facelifted Golf departs little from todayâ€™s four-year-old model. Subtle styling changes on prototype versions of the new hatchback include a lightly altered front bumper, new headlight graphics with integrated day-time running lights, reworked LED tail-lights graphics and new alloy wheel designs.
The main focus of the facelift is the interior, which VW has upgraded to include the optional virtual cockpit display offered on the Passat. The 12.5in high-definition monitor can be ordered in place of the new Golfâ€™s analogue instruments. It offers differing digital layouts at the press of a button on the multi-function steering wheel.
More significant are the changes to the Golfâ€™s infotainment system. In a bid to make the new car more appealing, VW will offer a top-of-the-line system with a 9.5in centre display in 16:9 format, as previewed by the Golf R Touch concept at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. Buyers will also be able to operate it using a range of gesture and proximity control functions.
The same driver assist systems as the Passat will be offered, including a new traffic jam assist function, which allows semi-autonomous driving at speeds of up to 23mph.
Earlier plans to provide the facelifted Golf with a new range of turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines have been delayed, according to VW insiders. They say extra engineering activity placed on the company in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal has led to changes in the introduction of a number of driveline developments.
The range will feature VWâ€™s new turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, as seen in the recently facelifted Up and soon to be replaced Polo. It is set to replace various versions of
the existing turbo 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol unit. Further up the range will be lightly reworked versions of todayâ€™s turbo 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine.
The facelifted Golf GTI will retain the same turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as the outgoing model, albeit with a moderate lift in power beyond the standard 217bhp and 227bhp available today.
At the top of the petrol line-up will be a more powerful version of the four-wheel-drive Golf R, whose turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder motor is said to develop the same 414bhp as the R400 concept first wheeled out at the 2014 Beijing motor show.
As for diesels, the Golf will retain the recently controversial and revised turbo 1.6 and 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines.
VW is using the facelift to upgrade to the driveline of the Golf GTE. It is set to receive the same power output as the petrol-electric system used by the Passat, with reserves rising from a combined 201bhp to 215bhp.
At the recent Paris motor show, VW also made official the changes to the facelifted e-Golf, which is set to make its world debut at AutoMobility LA (formerly LA motor show) next month. It swaps its existing 24.2kWh lithium ion battery for a larger 38.5kWh one. This is claimed to boost its range beyond 186 miles.
Audi is set to open the order books for the new TT RS later this month, allowing customers to buy the most powerful TT ever. The new TT RS will be available in Coupe and Roadster bodystyles, both offering staggering pace, and prices will start from Â£51,800. The TT RS was first shown off at events in Beijing and London before UK motorists got a chance to see the car in the flesh at the Goodwood festival of Speed earlier this year.
The TT RS has enough pace to rival some supercars, with a 0-62mph sprint of 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 174mph - although that's limited to 155mph unless an optional Dynamic Package is specified. Even Audi's own supercar, the R8, only manages 3.2 seconds for the same 0-62mph sprint.
All this power comes from a reworked five-cylinder turbo engine which pushes out a staggering 394bhp despite being 26kg lighter than its predecessor. With its 1-2-4-5-3 firing order, Audi insists it has retained the engineâ€™s unique deep, enthusiastic, rich sound while improving its performance, reducing its fuel consumption and lowering its weight. It's mated to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox which sends power to all four wheels via a new quattro system.
A huge diffuser is built into the rear bodywork with two elliptical tailpipes. The vast wing can be deleted at no extra cost if you prefer a more understated look. The TT RS will also introduce Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) as an option for the tail-lamps.
Dominating the front end is a hexagon-filled single-frame grille, flanked by optional Matrix LED headlights, while inside, the RS follows the regular TT. Taking pride of place is the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit, and itâ€™s complemented by lightweight sports seats.
Under the skin, the TT RS retains the electronic differential, with suspension lowered by 10mm. It will use a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and enormous 370mm disc brakes. There is an optional RS Sports suspension system, which delivers adaptive magnetic control damping to govern its steel springs.
A set of lighter, forged alloy wheels and carbon-ceramic brakes are optional. The Roadster â€“ which is 90kg heavier than the coupe â€“ features a folding fabric roof which can be lowered electrically in 10 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph.
The new Audi TT RS will start from Â£51,800 for the Coupe model, or Â£53,550 for the convertible Roadster. It will be available to order at the end of September.
WoWo, our friendly detailing forum sponsor, have got 10 of their 'Please do not clean my car' hangers to giveaway to discerning VWROC members. But just giving them away would be no fun at all, so how about a little mini competition for you to get your detailing mitts (no pun intended) on one of these precious little signs.
As anyone familiar with WoWo detailing accessories will know that their products are a detailer's delight and this welcome little hanger is another sure winner.
So, girls and boys get your WoWo gear and your cameras out and snap a shot of your lovely clean R alongside your favourite WoWo product(s) and post it into this competition thread. The top ten most â€˜likedâ€™ pics will receive a WoWo hanger.
Here are a few simple rules:
One entry per member
One pic per entry
Competition closes at midnight Wednesday 4th May. Entries must be posted by this date.
No spam please, entry posts only. For chat please use the dedicated competition chat thread.
The top 10 most â€˜likedâ€™ images will win and winners will receive a WoWo hanger.
Entries with tied number of likes will be deliberated by the VWROC team (Admin and mods) and their decision will be final.
Winners will be announced 7 days after the close of the competition.
Any submitted entries may be used on social media, so make sure you have permission to share the image.
Any questions or opinions to express please use this thread.
Don't forget to check WoWo out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
There are two letters guaranteed to get fast Ford fans excited: RS. They stand for Rallye Sport, and after the famous badge debuted on 1970â€™s Escort RS1600, it has been reserved for the hottest Fords ever since.
The latest addition to the family is the new Focus RS. This go-faster family hatchback is the most powerful ever, thanks to a thumping 345bhp turbocharged 2.3-litre engine. Itâ€™s also the first RS since the rally-bred Escort RS Cosworth to feature a four-wheel-drive system, although this trick transmission has been designed to boost driver fun, not just to improve grip and traction.
Yet despite the incredible power and hi-tech hardware, the new Focus RS hasnâ€™t forgotten its blue-collar roots. With a price thatâ€™s a whisker under Â£30,000, it promises plenty of performance per pound.
Here, it faces two fierce rivals. The Audi RS3 was used as a benchmark by Fordâ€™s engineers when developing the Focus, and its 362bhp looks good on paper. It also has plenty of upmarket appeal, albeit with a price to match.
The Volkswagen Golf R doesnâ€™t shout nearly as loudly as its rivals here, plus itâ€™s a little down on outright power. However, itâ€™s competitively priced and is recognised as the handling benchmark for four-wheel-drive hot hatches. Until this point, at least.
So which of our heavy-hitting pocket rockets will land the knock-out punch? We hit the tortuous mountain roads above Barcelona in Spain to find out.
Head to head
The Ford and VW borrow their engines from other models. So the 2.3-litre in the Focus is also used in the Mustang, but tweaks to the internals and turbo boost power to 345bhp. Under the Golfâ€™s bonnet is a GTI engine, with power increased from 217bhp to 296bhp.
The Audiâ€™s engine appeared in the old-shape TT RS, and also features in the RS Q3 crossover.
Ford has toned down the Focusâ€™s styling in an attempt to rival the premium brands, but there are still plenty of RS cues, including the gaping grille and large tailgate spoiler. The Audiâ€™s potential is equally obvious, but its additions arenâ€™t as aggressive. By comparison, the Volkswagen is low key and could be confused with a cheaper R-Line model.
The Golf comes with a choice of either a six-speed manual gearbox or a Â£1,415 twin-clutch DSG automatic. All RS3s feature Audiâ€™s seven-speed twin-clutch S tronic, while the Focus is only offered with a six-speed manual â€“ although Ford hasnâ€™t ruled out introducing its PowerShift auto box to the RS at a later date.
1st place: Ford Focus RS
With its eye-catching price tag and blistering performance, the Focus RS is a fast Ford in the finest tradition. Yet itâ€™s the carâ€™s trick four-wheel-drive system and honed suspension that star, giving the Focus incredible agility and delivering more than enough driver involvement. It also looks and sounds the part. The only black marks are reserved for the small boot and firm low-speed ride.
2nd place: Volkswagen Golf R
The Golf misses out by the narrowest of margins in this encounter. Itâ€™s faster than its power deficit would suggest and it attacks twisting back roads with incredible composure. Itâ€™s also the easiest car to live with day to day and has the most versatile interior. Yet it just lacks the excitement and involvement of the Focus â€“ and in this class, that counts for a lot.
3rd place: Audi RS3
If this test was based purely on engine sound and straight-line performance, then the Audi RS3 would carry off the spoils. It also benefits from having easily the best cabin here and comes with most standard equipment. However, its handling feels a little lead-footed in this company, and thereâ€™s no getting away from that hefty price tag.