Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Volkswagen Jetta: One of KBB.com’s 10 Coolest Cars of 2017



By: Christoper Compton
According to the judges at Kelley Blue Book, buyers looking for a great drive at a great value have no further to look than the Volkswagen Jetta. Since 2003, KBB has compiled a list of their top 10 choices of great cars under $18,000, and the Jetta has earned a spot on their list for 2017.
The KBB.com Cool Car Award is based on four factors: the car must be fun to drive, fun to own, possess an admittedly subjective ‘cool factor’, and do all that for a low entry price.
“Volkswagen is honored to receive this award from Kelley Blue Book,” said Hendrik Muth, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “The Jetta represents the heart and soul of Volkswagen, with its sporty driving dynamics and high-quality workmanship.”
Editors cited the Jetta’s driving dynamics, high quality build quality, and standard features. For 2017, Volkswagen has added more standard equipment across a simplified Jetta lineup. Features like KESSY® keyless access, push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, Climatronic® automatic dual-zone climate control, and sunroofs are available at lower price points. The 2017 Jetta starts at $17,895 for the S with manual transmission.
“The most affordable European sedan on the market combines the uniquely satisfying driving manners and rich interior sensibilities that help define and distinguish its pricier, luxury-badged brethren,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com.


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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Quick take: Driving the Volkswagen Golf R Wagon


By: Sebastien Bell
When you travel with Volkswagen, you travel in Volkswagens. A car for every occasion seems to be their motto, but more correctly put, the Golf R Variant is a car for every occasion.
I have, in the past, argued that less is, without exception, in every case, every time, as is clearly being shown here, more. I may have been wrong about that. When making a purpose-built sports car, luxuries, comforts, and weight just get in the way. Less power is okay in a sports car, as long as it comes with added lightness.
The Golf R, though, isn’t really a sports car. It’s a hot hatch. And though that term is subject to interpretation, even then it’s more like a mutant between a hot hatch and a grand tourer (mutant in the cool X-Men sense, not the gross Futurama sense). So adding an extra foot or so of trunk room adds only marginal weight, while adding more utility, and making the whole thing that much cooler.
Part of that, I freely admit, has to do with the fact that the Variant isn’t available in America. The grass is always greener and all that, sure. But some of it just has to do with the fact that it’s every bit the hooligan the Golf R is, with more room for stuff.
Volkswagen Golf R Wagon
From the driver’s seat, you’d be hard pressed to say whether you were in the Variant or not. It accelerates hard, giving you a hilarious boot in the root every time the turbo spools up at about 4,000 rpm. The tires (Michelins) are grippy and give you ample confidence, and the same can be said of the bakes.
Driving up an Alp, the Golf R Variant always has enough power to knock you back in your seat, which is handy, because I’m no Touge specialist, so going up a one-lane, two-way street with blind corners every 100 feet means that being able to accelerate from a dead stop (or out of a ditch) is especially important.
Here’s a fun game for North Americans in Austria: Find a lonely, switch-backy mountain road and wait for a local to start up it. Then try to keep up. For added difficulty, follow a van. For some reason, big, tall vans with exhausted-looking parents at the helm fly up these mountains at speeds no reasonable North Americans, used to roads wide enough for traffic to go by in both directions could ever possibly keep up.
I certainly couldn’t. Especially when they came across someone going the other way. I was all but stopped halfway off the road as they flew past each other at ludicrous speeds (read: 35 mph).
Regardless of my own testicular shortcomings, the Golf R Variant handled the tight roads with shocking nimbleness and grace. It was easy to slow for every blind corner and it was eager to get going again, barking happily as we flew up an Alp and back down again, just as happily as the Golf R (more on that later).
So why buy it over the regular Golf R (not that you can, but hypotheticals are always fun)? Well, here’s the difference. The Golf R is very serious. It’s like a cool dad with perfectly fitting jeans and a leather jacket and rugged good looks who is always, for some strange reason, staring off into the distance. The Golf R, on the other hand is the fun dad. A little less “cool,” but also a little less worried about being a dad and with a bit more of a sense of humor. Of course it’s up to you to decide which you’d rather be, but I know which I’d rather spend time with.


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Monday, May 29, 2017

Volkswagen launches pilot project for 3D printing spare parts



While 3D printing is becoming increasingly established in the automotive industry as a valuable tool for prototyping, a growing number of car manufacturers are now looking to broaden those possibilities even further. Recently, German car company Volkswagen joined those ranks, launching a new initiative that will use 3D printing as a viable avenue for producing spare car parts.
Earlier last week, the Volkswagen Group announced a new pilot project in collaboration with the Department of Development and Technological Planning at Volkswagen AG: the goal is to produce the first sellable spare Volkswagen part exclusively using 3D printing.
The decision is particularly timely now, as many classic cars risk facing obsolescence due to irreplaceable and rapidly aging parts. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find and replace those parts, even for the original manufacturers themselves.
But according to Tobias Pape, a Purchasing Manager for classic Volkswagen parts, the solution is to be found in 3D printing, a technology which he says opens a wide range of new possibilities. “3D printing in the Volkswagen Group has been used so far only in the areas of prototype and equipment construction. Now we want to apply this internal know-how to the production of spare parts,” Pape said.
In order to demonstrate and test the full capabilities of 3D printing, Pape and his team deemed that a spare part produced in this pilot project must meet three requirements: it must not be visible once installed; it must be completely safe; and it must be as small as possible.
The first piece selected was subsequently a Volkswagen Corrado adapter with leather upholstery, located between the regulator and the handle. An important yet small component, the Corrado adapter prevents the handle from damaging the interior leather lining of the door.
“Reproducing this adapter was a real challenge,” said Pape. “Particularly because of the fine internal and external grooving, the gear requires an extreme level of precision.” The highly rare piece was initially manufactured at Volkswagen’s Braunschweig plant, and is only as large as a 1 cent coin.
Gathering all the data, Pape’s colleagues at the Tooling Development department in Wolfsburg began producing prototypes with varying degrees of quality, but which retained some minor deviations. After a few solid attempts at re-adjusting and re-polishing, the result was still unsatisfactory. Finally, the team elected to taken another step back, and “pre-treat” the scanned data before sending it to the 3D printer.
This process is currently underway, while still incorporating diagrams of the original piece. The exact outcome remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Pape’s team has already learned a lot. Their biggest lesson? That carrying out series production using 3D printing technology requires, and indeed goes hand in hand with, a serious dose of classic engineering arts.


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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Gallery: Mk1 GTIs at Worthersee


By: Sebastien Bell
Finally, we got to see the many, many, many tuned cars at Wörthersee. There were literally more Golfs than you could shake a stick at, not to mention all of the Passats, Audis, and all the other weirdness that made it to Australia this week, but more on those later.
Today we’re just focusing on Mk1 GTIs. Widebodies, survivors, and weirdos were all on show at the Treffen.


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Friday, May 26, 2017

Video First Look of 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan




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