It’s not often that you get to see the future of transportation in such nuts-and-bolts detail. But this isn’t just any future vehicle chassis.1 In German, it’s called the “Modulare E-Antriebs-Baukasten,” which provides the source of its acronym at Volkswagen: MEB. Translated, its name means “modular electric-drive toolkit,” and it’s designed to be the basic building block of the Volkswagen brand’s electric transportation future. The MEB will form the basis of the future anticipated Volkswagen electric vehicles in America, namely the production versions of the I.D. CROZZ SUV, the I.D. BUZZ van and beyond. Around the world, Volkswagen is making plans to produce 10 million copies of the MEB in a variety of styles – the most ambitious electric-vehicle rollout of any major automaker. With the MEB “we have developed a platform designed specifically for electric cars,” said Christian Senger, Head of the Volkswagen E-Mobility product line. “The I.D. models will not be combustion engine versions that have been converted, they will be designed to be 100 percent, thoroughbred electric vehicles. And they will be engineered to be online, upgradeable- and update-compatible. We’re making optimal use of the possibilities this technology brings.” Automotive jargon can be a bit dense, so it’s worth defining exactly what constitutes a “toolkit.” The MEB isn’t just the basic metal chassis, but the layout of key components and, most importantly, how they all fit together. Much like the Volkswagen MQB, the toolkit that underpins Volkswagen models from the Golf to the Atlas, the MEB can easily adapt to many different sizes of vehicles and battery capacities while using common components to help lower costs. Thanks to being designed from the start for electric propulsion, the MEB-based vehicles will have several innovations. Since electric drive components take up less space than gas-powered engines and transmissions, the I.D. models can offer interior space that’s a class-size larger than their exterior dimensions; the I.D. CROZZ can pack Atlas-type space in a Tiguan-size wrapper. All will be engineered to be either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, via one or two electric motors, for more optimal weight distribution and handling. And the battery pack, located in the floor, can be easily redesigned for different sizes and types of batteries, allowing for driving ranges from about 200 miles up to more than 340 miles on the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) cycle. “The platform that Volkswagen is developing is more consistent and innovative than many of the other platforms,” said Thomas Ulbrich, Member of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management, E-Mobility division. “By 2022 alone, we anticipate that four Volkswagen Group brands will be ramping up 27 MEB models worldwide, ranging from compact cars to the I.D. BUZZ van.” ID. BUZZ study charged at a IONITY high power charging station. Concept vehicle shown; not available for sale. Specifications may change. Beyond the basics, the MEB can be designed to help make advanced technologies commonplace, such as over-the-air software update capabilities and 125-kW charging. Ulbrich compares the launch of the MEB to the transition VW made in the 1970s from the Beetle to the Golf – one that changed the company and transportation around the world. “The MEB modular electric drive matrix is probably the most important project in Volkswagen’s history,” he said.
When Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross launched in 2014, the series was a new experience for many Americans; fast-paced, timed motorsports action on closed courses that mixed pavement and dirt with spectacular jumps and “joker laps.” So was the race car, a competition-bred version of the Volkswagen Beetle with nearly 600 hp, all wheel drive and a zero-to-60 mph time faster than most open-wheel race cars. Five years later, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross and drivers Scott Speed and Tanner Foust have shown just how powerful the team can be, completing a dominating performance over four American Rallycross races this year and an inaugural appearance at the Nitro World Games. Scott and Tanner each won two of the ARX season’s four races and neither finished off the podium; only the less-friendly skies of the Nitro World Games competition broke the winning streak, with Tanner placing a hard-fought third. The driver’s accomplishments in 2018 brought Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross’ total race wins over its five-year career to 30 victories and four driver’s championships. Catch a glimpse of the high-flying Beetles below:
Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross completed the inaugural season of the Americas Rallycross Championship (ARX) with a 1-2 finish at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) this weekend. Tanner Foust made a near-clean sweep of the event, earning a top qualifying spot before winning his semifinal heat and the final—his second event win of the season. Scott Speed fought back to finish second in the final, securing his, and the team’s, fourth-consecutive rallycross championship. “It’s been an incredible four years with this team, and I’m so happy to win another championship with everyone from Volkswagen and Andretti,” said Speed. “We’ve worked so hard to develop this program and these cars—I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a driver, too—so it’s amazing to reap the rewards of all that effort with the amazing results we’ve gotten.” After a series of disappointing qualifying heat results, Speed’s grasp of the championship lead seemed tenuous. While Foust marched to two straight qualifying wins, Speed was mired in seventh-place in the standings, before a victory in Q4 boosted him to second behind teammate Foust. The No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle Rallycross driver converted pole position in his semifinal to a win, all but guaranteeing the championship victory. “What a strong weekend for our team,” exclaimed Foust after the finale. “We were up front in a variety of conditions and there was never really a question about what the strongest package was. I’m stoked for everyone to celebrate another championship and can’t wait to get back on track again.” of In 2018, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross won each of the season’s four races and both of its drivers never finished off the podium. In its five years of competition, the team has won four drivers’ and three team championships. The team’s cars have finished on the podium 58 times, including 30 event wins. A highlight broadcast show of the COTA weekend will air on CBS Sports, Wednesday, October 3 at 8 PM (ET).
Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross battled a tough track and intense competition to gain a podium spot in their first visit to the Nitro World Games. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross’s Tanner Foust grabbed a third-place finish in a wild Nitro Rallycross Final. A coming together of the race leaders on lap one knocked Scott Speed out of the event and opened the door for a hard-charging Foust to reach the bottom step of the podium. “This was a crazy weekend for everyone at Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross,” said Foust after the race. “I’m proud of how hard everyone’s worked and glad we got a bit of a reward for the effort at such a wild event.” Foust’s weekend was anything but easy, and the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle Rallycross crew was kept busy repairing damage caused by the extreme track and close racing. Foust won his Challenger Heat despite an injured car, and mechanics from both sides of the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross garage worked together under immense time pressure to prepare the multiple-time rallycross champion’s Beetle for the Semifinal. In the Final, Foust started in the back half of the field only to emerge from the first-lap chaos in third-place. Despite sustaining damage in the melee, the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle Rallycross chased down the leaders but was unable to make up track position before the checkered flag. Foust’s teammate, Scott Speed, enjoyed a less hectic weekend until the first-lap carnage ruined his chances of a top finish. Speed earned an automatic spot in the Semifinal by virtue of his quick times in the Heat races and looked set to challenge for victory, starting his No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle Rallycross second on the grid. of “This event was a totally new experience for me, learning to take a giant jump and racing on a course with all sorts of crazy obstacles to contend with,” said Speed. “It’s a shame that the Final had to turn out the way it did, but I’ll take the learnings from this weekend as we finish out our regular season of races next weekend.” Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross will return to action for the final round of the inaugural Americas Rallycross Championship next weekend at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas
In the late-summer sun of San Diego, California, Volkswagen owners of all generations—cars and people—gathered to celebrate the people’s car brand. Spanning almost as far as the eye can see, across San Diego Count Credit Union Stadium, Volkswagen and other European cars gathered as part of Big SoCal Euro. One of the biggest get-togethers of air-cooled and water-cooled VW vehicles in California, Big SoCal Euro marks 2018 as its seventh year, and the event’s growth is a testament to its quality. Volkswagen vehicles from all over California, Arizona, Nevada and even Mexico made the trek to Big SoCal Euro with a shared goal in mind: relax and check out the cars on display, see old friends and maybe even meet some new people. The Volkswagen 2018 Enthusiast Fleet was on display again at Big SoCal Euro, showcasing some of the brand’s newest and most exciting models, such as the Arteon R-Line and Jetta R-Line. Beside the fleet resided a local variety of enthusiast-owned Jettas, spanning the first generation model, the Mk1, through to the all-new 2019 Jetta. Tanner Foust, Volkswagen’s brand ambassador and revered race car driver, hosted a meet-n-greet in the VW booth, where he met fans and enthusiasts and signed autographs throughout the day. His freshly-completed 2019 Golf R, fitted with fifteen52’s newest Stage RSR 3-piece forged wheel and Oettinger’s aero parts was his ride of choice for the weekend and also on display in the VIP section. Friends from near and far all agreed that Big SoCal Euro was bigger and better than ever before, and the smiles, barbecues and freshly polished cars proved it. of
It was fast. It was nimble. It was fun. And it had attitude. GTI loyalty runs deep No surprise to owners who return generation after generation: The GTI won the IHS Markit Automotive Loyalty award in the sport car category based on an analysis of approximately 17.5 million new vehicle registrations during the 2017 model year. The original 1983 Mk1 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI sported red plaid seats, snowflake wheels, and a golf ball shift knob. It helped create a brand new category of sports car; the hot hatch. Now, the Rabbit is back for 2019 as a special edition model — the GTI Rabbit Edition is the first GTI to pay tribute to the Rabbit heritage since the 2003 20th Anniversary vehicle. Here’s why we should all be excited. Enthusiasm builds The GTI has always been notable for its blending of sportiness and practicality. Take the Mk1 GTI: It featured a unique combination of sports-car performance, signature stylistic accents, and an iconic shape that won a cult following when it first hit U.S. shores in 1983. For the next three decades, VW rolled out generation after generation of eagerly awaited, limited-production GTI editions for enthusiasts. Many featured special performance equipment and unique body and interior highlights, including distinctive hues such as Jazz Blue, Magma Orange, and Ginster Yellow. And a few hold a unique place in the legendary Rabbit line. The Mk4 GTI 20th Anniversary, for example, was the first GTI since the Mk1 to sport a “retro Rabbit” badge, although it didn’t carry the Rabbit name itself. Rabbit redux In 2019, the Rabbit makes a return, paying homage to the dedication of countless enthusiasts and past generations while celebrating the unique heritage of the VW GTI in the U.S. It will be available in Cornflower Blue and Urano Grey — stand-out, non-metallic colors —as well as Deep Black Metallic and Pure White. It features a LED lighting package, a new-for-GTI “Vmax” spoiler accent on the rear roofline, and road-hugging 18-inch “Pretoria” alloy wheels painted gloss black. The U.S. version of the 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition — a limited run of just 3,000 — also includes a special gift from VW (but you’ll have to buy one to find out what it is). Bucket-style, race-inspired Top Sport driver and passenger seats inside the cabin come in heritage Clark Plaid cloth upholstery along with red tags embroidered with the VW Rabbit logo and red-trimmed floormats. Additionally, the Rabbit Edition includes standard Driver Assistance features such as Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitor, and Autonomous Emergency Braking.1 The experience behind the wheel (and on the road) of the 2019 GTI Rabbit edition is just as exceptional: Powered by 228 hp, a VAQ mechanical torque-sensing limited slip differential helps to direct all that to the ground. And high-performance Golf R ventilated disc brakes offer plenty of smooth, well-modulated stopping power. The 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition: It’s been a long time coming. And well worth the wait.
All it takes to modify a sedan to be able to push past 200 mph is to acknowledge its limits – and then find a way to break them without breaking the car itself.1 That’s where Tom Habrzyk’s talents come to life. “The power levels required to set records are very high,” explains Habrzyk, chief executive officer of THR Manufacturing, “so to get to those power levels from the drivetrain, we have to basically overcome some of the failure points that would inhibit us from safely reaching high speeds.” That’s part of the challenge Habrzyk considers each time he tunes a vehicle to perform record-breaking land speed runs across Bonneville’s slippery salt flats. This year, he and his California-based manufacturing team joined forces with Volkswagen to push a modified 2019 Jetta to 210.16 miles per hour and smash its class record at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association’s World of Speed event. The Jetta that was prepped for Utah over the course of a seven-month build, was transformed from compact car to 600-horsepower racer. The engine began as an EA888 2-liter turbocharged and direct injection four-cylinder engine. Even though Habrzyk swapped out many internal parts, including pistons, turbocharger and exhaust, the block and crankshaft remained stock. Considering Habrzyk’s no stranger to LSR Volkswagens, other modifications allude to past Bonneville successes.2 His third collaboration with Volkswagen, Habrzyk equipped the Jetta with a similar drivetrain he used to power the LSR Beetle at the 2016 World of Speed. The car earned notoriety as the world’s fastest Beetle for reaching 205.122 mph over a flying mile; this was a well-deserved win for Habrzyk and his team, who recall a tough challenge in overcoming the car’s aerodynamic disadvantages. In contrast, the Jetta has its own quirks. “The Jetta has an aerodynamic advantage over what we’ve done in the past,” says Habrzyk, “though because the rigidity of the factory chassis is so good, we ran into issues drilling holes for mounting certain things in some of the floor panels because they turned out to be high-strength hot-formed steel.” “So we had to use different techniques to attach things in those areas, or even avoid those areas,” he adds, laughing. “It was kind of a new experience for us.” Powering the car is half the battle. To help ensure a car is ready for the salt of the ancient lakebed, Habrzyk lowers its suspension and adds ballast for greater stability that minimizes the need for steering correction on the salt flats. “The consistency of the surface at Bonneville is similar to freshly compacted snow almost at its melting point,” says Habrzyk, “so it’s not as solid as most people would think.” That makes safety a paramount concern. Habrzyk assures each car he works on follows safety regulations put forth by the Southern California Timing Association, which oversees Bonneville’s annual Speed Week and other related events. To do this, the Jetta is outfitted with a roll cage, racing seat and harness, as well as parachutes that help bring the car to a stop. of 2 THR Manufacturing typically takes on a new car build project like the Jetta once a year. While Habrzyk has experience building drift, drag race and road race cars throughout his 12-year career, his more recent LSR projects run at Bonneville. Between the delicate salt track, design hurdles unique to each car and perhaps a penchant for pushing the limit, Habrzyk always welcomes the challenge. “If anybody could do it, everybody would do it, and it wouldn’t be challenging,” he says. “It would just be boring, which it’s not by any means.” On race day, Habrzyk’s not in the driver’s seat; rather, you’ll find him chasing down his creation in a separate vehicle along the side of the race track, all the while listening for a radio announcer to confirm whether the car reached its goal. The Jetta may have just rolled off the salt flats, but Habrzyk’s already hunting for future projects. Namely he wants to tackle electric vehicles for the first time, which currently do not have their own class at Bonneville. “Anything new that’s out there that’s powering something with wheels is always in your head,” he says. “I’m interested in going fast with it.”