Volkswagen R Taking the Fight to AMG

2018 Volkswagen Golf R

On June 1, racing manager and former Ford motorsports boss Jost Capito took over the Volkswagen R division from Ulrich Riestenpatt Gt. Richter, who had led the offshoot since its inception in 2009. The division has been responsible for several Volkswagen R models, most notably the VR6–powered Golf R32, the Passat R36 with an even more powerful VR6, and the V-10 TDI–powered Touareg R50. But those models were launched in the increasingly distant past.

More recently, Richter put Volkswagen R on a profitable track with the highly successful R-Line trim packages that are factory options added on the production line, but the release of true R models has slowed to a trickle. In fact, there is only one left now, the Golf R, while a 400-hp variant of that model we were promised was axed following the Dieselgate-related departure of former VW Group R&D chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser.

But now we are told that Volkswagen R is ready to make a major move. “Crush AMG” seems to be the battle cry, and we expect it to inspire a number of full-fledged R models, some of which likely will feature bodies modified beyond the usual bumpers and spoilers. There will be a new, more extreme Golf R and a T-ROC R, and we expect to see Tiguan R and Touareg R models as well. An Arteon R is also possible. With the exception of the Touareg, the models should be powered by ultra-high-output four-cylinder engines, although an Arteon R with a turbocharged, slightly downsized VR6 is a possibility.

As for the man leading this charge, Capito’s high-performance credentials include starting his career at Porsche before moving to the Sauber Formula 1 team. He took over Ford’s performance-vehicle activities in 2001 and led VW Motorsport between 2012 and 2016. He then joined McLaren as head of McLaren Racing in 2016 before returning to VW. It’s early into his tenure at VW R, but let’s hope these rumblings mean his experience is being put to good use.


The Bus is Back! Volkswagen to launch I.D. Buzz in 2022

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Volkswagen is returning to one of its most iconic vehicles, the 1960s Microbus, and will relaunch a modern electric version based on the I.D. Buzz concept in 2022. The vehicle will be aimed at buyers in North America, Europe, and China and will come in passenger and cargo van models. VW also says the bus will be a strong part of its strategy for autonomous transportation.

The news was confirmed Saturday one day before the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as VW seeks to reconnect the Buzz with its predecessor’s easy-going California surfer vibe from the 1960s.

Volkswagen describes the production model as a compact four-door with the batteries mounted in the floor. It will have a long wheelbase with short overhangs, elevated seating and available all-wheel drive. It will be based on VW’s new purpose-built electric architectureAutoblog reported earlier this month that another electric, the I.D. Crozz, will launch before the Buzz.

The production name of the Buzz – Microbus would be a solid bet – and electric range were not immediately specified. The Buzz concept has a range of 270 miles on electricity and 162.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the back seats down.

By turning to one of the most-loved vehicles it’s ever sold in the United States – and introducing full-electric propulsion – VW is taking its most dramatic step to move away from diesel engines, its former signature technology. Since emissions-cheating revelations came to light, forcing the company to pay millions in fines and face numerous legal issues around the world, VW has changed its leadership team, revamped its product strategy and pivoted from diesel engines to be more in step with consumers who are seeking electric power.

In addition to its emotional play for van enthusiasts from a bygone era, the modern Microbus will take aim at the commercial sector, potentially using Level 3 autonomous technology to aid deliveries in crowded urban areas.

VW made the call to produce the I.D. Buzz after strong reaction to the concept that debuted in January at the Detroit Auto Show. “This vehicle is the perfect balance between emotion, usability and sustainability, while also showcasing our technological leadership,” VW’s North American Region CEO, Hinrich Woebcken, said in a statement. “The high seating position, cargo capacity, overall versatility and all-wheel drive option packaged into such an appealing design is just what our customers want from us. And it’s the perfect fit for the zero-emissions American lifestyle.”


Volkswagen will debut the T-Roc on August 23, but until then, it’s previewing the new subcompact crossover in its most revealing teaser video yet. This latest teaser shows off the headlights, taillights, bodywork, and parts of the model’s interior.

As revealed in the video, the T-Roc features a bold design that departs from the somewhat-conservative look of VW’s other crossovers. Case in point: the new wide radiator grille with integrated headlights. Creases on the hood hint at the T-Roc’s athleticism, and the silver trim brings out the vehicle’s golden paint job. In back, the T-Roc features a bulbous rear end and unique taillight signatures.

Inside, it looks very much like a Volkswagen, save for the bold yellow accents on the interior. Simplicity dominates the cockpit, and in the center sits a familiar rectangular multimedia infotainment unit.

The T-Roc will ride on Volkswagen’s MQB platform and should offer a range of turbocharged gas and diesel engines in Europe. Production gets underway in the second half of this year, as we reported in our initial First Drive review. It’s unclear if the model is coming to the U.S. market or not, but if so, it would compete against the Mazda CX-3Toyota C-HR, and Honda HR-V in quite a favorable market for crossovers.


Herndon, VA (August 4, 2017) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. today announced that the all-new, seven-passenger 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, when equipped with available Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), has earned a 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK award is issued to vehicles that have earned “Good” ratings in IIHS crash tests evaluated in five categories: frontal impact moderate overlap; frontal impact small overlap; side impact; roof strength; and head restraints. It must also offer an autonomous emergency braking system (AEB) that earns at least an advanced rating for front crash prevention. The 2018 Atlas earned a “Superior” rating on the AEB test.
“Volkswagen’s commitment to safety and driver assistance technology is unwavering. We take great responsibility to ensure our driver assistance technologies get smarter,” said Hendrik Muth, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy. “The Atlas is an example of our ongoing commitment to offering these features, and we are proud it has been recognized as an IIHS 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK.”
The Atlas is the only vehicle in its class to offer the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which is standard across all trims. This system builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System addresses this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.
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Other driver assist systems available in the Atlas include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), front and rear Park Distance Control (ParkPilot), Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist); High Beam Control (Light Assist) and Overhead View Camera (Area View).
IIHS launched its front crash prevention rating program in 2013 to help consumers sort through the maze of available technologies and focus on the most effective systems. For more information on IIHS, visit All IIHS ratings are available at

VW’s car of the future borrows from the past

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Volkswagen Group’s idea for the car of tomorrow borrows a lot from yesterday.

Matthias Erb, Volkswagen AG’s chief engineering officer, explained at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars that the automaker’s I.D. Buzz microbus, an autonomous, electric van that debuted in January at the Detroit auto show, borrows design and functionality elements from the company’s first eight-seater, the T-1 bus known as the Bulli.

“It’s the new version with a lot of new features for today,” Erb said, speaking about driverless car design.

The I.D. Buzz concept shown in Detroit features a floor-mounted 111-kilowatt-hour battery pack and up to 369 hp with an effective range of up to 270 miles under U.S. standards. It features VW’s I.D. Pilot autonomous driving system, complete with a squared steering wheel that retracts into the instrument panel when the autonomous driving system is engaged.

The cockpit also includes a touch-sensitive steering mechanism, an augmented reality head-up display and a large, detachable center-mounted tablet information screen. It also features swivel chairs and the capability to turn the third-row seats into a bed.

While the interior looks futuristic, the exterior harkens back to the microbus that VW started selling in 1950. But it does include new-age LEDs that can react to a driver’s presence.

Erb said the automaker envisions the I.D. Buzz as an ideal way to haul up to eight people for car-sharing services, or for commercial use. It’s built on the automaker’s new MEB platform, and the concept version featured an electric motor at each axle.

“This is the platform of the future,” Erb said.

Executives designed the first Bulli because they wanted a vehicle with a similar powertrain and chassis as the original Beetle but with the option to seat eight. By 1956, the bus had a 91 percent market share in its segment, Erb said. It featured three body styles, including a pickup version.

VW discontinued Bulli sales in the U.S. in 2003, but it has continued to sell the microbus in Europe, where it is in its sixth generation.

“We have to go back in our history to move on and build a bridge between cultures and apply that to our products and design language of the future,” he said.