Recap: Worthersee 2019 in Germany

More than 100,000 Volkswagen GTI enthusiasts from all over Europe and as far away as the United States and Mexico gathered in a small town in Austria called Reifnitz to celebrate the Volkswagen GTI.

Known as the GTI Wörthersee Treffen or meet, the event has been held every year since 1982 on the shores of Lake Wörthersee in a town that has a population of only 850. It becomes the center of the universe for car fanatics who freak out over VW GTIs.  It takes place on Father’s Day weekend in Austria every year. This year’s event took place the weekend of May 29 through June 1.

Many of the car fans that visit the meet bring their own GTI models. This year as many as 6,000 cars made by Volkswagen Group manufacturers including Audi, Skoda, Seat, and Porsche as well as a few made by Mercedes-Benz and BMW were showcased.

The first Volkswagen GTI was introduced in 1976 and featured a fuel-injected, four-cylinder engine borrowed from Audi and dropped into a Golf.  GTI models have been attracting fans from all over the world ever since.

The event also motivates Volkswagen’s apprentices to build their own concept cars that are showcased at the event.

Concepts shown this year include a Golf GTI Aurora and a Golf Estate R 4MOTION FighteR. Audi also showed its TT Safari concept car.

Apprentices from Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg factory constructed the Golf GTI Aurora. The car is techy as well as a high performance machine.

A 2.0-liter gasoline inline-4 powers the vehicle and generates 380-horsepower. The engine is coupled with a 7-speed transmission and is shrouded in Nardo Gray paint previously used by Audi. It blends with a black finish and mint green accents.

Digitally designed, it features a large front splitter with stanchions connected to the grille. A giant wing just about the size of the car embellishes the rear.

There are some surprises to this car that are not normally seen on concepts. When one opens the tailgate he is confronted with a roll cage, a custom subwoofer mount, and a hologram generator.  The motion of the hologram is based on the music coming from the sound system and seems to float above its module.

The sound system booms due to 3,500 watts of power.

Inside, the rear bench has been removed and the center console modified to hold screens that display information on the car and engine. A computer tablet mounted on the passenger side offers access to the data and sound system.

The VW apprentices from the Saxony plant showcased a Golf they modified into the Golf Estate R 4MOTION FighteR. The engine generates 400-horsepower. It’s mated to a 7-speed DSG transmission, which runs an all-wheel drive (AWD) system.

The concept is about two and a third inches wider than the standard Golf due to a very aggressive body kit. There are extra lights and a 360-degree camera on the roof. The camera was used to video a lap the car took at the Sachsenring track at Hohenstein-Ernstthal in Saxony, Germany.

The exterior is cloaked in Crystal Silver paint with piano black and Misano red accents.  Other exterior accessories include strobe lights in the grille.

The interior sports a full leather appearance with Alcantara that extends into the cargo area.

Audi showcased an Audi modified into a TT Safari, an off-road concept car with plenty of performance features.

The old fenders were swapped for new fender flares so that the car could accommodate off-road tires. The car wreaks off-road with a reimagined grille equipped with off-road lights and raised suspension. There is also a new exhaust, roof rack, and a storage center where the rear window used to be for spare tires. The back of the vehicle resembles a pickup truck.

The machine is shrouded in black, yellow, white and red paint. The yellow color theme is extended into the interior on the steering wheel, seats, accent stitching and other trim. Even the windshield has a yellow tint.

The legendary Audi 200 Safari, which finished first and second at the 1987 WRC Safari Rally in East Africa, is said to have inspired the construction of the concept.

Although the car attracted a lot of attention, don’t expect Audi to produce it.  In fact, Audi recently announced that the current TT will be discontinued soon and give way to an electric model. No one is sure whether the new car will in any way represent a new incarnation of the TT.

Volkswagen USA was also represented at the event with seven modified vehicles that included a Golf GTI, Golf R, a Jetta GLI, and Arteon, Tiguan and Atlas SUVs.

Volkswagen Brand Ambassador and FIA WTCR driver Benny Leuchter and Jasmin Preisig, who competed in the 24-hour “Girls Only GTI TCR team” race at Nürburgring, also appeared at the event.

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