posted 2 years ago

What Is Worthersee?

We visited Austria’s Worthersee show in Reifnitz for the first time, but what exactly is it all about?

Well, the Worthersee show is the biggest VAG (or Volkswagen Audi Group, as it was once known) event in the world. But, it’s not your typical car show. We’re familiar with the usual motor shows showcasing up and coming new vehicles, but Worthersee is dedicated to models that have been modified by owners to look, often, completely different to how they came out of the factory. 

Worthersee 2016

Owners drive to the event, park up, and basically chat and meet other car enthusiasts (more often than not, models of the German variety). The official show only takes place across a few days, but enthusiasts have been known to get there at least a week in advance to enjoy the social side of the event.

Worthersee 2016

Despite not being a typical car show, a number of those aforementioned manufacturers still go all out for the event, and Volkswagen had a big happening to celebrate at this year’s edition.

2016 is the 40th anniversary of the iconic hot-hatch the Volkswagen Golf GTI, so Volkswagen featured a huge display, including the debut of the new 40th anniversary special edition 305bhp Volkswagen GTI Clubsport S, alongside a complete history of the model.

There have been seven generations of the Volkswagen Golf GTI hot-hatch, with the eighth expected in 2018. Here’s our timeline of the iconic model:

    • Mk1 Golf GTI (1976). In 1974, six men developed the ‘Sports Golf’. There’s no recorded date for when the first full-production GTI was built in 1976, however, the car had 110bhp and a top speed of 112mph. In 1983, the first special edition made its debut—the 112bhp ‘Pirelli GTI’.


    • Mk2 Golf GTI (1984). The Mk2 Golf GTI retained 112bhp. With introduction of the catalytic converter, the power output briefly dropped to 107bhp in 1984. Two years later, Volkswagen compensated for the reduced power with a new 16-valve engine, which delivered 129bhp and matched the original GTI’s 139bhp (without catalytic converter. In 1990, a ‘G-Lader’ supercharger in the Golf GTI G60 increased power output to 160bhp.
    • Mk3 Golf GTI (1991). In 1991, Volkswagen transferred the GTI insignia to the third generation, starting with 115bhp. A year later, the power output went up with a new 16-valve engine to 150bhp. In 1996, a turbodiesel version (TDI) delivering 110bhp, was introduced. In 1996 the ’20 Years of GTI’ anniversary model was launched.
    • Mk4 Golf GTI (1998). Introduced in 1998 with 150bhp, the Mk4 Golf GTI finished in four- and (in one case) five-cylinder petrol engines, delivering up to 170bhp, while the diesels managed 150bhp. In 2001, the 180bhp ’25 Years of GTI’ turbo model was introduced.

Worthersee 2016

  • Mk5 Golf GTI (2004). The fifth generation got a sharper look, as well as a new 200bhp turbo engine. Volkswagen launched a 230bhp ’30 Years of GTI’ model, in 2006. The ‘Pirelli GTI’ was launched in 2007.
  • Mk6 Golf GTI (2009). The sixth generation debuted with an electronic transverse differential lock (XDS). With 210bhp, the GTI featured a redesigned exhaust system. It was also available as a convertible, for the first time. In 2011, the 235bhp ‘Golf GTI Edition 35 years’ was launched.
  • Mk7 Golf GTI (2012). The seventh generation of the GTI launched in 2012 with two levels of power output: 220bhp from the base version and 230bhp from the Golf GTI Performance, the latter being equipped with a new electronically controlled, torque sensing limited slip differential.

Photography – Mark Rodway.