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Presenting The Improbably Prospect Of The 200-MPH VW Jetta

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VW's not reviving the Pontiac, but it is going for a new record at Bonneville.

With 200 horsepower on tap, the last Volkswagen Jetta GLI was no slouch. And the new one, with the GTI's engine, promises to be even faster. But this one will be faster still.

It's a one-off Jetta that VW has built with one goal in mind: to go as fast as it can in a straight line on the salt flats of Lake Bonneville. So instead of 200 hp or 300 offered up by the Golf R, this Jetta GLI produces over 500. That's expected to be enough to propel the ostensibly humble little economy sedan to a top speed in excess of 208 mph.

The manufacturer first hinted at the project a couple of months ago, but has now revealed all the details. And the engine isn't the only part of this Veedub to have been modified for the purpose. The interior's also been stripped out to race-car specifications, left only with a bucket seat, racing harness, roll cage, and the necessary controls.

Volkswagen and the specialists at THR Manufacturing of Ventura, California, also been streamlined the shape to a slippery drag coefficient of just 0.27, with enough downforce to keep it planted on the surface of the dried-up lakebed in Utah.

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The wheels and tires are unique to the mission as well, and VW's Southern California Design Center cooked up the special livery. The goal is to take the BGC/G class speed record. If it manages the feat, it'll be the fastest production-based VW since the 535-horsepower Beetle LSR (Land Speed Record car) that managed a 205.122-mph run at Bonneville two years ago.

"With this attempt at the record we want to underline the sporting potential of the new Jetta and inspire our customers with the more powerful Jetta GLI," said VW of America chief Hinrich J. Woebcken.