2010 Volkswagen GTI: Engineered by Lotus
November 15, 2010
Well, actually it's not. But while driving away from the presentation of five concept cars by Group Lotus on Friday night and weaving through the cars brought up for the crowd by the valet guys, I was thinking that the GTI resembled a Lotus more than the cars that had brought all these Hollywood people here, the Prius being the most popular by my count.
The classic quotation from Colin Chapman is "Simplificate, and then add lightness," a colloquial phrase popularized by the designer of the British-built Canberra jet bomber that dominated the headlines in the years after World War II, a time when Chapman was studying to be an aircraft engineer. The idea was later expressed more eloquently by Tony Rudd, the BRM Formula 1 designer who moved to Lotus in 1969. He said, "The most elegant and effective and traditional Lotus solution is the one with the least parts effectively deployed."
This is the GTI's story, really, as it gathers together a few prosaic parts that add up to much more than you expect. It certainly impressed the valet guys, who had never really seen one before.
Maybe the VW GTI would get more respect if it had a Lotus badge. It kind of hits all the marks that a Lotus does, doing more with less, and yet you can show up at a Hollywood gig like this and be treated like an adult instead of a gatecrasher.
--Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 16,333 miles