Fastest van in the west

The Twin Car Towers -Wolfsburg

Perhaps only the Germans would produce a van with a top speed of 116 mph that can get to 62 mph from standing in 10 seconds. Maybe the explanation is the location of Wolfsburg , home of Volkswagen it’s off the A2 autobahn. This is not a road for wimps. You can hurtle along at speeds that would result in a UK magistrate ordering your right foot amputated so it can never again depress an acceleration pedal. Even if you are fearfully approaching 100 mph on the A2 you will soon find yourself tailgated and flashed by beautifully engineered vehicles capable of cruising along at 150 mph.
The Autostadt in Wolfsburg has now established itself as a tourist destination in its own right attracting nearly two million visitors every year. The 62 acre park and water landscaped area represents the Volkswagen group: its brands, values, expertise and service. The brands have their own pavilions, Volkswagen, Audi, Laborghini, Seat, Skoda and Bugatti . The ZeitHaus Museum is the most visited auto museum in the world with classic cars from every manufacturer that have played a part in automotive history.
The park has it’s own 5-star Ritz Carlton hotel as well as 13 restaurants, one of which, The Aqua, has been awarded 3 stars by Michelin.
The factory produces a staggering 3,000 cars a day, three shifts seven days a week. Every day some 435 of these vehicles are collected by the purchasers who make their way to the twin Car Towers. The towers are a magnificent example of first class, creative engineering on a truly gigantic scale.
There’s plenty to see and do at the Autostadt and well worth the visit if you are interested in cars and the future of the automotive industry .
Driving the Caddy Sportline 2.0 litre TDI is an experience in its own right. It really is very fast – in fact it’s the fastest production van in production. Under the bonnet goes VW’s 2.0 TDI powerplant that you find in a variety of cars and vans, pumping out 140bhp at 4,000rpm and 236lb-ft of torque at between 1,800 and 2,500rpm. Claimed fuel economy on the combined cycle is 45.6mpg and CO2 emissions are 165g/km.
It’s also stylish for a van with body coloured bumpers, a rear roof spoiler, a lower front spoiler with fog lights, chrome side rails, chrome upper and lower grilles, 17" 6-spoke alloy wheels, and door mirror housings.
Unlike many sports versions of cars, practicality is not affected at all. With a load space of 3.2m3 and a payload of 677kg the Caddy Sportline van hauls your load with ease. The driver is well protected by a full-height bulkhead, with mesh upper, stopping any forward movement of cargo into the cab. Safety measures do not stop there, with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), TCS (Traction Control System) and EBC (Engine Braking Control) all as standard. The Sportline can cope with any driving situation that may arise.
The vehicle is available in three colours, Tornado red, Diamond black pearl Reflex silver metallic.
It’s also comfortable, the driver’s seat allows for height, reach and rake adjustment, added to which the steering wheel can be set vertically and moves forwards and backwards to ensure the driver attains the perfect driving position. The seats are made from hand-crafted black Italian leather with red stitching and perforated centre panels allowing the materials to breathe.
Steering is precise and the six-speed gearbox is slick and satisfying, making quick progress a pleasure rather than a chore. Even on track, attacking corners more suited to hot hatches and sports cars, the Caddy dug into corners with hardly any body roll and remained stable and friendly to steer.
Aside from the German autobahns the Sportline is great fun to drive on our twisting back roads because the handling and grip are excellent.
The stereo glows a cool blue and has four high quality speakers more than happy to belt out the greatest hits of Johann Baptist Strauss .
It might be a bit pricey, but the Caddy Sportline makes working look good.

A part of the Movimentos Festwochen of Autostadt in Wolfsburg 2010, Sting will perform for two nights. Accompanied by the Bundesjugendorchester (National Youth Orchestra of Germany), two concerts will be staged at the listed KraftWerk of the Volkswagen Group. Advance ticket sale starts 22 December 2009.

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