By on August 6, 2018

Our personal biases frequently lead us to condemn any number of advanced automotive technologies. That’s partly because we’re dinosaurs who fetishize vintage automobiles that, in reality, are actually far worse than we like to pretend. But it’s also because most modern-day tech sucks harder than a jet-powered Dyson. A large portion of that problem stems from automakers implementing technology solely to appease regulators or line their pockets with cash.

Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. You sometimes end up with things like power windows, torque vectoring, the dual clutch transmission, and satellite navigation. And while it’s still handy to know how to read a map, GPS has made car-based voyages a breeze, and it’s only getting better.

Waze, a preferred navigation app for many, offers community-confirmed accident information, fuel pricing, and speed traps. Since its purchase by Google in 2013, the system now finds itself baked into Android Auto. Things are progressing rather nicely, as a new partnership with Volkswagen implements features that cater specifically to driving enthusiasts. 

Announced by VW on Monday, Waze is launching a new pilot program in the United Kingdom aimed at helping drivers find pristine stretches of road. Over 75 of the region’s best driving roads were chosen by a team of data scientists based on the following criteria: “scenic, yet close enough to points of interest; have the right driving conditions — including engaging corners; low amounts of traffic; and low incident reports.”

Dubbed as “GTI Superdrives,” the Waze app will be available on all UK-based GTI models. That includes the Golf, Polo, and Up (stylized as “up!”). Whenever the driver of one of those sport-tuned hatchbacks activates Waze and comes within 12 miles of a specially selected road, a GTI logo will appear on the screen. Giving it a tap then reroutes the driver to the paved slice of heaven.

It’s certainly an interesting idea — one we wouldn’t mind seeing rolled out in North America in a future update. However, maybe Google is right in limiting it to performance-oriented models. That’s not to say you can’t hoon a minivan; personal experience dictates otherwise. But it might be bad form to announce every secret stretch of road to the general public and local police department.

Regardless, Volkswagen made it very clear that VW-loving app users shouldn’t speed. “Working with Waze, we wanted to offer more drivers the chance to get off the often congested ‘beaten track’ and instead experience the simple pleasure of driving once more,” said Alison Jones, Director of Volkswagen UK. “The aim, very clearly, is about enjoying time behind the wheel — not speeding or driving in a way that increases risk — and we believe that the intelligence of the Waze app helps drivers do just that.”

Right. You wouldn’t want to break the law by exceeding the posted limits on a gorgeous road that’s absolutely begging for you to do so. That would be illegal.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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12 Comments on “Volkswagen GTI-Themed Waze App Steers You Toward a Good Time...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    – Tesla drivers can get directions to the nearest proctologist.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    That is not the good time I was thinking of.

  • avatar
    aajax

    Jaguar and Land Rovers to the nearest mechanic.

  • avatar
    aajax

    Hey, VW, how about a 3/4 version for Golf owners?

  • avatar
    aajax

    Another reason to hold off buying my next VW. Always something.

  • avatar
    Fred

    A couple of years ago I drove from Texas to California hoping to follow route 66 and taking the scenic route as much as possible. Google maps and Garmin do a very poor job of it. Basically I had a list of possible places to check out and every morning I’d spend my breakfast time setting up way points and routes. So this sounds like a stop in the right direction. Although I’m not thrilled with some algorithm to plan my vacation travels.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    As someone who is always looking for great driving roads, I would LOVE this! Then again,Bim the guy who will almost always take the long way home when it means driving on better roads.

  • avatar
    church

    Imho this idea should be rather done by community, to get driving roads/routes for driving pleasure better known. Also maybe of different types. Eg. one thing is twisties backroads, another – boring straight, but with beautiful scenery around. And community .. to not leave out roads for whatever reason non passing by corporate requirements described in story. If road is interesting, high incident rate won’t keep me out. Interesting gravel paved roads also might be worth to try. Scenery is not always mandatory bit if i’m driving just for fun of driving. Hence – such route sets reported/collected by community and categorized for different drivers with different wishes, not one-size-fits-all in eyes of VW marketing droids. Waze itself got as good navigation app only by involvement of users. It’s realtime road situation reports come from user submitted data. So it might work well also for reporting interesting routes of whichever type (unless it gets abused by shop owners nearby some of routes, thus misreporting/upvoting some of routes to rise count of potential customers, lol).

  • avatar
    KevinC

    Meanwhile, here in the states, it’s virtually impossible to get a map update for the factory nav in your Mk7 Golf/GTI/R, because VWoA can’t even figure out of to offer them. If you do manage to find a newer update than your car came with, it requires dealer intervention to hook your car up to the mothership and tie the new SD card to your VIN. What a joke.


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