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This is a safety feature incorporated into most new Volkswagens (excluding the Lupo I think).

In the even of an accident, a driver's foot can slip off the pedals at the point of an impact which can cause damage to the foot and ankle. To try and prevent an injury like this VW have created a system where the ECU will detect fast deceleration and impact. When this situation occurs it will automatically draw the 3 pedals (I can't comment on whether this is the same for an automatic) back towards the engine by about 18cm, moving them away from the driver's feet.

Taken from a list of cool technical features on new VW models I found while rummaging through my desk at work.

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