It’s the new Volkswagen Golf GTI!
Prepare your tartan tea flasks and ready your specially embroidered ‘16v’ jackets: this…is the brand new Volkswagen Golf GTI.
And it is brand new. Unlike the new VW Golf R Cabrio we recently tested (which actually sat on the old Mk VI platform), this new GTI sits on the spangly new Mk VII platform; a platform that consists of many Lego-spec parts that can be rearranged to make up to 10 million VW Group models in the coming years.
To this Mk VII chassis – or Modularer Querbaukasten (MQB) – Volkswagen has bolted on a 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine that is such a teacher’s pet, it already conforms to the EU-6 emission standards that come into place next year. Apple polisher.
But you don’t care about emissions as much as you care about poweeerrr. To this end, the ‘standard’ new VW Golf GTI produces 162 kW and 350Nm of torque, which is sufficient to propel the GTI’s 1,351kg heft from 0-100 in 6.5 seconds (a tenth quicker than before) and on to a top speed of 250km/h.
Why ‘standard’? Because for the first time ever, you can spec an optional ‘Performance Pack’ for your shiny new GTI that boosts power to 170kW (torque remains the same), adds a proper mechanical limited slip differential and bigger brakes, drops the 0-62mph time down to 6.4 seconds, and raises the top speed to 250 Km/h.
Naturally, it’s front-wheel-drive, and along with a six-speed manual, you also get the option of a six-speed DSG gearbox. Spec the former, and VW reckons you’ll be able to achieve some 16Km/l and emit just 139g/km of CO2 (around 15Km/l for the DSG ‘box on both 161kW and 170kW models).
There’s also sports suspension, twin exhaust pipes, red brake calipers, 18in alloy wheels, special side sills, a rear diffuser and smoked LED lights to finish the transformation. Looks clean, doesn’t it? Inside, there’s the traditional nod to where this lineage all began way back when, with tartan cloth upholstery, red ambience lighting, a new steering wheel/gear lever/instrument cluster, and stainless steel pedals. Prices in Europe will start at €28 350 (R328 000) but for now, we’ll have to wait for the official four-door launch in S.A. later this year.
Now, on paper the Vauxhall Astra VXR and Renault Megane RS smoke it on 0-100 Km/h times (by four tenths of a second) and power, so the Focus ST is a more natural sparring partner. But these things naturally dissolve into the driving experience, and the ordinary new Golf is very good. Which means this new GTI promises much…