DON’T worry, and be happy folks, because not only has Volkswagen not messed up the Golf GTI formula (like it did big time with the 1991 Mk3 and 1998 Mk4), it has actually improved the species thanks to a trick new electronic diff, a more efficient engine and improved quality all round.
But the basics are as before, down to the driver-focussed chassis and everyday practicality, meaning that the new Mk6 GTI is as deserving of the widespread affections as its already-classic Mk5 predecessor was.
Model release date: October 2009
STATING that an icon was reborn is no overstatement, because the fifth-generation Golf GTI restored the hot hatch qualities that made the pioneering Mk1 and world-conquering Mk2 versions classics within their lifetimes.
Powered by a 147kW/280Nm 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder turbo engine mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed wet-clutch DSG dual-clutch transmission, the South African-assembled front-wheel drive GTI soon became Australia’s affordable performance-car darling, with waiting lists extending beyond one year.
Initially just a five-door hatch was imported, but from late 2006 a cheaper three-door version was also introduced.
A limited edition, 169kW/300Nm GTI Pirelli edition landed in October 2008, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a Europe-only model featuring special wheels from the Italian tyre-making giant.
All-in-all, some 25 per cent of all Golf sales were of the GTI.