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Volkswagen sketches out hotter Golf GTI

Worth it: The GTI TCR will become the new GTI flagship when it launches late this year with 213kW of power and 370Nm of torque.

Fastest Volkswagen Golf yet could join expanding local GTI line-up next year

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Volkswagen logo7 May 2018

VOLKSWAGEN has prepared the ultimate send off for its current-generation Golf GTI hot hatch, with a new flagship variant, dubbed TCR, set to be the fastest production Golf yet, and it could be coming to Australia soon.

Ahead of its full reveal on May 9 at the annual GTI meeting in Worthersee, Austria, the GTI TCR has been teased in sketch form, complete with a few performance details, such as its 264km/h top speed when the speed limiter is removed.

This makes the GTI TCR at least 14km/h faster than any other existing GTI variant, as well as the R variants, which are electronically limited to 250km/h.

When questioned by GoAuto if the GTI TCR, which is set to be launched internationally towards the end of this year, will make it into local showrooms, Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) general manager of communications Paul Pottinger said: “I wouldn’t rule it out.

“We’ve got big plans for the remaining few years of the GTI 7.5 life cycle, and we’ll be making an announcement on those in the next couple of weeks.

“So, we’re very interested in it. We’re interested in every version of the GTI from the inception of the current model – it’s an unfolding story. We’ve got a lot to say on that front.”

Based on the Touring Car Racing (TCR) racecar of the same name, the GTI TCR punches out 213kW of power from 5000 to 6800rpm and 370Nm of torque from 1600 to 4300rpm from its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.

While its outputs are down 62kW and 50Nm on the racecar’s figures, the GTI TCR matches the Australian-market 380Nm Golf R’s peak power and 180kW GTI Performance Edition 1’s maximum torque figures.

Furthermore, the GTI TCR will match the peak power of the retired GTI 40 Years – otherwise known as the GTI Clubsport S overseas – but fall 10Nm short of its maximum torque.

The latter achieved these outputs when on overboost and was restricted to 500 examples when it hit Australian shores in July 2016. Its non-overboost peak outputs were 195kW and 350Nm.

The front-wheel-drive GTI TCR will be available in five-door form with a standard seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-axle differential lock, which “are responsible for power transmission and excellent traction”, according to the German car-maker.

The four teaser sketches indicate that the GTI TCR will adopt a more aggressive bodykit, including a motorsport-inspired rear diffuser, plus new-look alloy wheels and a lowered ride height.

Mr Pottinger added that the recently-announced GTI Performance Edition 2 remains on track for a limited-run release later this year, saying: “A 180kW GTI, in one form or another, with seven-speed DSG and a mechanical differential – that’s absolutely on the cards.

“I can tell you it won’t be a three-door, but our plans for that and the extent of that car may well be greater than we originally envisaged.”

The three-door GTI Performance Edition 1 was priced from $47,990 before on-road costs when it launched in August last year, with the GTI Performance Edition 2 expected to wear a similar pricetag when it arrives locally.

Sales of the Golf have improved considerably this year, with 6211 examples sold to the end of April, representing a 19.1 per cent increase over the 5214 deliveries made during the same period in 2017.

This effort places the Volkswagen fourth in the sub-$40,000 small-car segment this year, trailing the Toyota Corolla (12,243 units), Mazda3 (11,117) and Hyundai i30 (8654) but ahead of Kia Cerato (5904) and Honda Civic (4966), among others.

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