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Geneva show: Volkswagen premieres 169kW Golf GTI

Lucky seven: Aside from the new wheel design, the lighter and faster new Mk7 VW Golf GTI is just like last year's concept from the Paris motor show.

New Volkswagen Golf GTI emerges, goes on-sale in Australia in final quarter of 2013


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28 Feb 2013

THE seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatch was tonight revealed in production guise ahead of its debut in the Swiss city of Geneva on March 5.

As expected, the lighter and faster new GTI is – with the exception of an out-of-character alloy wheel design – basically identical to the GTI ‘concept’ that appeared at last September’s Paris motor show.

The latest iteration of the iconic pocket rocket uses the Audi S3’s turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, which for the first time since the Golf Mk2 of the 1980s will be available in two states of tune.

Volkswagen has opted to reveal the Euro-favoured three-door version first – as seen in the accompanying shots – but a five-door version will naturally return.

According to Volkswagen Australia general manager of press and PR Karl Gehling, local deliveries will commence in the fourth quarter of this year, about six months after the regular Golf Mk7 range launches in April.

The GTI will be a crucial addition, with the existing Mk6 version accounting for around 20 per cent of all current Golf sales in Australia – a proportional figure much higher nearly anywhere else in the world.

Power for ‘entry’ versions comes from the Audi A3’s 162kW/350Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre engine – up 5kW and 70Nm on the current Mk6 GTI – that reduces the 0-100km/h time by 0.4 seconds to 6.5s.

Peak power arrives at 4500 and carries through to 6300rpm, while maximum torque rides a fat rev band to be on tap between 1500 and 4400rpm.

Intriguingly, buyers can also order the optional performance package, which brings power output up to 169kW – cutting a further 0.1s from the standing sprint time – and adds a new front differential lock that counters understeer.

Power is sent through the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or VW’s latest six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic.

While the punchy new turbo brings the speed, 312mm front and 300mm rear ventilated disc brakes bring a halt. The performance pack adds larger 340mm/310mm discs.

The sprint time won’t be the only thing reduced, with fuel consumption down to 6.0 litres per 100km in manual form – 18 per cent less than the current sixth-generation GTI – thanks to fuel-saving technology like idle-stop.

DSG versions will consume a claimed 6.4L/100km in regular guise or 6.5L/100km with the performance pack fitted.

Like the garden-variety Golf, the GTI version will be based on the innovative high-strength and lightweight MQB modular platform shared with the Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia, to name but a fraction.

If the Paris concept is any guide, the GTI models will get a new electric steering system that uses a progressive gear ratio to reduce steering work – making it more manoeuvrable around town and sharper in the bends.

The biggest change VW has made in the progression from concept to reality is the new set of alloy wheels. While they remain a five-spoke affair, they stray from the typical GTI simplicity and instead feature a complex array of spokes more reminiscent of the diesel GTD.

Inside, the old mechanical parking brake has been ditched in favour of a space-saving, switch-operated electric unit – meaning no more handbrake turns.

But in a nod to the familiar, the signature ‘jacky’ black, white and red tartan seat trim, flat-bottomed steering wheel, chronograph dials and red-stitched steering wheel all remain.

The concept features familiar GTI design touches including red brake callipers and red striping on the honeycomb grille (a staple since the 1976 original). Twin 80mm chrome-tipped tailpipes, a modest roof spoiler and a black diffuser complete the look at the rear.

The new GTI will be among a cavalcade of new Golf variants to premiere in Geneva, alongside the new GTD, R, R cabrio, wagon and pure electric e-Golf.

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