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Volkswagen axes Golf GTI three-door

High five: The MK7 Volkswagen Golf GTI will launch here on October 1.

Five doors only for seventh-gen Volkswagen Golf GTI, due here within weeks

Volkswagen logo19 Sep 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO

VOLKSWAGEN will axe the three-door variant from its Golf GTI range when the new-generation model launches in Australia at the start of October.

The German brand’s local arm took to social media this week to announce the move to cut its popular hot hatch range to a five-door only proposition when the Mk7 version hits town.

It is understand only a tiny fraction of previous-generation Golf sales in Australia were of the three-door version. The company has previously dropped the three-door version of the more potent, AWD Golf R so as not to intrude on sales of its Golf-based Scirocco coupe launched last year.

The lighter and faster seventh-generation GTI launched globally in March this year. It will be a crucial addition to Australia, since the previous version was disproportionately popular Down Under, comprising about 20 per cent of all Golf sales – a figure far beyond those in Europe.

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

Intriguingly, overseas buyers can also order an 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. Australia is expected to get this option too.

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.

Inside, the old mechanical parking brake has been ditched in favour of a space-saving, switch-operated electric unit. But in a nod to the familiar, the signature black, white and red tartan seat trim, flat-bottomed steering wheel, chronograph dials and red-stitched steering wheel all remain.

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