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VW ditches 169kW/350Nm Golf GTI

Tee off: Volkswagen’s perennial Golf GTI will adopt a more potent 180kW/370Nm engine tune later this year as the German brand also ditches manual and three-door offerings.

Seven-speed DSG, 180kW/370Nm engine standard on VW Golf GTI from Q3

22 May 2018

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia (VGA) has discontinued the 169kW/350Nm Golf GTI, as well as manual and three-door body styles, and will instead offer the higher 180kW/370Nm tune of the EA888 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine in automatic-only, five-door hatch form from October this year.
The changeover is a result of the adoption new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which replaces the old New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) testing, and bases fuel consumption and carbon dioxide and pollutant emissions on more rigorous, real-world driving data.
Speaking to GoAuto, VGA general manager of communications Paul Pottinger said the brand is reducing production complexity in light of the new rules, “which we imagine would affect all European importers for Australia”. 
The outcome will be that from the third quarter, all Golf GTIs will gain specification previously reserved only for the Performance Edition variants, including the aforementioned 180kW/370Nm engine tune, a seven-speed wet-dual-clutch automatic transmission, a front differential lock and bigger brakes.
Exact pricing and specification is yet to be confirmed, but Volkswagen’s current small hot hatch range kicks off with the six-speed manual, three-door Original for $37,490 before on-roads, while the three-pedal, five-door Golf GTI is priced from $41,990.
Adding a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to either adds $2500 to their asking price.
When powered by the 169kW/350Nm unit, the Golf GTI is able to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 6.4 seconds and return a fuel consumption rating of 6.6 and 6.7 litres per 100km for manual and automatic versions respectively.
When it was launched late last year as a limited-run variant, the Golf GTI Performance Edition 1 was available exclusively as a three-door, automatic-only fare wearing a $47,990 pricetag.
Despite the raised outputs from the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that cut the 0-100km/h time to 6.2s, official fuel economy figures were down 0.1L, to 6.5L/100km.
The switch in engine specification will also signal the end of availability of manual Golf GTIs in current-generation form, with Mr Pottinger confirming that three-pedal take-up in the Volkswagen hot hatch was only in the “single-figure percentage”.
Similarly, the three-door body style will also be discontinued after the current allocation of “a few hundred” sells out, according to Mr Pottinger.
VGA general manager of marketing Ben Wilks said the updates to the Golf GTI line-up are in line with what buyers expect from the nameplate.
“Volkswagen has the unique ability to adapt and upgrade in this way, as opposed to car-makers that seek to emulate the GTI paradigm,” he said.
“Such has been the demand for Performance Editions that making its specification standard is a logical progression, especially in terms of DSG, a transmission others are either trying to copy or cannot.
“This GTI embodies what customers want.”
The upgraded engine will enable the Volkswagen Golf GTI to better keep pace with fresh rivals in the front-drive hot-hatch segment, including the 202kW/354Nm Hyundai i30 N and incoming 205kW/390Nm Renault Megane RS.

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