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Driven: VW Golf GTI 40 Years manual sells out

Life begins at 40: Of the 500 Golf GTI 40 Years editions to come to Australia, all 100 manual versions have already been snapped up.

Popular manual paves way for more possible performance VW Golfs

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Volkswagen logo26 Jul 2016

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

VOLKSWAGEN has already sold all 100 allocated manual versions of the Golf GTI 40 Years edition and expects to have the entire 500 units accounted for by the end of August, prompting the Australian subsidiary of the European auto giant to reassess other performance models not currently available Down Under.

With the imminent demise of the Scirocco and no replacement in the pipeline, sports models back on the agenda could include the Golf three-door, which has not been offered here since the seventh-generation series launched in 2013.

Whether the returning body style would pave the way for a sub-$40,000 GTI and sub-$50,000 Golf R high-performance flagship is unclear, but according to Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) general manager of communications Paul Pottinger, the company is investigating all possibilities moving forward.



“The fact we’ve already sold out of the GTI 40 manual versions shows that that the enthusiast’s spark is still alive and well,” said Mr Pottinger, noting that the batch of manual versions was not due to land here until September. “And Volkswagen is here to serve them, now and into the future.” VGA is keen to improve the sales rate of its hot hatches. The GTI and R combined are running at 17.5 per cent of total Golf volume to the end of June with 990 and 924 registrations respectively, down from the 25-per-cent-plus the fifth generation averaged between 2005 and 2009.

While only 500 examples of the GTI 40 Years edition are being delivered to Australia – including 400 DSG versions, which Mr Pottinger said would be all out the door “by the end of August” – the limited-run model launched in Brisbane this week is also expected to help reignite interest in the Golf overall.

At 10,893 units in the first half of this year, VW’s top-selling model by a country mile nameplate is down 7.9 per cent over the same period last year.

The newcomer marks the 40th anniversary of the Golf GTI sub-brand in Europe. Right-hand-drive production did not commence until the late-1970s and primarily for the UK market, while Australia did not see the hot-hatch pioneer at all until the twilight years of the second-generation version in 1990, some three years after the iconic Peugeot 205 GTi helped prise the market open here.

As GoAuto has previously reported, the front-drive 40 Years edition is positioned above the GTI Performance but below the Golf R AWD, kicking off with a six-speed manual gearbox from $46,990 plus on-road costs, or $2000 more for the DSG.

It employs a tuned version of the regular model’s EA888-series 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged engine that pumps out 195kW of power from 5350-6600rpm and 350Nm of torque between 1700-5600rpm, making it the most powerful production GTI to date.

In contrast, the regular Golf GTI pumps out 162kW at 4500-6200rpm and 350Nm from 1500-4400rpm.

It also features an overboost function that increases output to 213kW/380Nm for 10 seconds under heavy acceleration. It can manage zero to 100km/h in 6.3 seconds, about 1.4s short of the R’s 5.0s time but 0.3s better than the standard vehicle.

Official combined-cycle fuel consumption is 7.1 litres per 100km (DSG), for a CO2 emissions reading of 163 grams per kilometre. No manual gearbox numbers were provided at the date of publication.

To help cope with the extra oomph, larger brakes, a front differential lock, 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive chassis control and a more aggressively styled bodykit are fitted.

Adaptive cruise control, front assist with autonomous emergency braking, a blind spot monitor and rear traffic alert are also standard.

Other road users will be able to tell the 40 Years edition apart from the regular GTI thanks to the darker LED tail-lights, redesigned rear bumper with new diffuser design, two-piece roof spoiler and bigger twin exhausts, as well as new front bumpers with larger air intakes, blackened door mirrors, extended side sills, black side stripe and optional contrasting black roof.

Special GTI-themed red stitching, front door sill strips, Alcantara-swathed steering wheel and door trim, and honeycomb-patterned seat upholstery give the game away inside.

The colour palette is limited to Oryx White, Tornado Red or Carbon Steel (black), while the only option available is an $1850 panoramic sunroof.

Being Golf Mk7-based, the 40 Years is underpinned by MacPherson struts up front, a multi-link rear end and has an electric rack-and-pinion steering system.

The tare mass is published at 1357kg, and luggage volume is at 380 litres, enhanced by a space-saver spare. The standard wheel and tyre set-up comprises 19x7.5 alloy rims wearing 225/35R19 rubber.

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI pricing*
GTI $40,990
GTI DSG (a) $43,490
GTI Performance DSG (a) $46,490
GTI 40 Years $46,990
GTI 40 Years DSG (a) $48,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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