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Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance arrives at $48,490

New entrant: The new Golf GTI Performance has a bit more power, better brakes behind bigger wheels and a brand-first tricky front diff over the regular GTI.

New VW Golf GTI Performance commands a $4000 premium for track-ready benefits

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Volkswagen logo9 Apr 2014

THE Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance hits Australian showrooms this week priced from $48,490 plus on-road costs, a $4000 premium over the regular hot model on which it is based and which launched here six months ago.

Designed to sit between the regular Golf GTI and the flagship all-wheel-drive Golf R —a new iteration of which also launches locally this week —the front-drive GTI Performance offers more power, bigger brakes and a range-first electronic diff lock that promises sharper cornering.

Pumping out 169kW (up 7kW) between 4700 and 6200rpm and an unchanged 350Nm developed over a 200rpm wider rev range between 1500 and 4600rpm, the GTI Performance is the quickest and most powerful Golf to wear the GTI moniker.

The car dashes from zero to 100km/h in 6.4 seconds (down only one-tenth) and onto 248km/h —up 10km/h. Combined-cycle fuel-consumption is an unchanged 6.6 litresof 98 RON petrol per 100km.

Clever technology includes an electronic wastegate on the turbo that stays shut until boost pressure climbs, minimising losses and thereby reducing lag, as well as a two-stage valve-lift arrangement.

Volkswagen Australia will only offer the car with its DSG dual-clutch paddle-shift automatic transmission. It says head office in Germany only allowed it to take one transmission option, and with 80 per cent of sales expected to be the auto, it was a simple decision.

The $48,490 starting price compares with the $44,490 Volkswagen asks for the regular GTI with the DSG, and $52,490 for the outgoing Golf R with AWD.

It is also $500 more expensive than the price for the GTI Performance that Volkswagen Australia announced last October. Both the Performance and the regular GTI have jumped half a grand in the interim due to inflation and currency devaluation, the company says.

Volkswagen Australia would not say this week what proportion of GTI buyers would step up to the Performance –time will tell. However, the improvements will be most noticeable to the keenest of drivers.

Chief among the changes, beyond the tweaked Euro 5 EA888 2.0-litre turbo engine, is a trick new electronic differential lock on the front axle that, unlike a mechanical diff lock, has a variable degree of locking and can interact with electronic gadgets such as the stability control.

Essentially, the torque-vectoring system uses a multi-plate wet clutch to push engine power to the outside wheel and ‘wrench’the car around corners. At the same time, the GTI’s familiar XDL system brakes the inside wheel. This reduces understeer and improves exit speed.

Volkswagen says this system –a company first –also means ESC stability control can also be wound-back, though not switched off completely, meaning fewer electronic interruptions. The car is also more agile, has more mid-corner grip and as a result a lower tendency to skid.

The other significant performance upgrade is the re-worked brakes, essentially lifted from the all-new Mk7 Golf R.

The ventilated discs grow to 340mm units up front (from 312mm on the regular GTI) and to 310mm ventilated at the rear (up from 300mm solid discs). They also have red callipers with GTI logos at the front.

For your extra $4000 investment, the GTI Performance also brings Alcantara bolsters, side panels and head-rests to the familiar tartan-cloth seats (full leather costs an additional $3150) and unique 19-inch ‘Santiago’alloy wheels on 225/35 R19 tyres.

The look is completed by Bi-xenon headlights with daytime running lights that follow corners either from stationary or on the move, dark-tinted LED rear tail-lights and an LED registration plate light.

Features from the regular GTI such as its electro-mechanical progressive steering (only 2.1 turns lock-to-lock thanks to ‘teeth’with increasingly acute angles), a driver-fatigue detection system that monitors steering inputs and profiles the driver, and a multi-collision brake that halts the car after a rear-end collision, all feature.

Suspension is unchanged. The front comprises independent MacPherson struts with lower A-arms, and anti-roll bar and adaptive dampers with various modes from comfort to sporting. At the rear is an independent, four-link with coils setup.

The $1300 Driver Assistance Package adds Park Assist 2 robotic parking, radar-guided cruise control and City Emergency Braking that stops the car at low speeds if the brakes are not applied in time. The third and final option is $500 metallic or pearl-effect paint.

Standard features include seven airbags (and a five-star NCAP rating), a pair of ISOFIX tethers, a space-saving spare wheel and a rear-view camera with front and rear sensors.

Other standard specification includes a 5.8-inch touchscreen with smartphone-style swiping, satellite-navigation in 2D or 3D, USB/Aux connections, Bluetooth phone and streaming, eight speakers, voice commands, LED cabin lights and a detailed trip computer.

Volkswagen Australia offers six-years or 90,000km (whichever comes first) on capped-price servicing on its cars, the GTI Performance being no exception.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI pricing*
GTI$41,990
GTI (a)$44,490
GTI Performance (a)$48,490
*Excludes on-road costs.

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