Today is the day local GTI and hot-hatch fans have been waiting for. . . the launch of the new Golf 6 GTI in South Africa.
More than 30 years have passed since the original 81 kW Golf GTI went on sale. In 1976 the GTI was hailed as budget sports car for the masses with its purist driving experience.Over the years the Golf has grown up and in the Mk3 and Mk4 versions, arguably lost touch with the spirit of its ancestors.
However, Volkswagen re-ignited the flame of the original GTI back in 2005 with the fifth generation. The power, chassis and fun were officially back. 12 000 units sold since 2005 mean the Golf 5 GTI accounts for over 40% of the total number of Golf 5′s on SA roads and makes it the best selling generation GTI in SA to date.
But 6 follows 5 and all eyes are now on the new Golf 6 GTI. If you’re not up to speed on the new GTI, here are a few quick facts to get your pulse racing:
- 155 kw @ 5 100 rpm
- 280 N.m @ 1 800 rpm
- 0 – 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds
- 240 km/h top speed
On paper, and in the flesh too, the new GTI may not look that different to the generation it replaces. However, we’ve recently tested the Golf 6 1.4 TSI Comfortline and found that behind the subtle styling changes, “VW have managed to take the Golf from good, to great”. It’s under the skin where the big changes have taken place with the new GTI. The front suspension has been lowered by 22 millimetres, the rear by 15 millimetres. The entire architecture of springs, dampers and rear stabilisers has been completely re-tuned.For the first time in the Golf GTI, the XDS electronic limited-slip differential is being used, which improves traction and helps to eliminate understeer.
Woven into the new GTI’s DNA is the racing experience of German Touring Car Champion, Hans-Joachim Stuck. Stuck is an expert in chassis and powertrain tuning when it comes to vehicle development and worked closely with Volkswagen AG to put the final touches on the new Golf GTI.
What happens when the 2009 World Car of The Year receives the GTI treatment? We’ll answer that question with a road test later next month – watch this space.