Right from the first 1.6-litre version, a new GTI has been big news. And while this sixth iteration doesn’t represent much of a radical departure, it’s still a big event in the hot hatch arena. As expected, it’s slightly faster and more powerful, but it’s also cleaner and more fuel efficient too – no surprises there. As for the visuals, the production GTI is faithful to the concept shown at the back end of 2008. So you get an aggressive front bumper incorporating a deep honeycomb airdam framed by vertical foglights. The overall result is a ‘wide’ and substantial look, first seen on the Golf W12-650 concept a few years back. Red brake callipers, separated twin-tailpipes, subtle rear wing and smoked rear lenses complete the picture.
At the heart of the GTI is a reworked version of the familiar 2.0-litre T FSI engine from the Golf V, now dubbed TSI. New pistons and rings, an improved oil pump, new induction system and a high-pressure fuel pump account for an 8kW increase in output to 155kW, delivered between 5,300 and 6,200 rpm. Maximum torque is unchanged at 280Nm, available from 1700rpm to 5200rpm – figures that give a handy boost to the new Golf’s sprinting ability. Claimed 0-100kph time inches down to 6.9 seconds while the combined cycle fuel consumption also drops to 7.3 litres per 100kms. As before, the new car will be available in six-speed manual and six-speed DSG dual clutch transmissions. New GTI comes standard with an updated ESP package that electronically mimics a traditional limited slip differential, by applying brake pressure to the inside wheel when required.
Suspension changes include unique springs and dampers, tuned for a 22mm lower ride height at the front and 15 mm at the rear, new anti-roll bars and the option of VW’s Dynamic Chassis Control system (DCC). DCC allows normal, comfort or sport modes with respective changes to the suspension, steering and throttle response.
With plain Jane versions of Golf 6 due to go on sale in SA by late April, the spicier GTI won’t be too far behind.
Click HERE for a video of the new GTI cruising around St. Tropez
Click HERE for more images including a very interesting technical comparison between the Mk1 GTI and the Mk6, courtesy of VW’s promo material
Read the first comprehensive drive story of the new GTI in the May 2009 issue of Topcar.