Volkswagen Golf GTI

Brilliantly Blended

When we speak of the stunning South of France, "Cote D'Azur" pops into your mind and definitely the extravagance of "Festival de Cannes". But when we speak about the all new Golf GTI, you remember the legendary Golf Mark I driven on that splendid coast of Nice.

Driving Impressions
To date, nearly 1.9 million Golf GTI cars have been produced at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg and sold worldwide. Back in 1976, when the GTI was invented, no one could have predicted such success. 5,000 units were planned, of a car that is the most successful of its type in the world: a phenomenon. The first Golf GTI, launched 37 years ago, defined a fundamental standard for dynamic performance that was more precise than any other compact car. The affordable Volkswagen also made automotive sportiness more attainable than ever for people. Everything was simply right about it - the safe and taut chassis, the agile and fuel-efficient injection engine and the car's styling that was as unmistakable as it was timeless. All of this combined with the insignias of a future icon - a red stripe around the radiator grille, a black border around the rear windscreen, a sport steering wheel like in the Scirocco Coupé, a golf ball as a gear shift grip, ergonomically perfect sport seats with a classic tartan design and a name that would never be forgotten.

I've tested both models on the road: the normal GTI and the spicy Performance Pack. Equally, both versions produce lots of torque to a point that you can shift from 3rd gear to the 4th without using the clutch. Nevertheless, the real bliss comes from allowing the engine rev, at which point the GTI is properly rapid. The standard car is gravely fast, and the Performance Pack model has just a twist of rage at higher revs.

Drivetrain
The engine of the first Golf GTI produced exactly 110 hp. Now, the seventh generation Golf GTI sends at least 220 hp to the front wheels - which is exactly double the power of the first Golf GTI. In addition, Volkswagen is offering a factory installed power enhanced engine that produces an additional 10 hp (230 hp) - it is on-board the Golf GTI Performance.

The 2.0 L TSI features variable valve timing with dual camshaft adjustment. Both GTI versions, equipped with a stop/start system and a 6-speed gearbox as standard, attain the same low NEDC fuel consumption value of 6.0 l/100 km (CO2: 139 g/km). The combined fuel consumption of the Golf GTI was reduced by 1.3 liters or 18 % compared to the previous model (210 hp).

A 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) that offers uninterrupted propulsive power is optional for both power levels; it matches the character of the sporty icon to perfection. In this case, the fuel consumption of the 220 hp version is 6.4 l/100 km (equivalent to 149 g/km CO2); in the 230 hp version it is 6.5 l/100 km (150 g/km CO2). In the DSG version, fuel consumption of the 220 hp GTI is 1.0 l/100 km (14 %) less than that of the previous 210 hp model.

The significantly improved fuel economy values of the new Golf GTI can be traced back to actions that fought for every tenth of a liter in savings. The sports car, like the base model, is based on the new modular transverse matrix (MQB). And, similar to the base model, the weight of the GTI was also reduced compared to the previous model - from 1,393 kg to 1,351 kg

Exterior
The new Golf GTI is distinguished from other cars in the model series by numerous additional features and classic GTI insignia. On the exterior, they include the red painted brake calipers, smoked LED rear lights in a custom design as well as chrome tailpipes on the left and right. The production colors Red ("Tornado Red") and "Black" as well as "Pure White" have been typical for the Golf GTI since its early days. Also standard on-board the most powerful, fastest and most fuel-efficient Golf GTI ever are the newly designed 17-inch "Brooklyn" alloy wheels with size 225/45 tires.

Interior
The typical GTI insignia are indispensible in the interior as well. Consider the seat covers: The first GTI had them already: seat covers in the legendary tartan pattern. The fabric known as "Jacky" in the previous model was redesigned and is now known as "Clark"; naturally, it was kept in the classic tartan pattern. New: the fabric design of the sport seats can now be obtained for the first time with side panels and head restraints in Alcantara. The GTI instrument cluster also makes a strong statement with a color display and unique instrument graphics.

Verdict
On a scale from 1 to 10, we give it 9/10. My little concerns were regarding a smaller steering wheel although on the manual gearbox it isn't an obligation, but for the Middle East most of the people will be using the paddles behind the wheel. The other concern is having the availability of a handbrake instead of the tech button. Now the seventh generation GTI has started to arrive at the dealers from May. Drop by your nearest showroom in the Middle-East to check it out.

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