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New GTI most potent yet

2009-03-23 18:43
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Model Golf GTI VI
Engine 2 TSI
Power 155kW @ 5 300-6 200r/min
Torque 280Nm @ 1 700-5 200r/min
Transmission Six-speed (manual/DSG)
Zero To Hundred 6.9 seconds
Top Speed 240km/h
Fuel Consumption 7.3l/100km
The sixth incarnation of the world’s seminal hot hatch has officially been launched in Europe, nearly 34 years after the original Golf GTI defined the hot hatch segment. We have details and comprehensive images of the latest chapter in GTI's heritage.

Though it only features subtle styling embellishments - in keeping with the Golf VI's evolutionary styling – the latest GTI sports significant dynamic design refinements, including adjustable dampers and electronic front differential trickery.

Looks mellow, goes a bit

VW fans expecting boy racer styling will be disappointed to notice only a new front bumper, embellished with a deep honeycomb airdam, as one of the slightly distinguishing styling characteristics.

Viewed from the side, the five-spoke Monza alloy wheels (hiding red-brake callipers) of the Golf V GTI have been retained, whilst around the rear a subtle spoiler is visually underscored by a set of smoked rear light clusters. The rear bumper, accommodating dual exhausts, features an integrated diffuser.

As expected, the new GTI is the most powerful and fastest standard spec car to carry the legendary badge yet, thanks to a tweaked 2.0 TSI turbo engine.

Redesigned pistons, a more efficient oil pump - and induction system - fed by a high-pressure fuel pump, bump power to 155kW. Torque output remains unchanged from the Golf V, yet the 280Nm peak is delivered over a broader engine speed range, from 1 700-5 200r/min.

Efficiencies have improved performance with the 0-100km/h sprint timed at 6.9 seconds (top speed 240km/h), while fuel consumption averages out at 7.3l/100km – besting the Golf V by 0.7l/100km. The true performance benchmark (0-1 000m) is now dispatched in 27.3 seconds.

Of little consequence to emissions untaxed South Africans - for now - the new GTI emits only 170g/km of CO2, 19g/km less than the Golf V GTI.

Electronic diff, no LSD?

Dynamically, the Golf VI GTI benefits from Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) which pneumatically controls the damper units, enabling normal, comfort or sport modes which adjust steering feel and throttle response accordingly. If you are an A4 owner you might notice the uncanny similarity between DCC and Audi's drive select…

Beyond the adaptive dampening, Golf VI GTI benefits from some front axle differential wizardry too, not in the form of a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential (LSD) though.

Instead it features the XDS system on the front axle. coupled with electronically actuated differential control. This essentially mimics some LSD characteristics by applying ABS braking force on the front wheel with less load (usually the inside wheel when cornering) to insure optimal traction.

With the XDS electronically locking transverse differential, and considering the 280Nm torque output, does the new GTI really need a helical LSD?

As good as this system might be at quelling wheelspin and rendering steering feedback as linear as possible under acceleration out of tight radius corners, it does not have the torque biasing ability of a traditional high performance helical limited-slip differential.

Dynamically it appears more driver safety centric, instead of allowing some slip and apportioning optimal torque to the outside cornering wheel, thereby ensuring slingshot acceleration out of corners. Real world testing will reveal the true dynamic parameters though.

Riding 22mm lower on the rear axle and 15mm lower in the front, chassis responsiveness should be incrementally better than the current Golf V GTI.

Interior design is traditional, sombre, GTI fare, with a new flat-bottomed GTI multifunction steering wheel, sports seats and dual zone electronic climate control standard, as do seven airbags, including front knee protective airbags.

Options for the Golf VI GTI include adaptive cruise control, second generation park assist (it will parallel park for you) and bi-xenon headlights.

  • The Golf VI is due to be launched locally towards the end of April, with the GTI following on later in the year.


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