Do you remember the original hot hatch that started it all? Yes, I’m talking about the mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTi. Back in the 1970s, it got considered an example of how to turn an ordinary hatch into something special. Fast-forward to 2015, and the iconic model is still in production. These days, the model is now in its 7th generation.
As you can appreciate, the styling and features of today’s Golf GTi is a world away from the original model. Today’s Golf GTi is bigger, safer, faster and packs more gadgets. It’s even available with VW’s semi-automatic DSG transmission!
But, has the Golf GTi lost its iconic hot hatch status? In some of the previous generations, that might have been the case. With today’s GTi, the car is still the leader of the pack! Here’s why:
The engine is a far cry from the mk1 1.8-litre unit
The 1.8-litre engine in the 1970s mk1 Golf GTi was brilliant at the time. It was one of the first fuel-injected units available in a hatchback. Nowadays, it would fail today’s strict emissions directives if introduced as a new unit.
In today’s mk7 GTi, the engine under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbocharged monster. It boasts 217 brake horsepower as standard; that’s 107 bhp more than the mk1’s 1.8! Of course, it’s not just the horsepower that VW offers in the latest Golf GTi.
Yes, it will get you to 60mph from a standing start in a mere 6.5 seconds. But, you should also consider the engine’s “green” qualities too! That’s because the TSI engine will do an impressive 47 mpg combined.
It also emits just 139g/km of carbon emissions. That means you’ll pay less for your road tax. In the UK, for example, that’s just £130 ($200) a year.
You can buy an optional “performance pack”
Does the standard Golf GTi seem too slow for you? Not to worry, because you buy the performance pack that increases it an extra 10 bhp! The result is the car is a little quicker to 60mph from zero. You can also enjoy bigger brakes and an electronic differential.
When you buy a new Volkswagen Golf, you don’t expect to have the option to buy performance packs. But, on the GTi, your inner speed demon will lust after it!
It’s lost some weight
From the mk4 upwards, the Golf just seemed to get fatter! The good news is that the latest generation models have gone on a diet. You will find that the current GTi is lighter than its predecessors.
But, that doesn’t mean Volkswagen have removed any features that make this model so brilliant!
It has a remarkable steering system
The latest VW Golf GTi comes with a “progressive” steering system. In a nutshell, that means it reduces the amount of turns needed to go from lock to lock.
As you can imagine, that’s a good idea if you’re taking your GTi on the track. And it’s useful for parking purposes too! I recommend taking the latest Golf GTi out for a test drive if you haven’t done so already.