But the Mark VII generation is no longer available locally as a three-door, the now five-door-only range starting at $41,490 for the six-speed manual or $43,990 with the six-speed dual-clutch ‘DSG’ automatic, meaning the effective price rise is $1000 over the previous five-door.
For that buyers score 70Nm extra torque and 7kW extra power from the overhauled, 7.8kg-lighter 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which now makes 162kW and 350Nm.
It propels the circa-45kg lighter, 1313-1324kg hot-hatch from standstill to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds with either transmission, while consumption drops to 6.2L/100km for the manual (down 1L) and 6.6L/100km for the auto (falling 1.5L).
In addition the Golf GTI receives more standard equipment, including satellite navigation, adaptive dampers – with Comfort, Auto and Sport modes – reversing camera, premium trip computer with lap timer, and 18-inch ‘Austin’ alloy wheels (up from the previous 17s).
Mechanically, the Golf GTI also gets variable-ratio steering with 2.1 turns lock-to-lock, and an ESP Sport function for the first time.
Buyers will have to wait until the second quarter of 2014 for the Golf GTI Performance Pack however, which further adds an electronically controlled limited slip differential, larger brakes, Alcantara seats, xenon headlights with LED daytime lights, cornering lights and LED tail-lights, and an extra 7kW of power.
The Performance Pack will be available singularly with the DSG auto for $47,990, and will arrive in the same quarter as the Golf Variant and the Golf R, although Volkswagen hasn’t yet revealed pricing for either its wagon-backed or all-wheel-drive halo models.
Volkswagen said an aim for the Mk7 Golf GTI was to increase the simplicity of the range by paring back the previous four models (three- and five-door, manual or auto) to just two, while reducing options complexity from 12 to just five.
Options include a ($1300) driver asisstance package incorporating adaptive cruise control, proactive-safety prevention including seatbelt-tightening before impact, City Safety auto braking, and auto park assist; a ($1850) panoramic sunroof; ($3150) leather trim with heated front seats; and ($2150) bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.
It was initially reported that the Volkswagen Golf GTI would garner an even larger price rise following a leaked internal pricing document that suggested a driveaway price from $47,900. Confirmed on-the-road pricing will be about $46,300 for the manual, or $48,900 for the DSG.