Building upon the dynamics and driver involvement which defined the spirit of its predecessors, the new model is faster, sharper and more powerful than any standard GTI before it.
At its core is an advanced new 2.0-litre TSI engine producing 154kW and peak torque of 279Nm from just 1700rpm, linked to either a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox.
This allows the new Golf GTI to sprint from zero to 100km/h in just 6.9 seconds while returning impressive fuel economy of 6.1 litres per 100km and emissions of only 170 g/km of CO2.
Despite its slightly higher output compared to its predecessor, the new GTI is assured maximum traction with the addition of a new XDS electronically controlled differential as standard.
This is coupled with new springs and dampers unique to the GTI that also lowers the ride height by 22mm at the front and 15mm at the rear, as well as strut-type front and multi-link rear suspension joined by new anti-roll bars to provide sharper responses.
Volkswagen's Adaptive Chassis Control system (ACC) is also offered for the first time on the GTI, incorporating pneumatically controlled damper units which allow the driver to choose from normal, comfort or sport modes.
As with previous generations, the flagship GTI variant boasts an aggressive new look, with a new front bumper that integrates a deep honeycomb air inlet flanked by vertical foglights, a rear diffuser and an all-new exhaust system with dual outlets.
A subtle rear wing, smoked rear lenses and red brake callipers surrounded by 17-inch ‘Monza’ alloy wheels tie the look of the exterior together.
Inside the red and black tartan sports seats with red stitching make a return, along with a flat-bottomed GTI multifunction steering wheel and dual-zone electronic climate control.
Its inherited Golf DNA also means the new GTI boasts class-leading levels of safety with ABS, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and seven airbags, including for the first time a knee airbag, all as standard.
Despite the R32 no longer forming part of the new generation Golf line-up, the new GTI may not be able to claim the flagship title for much longer with an even more potent GTI-R model rumoured to be in development.
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