From the start, Volkswagen brass knew they were onto something. In an era when fuel prices necessitated fuel efficient automobiles but people weren’t yet weaned off of hi-po muscle cars, Volkswagen merged two things: efficiency and fun. The first GTI is legendary; not just for being a trend-starter, but for being a good car.
The third generation Golf-based GTI was a bit of a letdown. Weight increases led to a need for more power. But the V6 in the front of a small car did it no favours. Late last decade, the GTI MK IV improved in so many ways, but compared with some of its more nimble competitors, that GTI was a sluggard.
Presently we have the fifth-generation GTI, a car that takes a refined and technologically advanced engine and pairs it with a willing chassis. Yes, it is a big car and yes; it is a heavy car. But now it’s hidden. The GTI is fun to drive, and its iconic and memorable characteristics have landed it on GoodCarBadCar.net’s The Good 12.
For the sixth-generation GTI, a hatchback completely based on the Golf (Rabbit in North America), VW won’t mess with a successful formula. A humble hatchback package is enhanced with stunning wheels (the current telephone dial wheels are ranked #2 in autodom), tartan seats, and bits of red trim splashed throughout the exterior and interior. The 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder will be bumped upwards by 10 horsepower. The real engine advancements come in terms of efficiency and cleanliness.
Volkswagen has found a way to drop the GTI’s CO2 rating by 11g/km. Its fuel economy rating on the EU cycle should go up by 2.3mpg. The gallery for the new GTI – officially still in concept form – is below.