Seventh heaven for new Golf GTI ; VOLKSWAGEN INTRODUCES THREE NEW GOLF HOT SHOTS TO SPICE UP THE RANGE [Western Mail (Wales)]
(Western Mail (Wales) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE founder of the hot hatch club is making a return with Volkswagen releasing three performance versions of the latest Golf.
The iconic GTI is back with a choice of two potent turbo engines and is joined by an equally quick diesel pumping out more than 180bhp.
There is also some clever electronics being brought into play which give all three sublime handling.
Priced from Pounds 25,285 for the GTD, Pounds 25,845 for the GTI and Pounds 26,825 for the GTI fitted with a performance pack each has its own characteristics.
But the common thread is exhilarating driving and in the current hot hatch pack they are front row material.
From a technical perspective the GTI Performance is the most intriguing.
Not only is its two-litre engine uprated to 230bhp - 10 more than the regular GTI - it also features a different take on torque vectoring control to enhance grip when cornering.
Instead of braking any wheel that is slipping VW has come up with a system which powers the car through bends. The result is incredible and makes the Golf a driver's delight.
The steering is nicely weighted and the car feels absolutely balanced as it goes through its paces.
Top speed is 155mph, 0 to 60 comes up in 6.4 seconds and under acceleration there is a splendid growl from the twin exhausts.
We tried the five door version of the GTI Performance fitted with a semi-automatic six speed DSG gearbox which tipped the scales at Pounds 28,895.
The rapid fire gear changes get the best from the car yet despite the thrill a minute performance VW claims it will average 44.1mpg with emissions of 149g/km, although on our drive we achieved only 29.7mpg according to the trip computer.
Compared to the standard Golf the GTI has subtle styling changes to denote its sporty pedigree including a honeycomb grille and nameplates picked out in red.
The only clue to the extra clout on the Performance model is GTI lettering on the front brake callipers.
Without the advanced electronics the GTI exhibited a touch of torque steer if pushed hard and its cornering was not as neat.
Nevertheless it has plenty going for it and is only a fraction slower than the Performance version.
From an everyday point of view the GTI was also more economical - we achieved 33.6mpg on the same route we took in the Performance model - although VW says the economy is the same.
Like the original of the 1970s the latest GTI features Jacara cloth tartan-style upholstery but to bring it bang up to date the 2013 version includes the likes of a proximity control touchscreen and multi-mode drive control which in its sports setting has real bite.
There is also dual zone climate control, a digital radio, LED running lights and an armoury of anti-collision devices as well as a golf ball theme for the gearknob on manual models.
Nevertheless, sat-nav is an extra adding up to Pounds 1,725 to the price.
GTI enthusiasts will not be disappointed with the seventh generation of their icon but the real eye opener is the GTD which demonstrates just how far diesel technology has advanced.
Delivering just as much fun - perhaps even a little more thanks to the extra mid-range pull of the engine - it is good for 0 to 60 in 7.5 seconds and tops out at 143mph.
The engine is boosted to 184bhp and as two-litre diesels go it is a tour de force with a great blend of power and economy. Emissions are down to 109g/km and officially it is rated at 67.3mpg. On the same route that we used to try out the two GTI Golfs we achieved 42.9mpg and of the three it was the GTD that suited UK driving conditions the best.
When the first GTI arrived back in 1976 diesels were the preserve mainly of lorries and tractors but the GTD proves that in this day and age they can hold their own in the same league as their petrol counterparts.
Factor in the added fuel effi-ciency and keen starting price and the Golf GTD makes a whole lot of sense for the performance fan with an eye on their wallet.
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