Golf GTi - Europe launch
dates : 9th January 2005
13th January 2005
The nose knows, as any good wine
lover will tell you. And like fine wines, Volkswagen’s Golf
GTi has stood the test of time.
The Golf GTi was the original pocket rocket, creating a whole
new category of performance cars back in the late 1970s.
The old GTI, like this German version circa 1976, looks
remarkably ordinary by today’s standards. But Volkswagen
fans in this country know that the original GTi lives on in
what is now known as the Citi Golf CTi in South Africa
There have been many pretenders to the GTi throne but
Volkswagen is still the yardstick and the new fifth-generation
GTi is said to be a worthy successor to the GTis that have
built up the legend.
The latest GTi was seen at the Auto Africa show in South
Africa late last year. However it is scheduled for its South
African launch in April.
And already in Europe it has had motoring scribes reporting
that The King is Back.
The deep front airdam, sideskirts and roof spoiler provide the
visual clues to GTI status, as well as those, enlarged,
mesh-covered air intakes in the nose.
All the usual go-faster bits are there, including shorter and
stiffer springs, that reduce ride height by 30 millimetres.
The wheels are mouth-watering 18-inch allows, fitted with
225-40 series tyres for very crisp response.
The brakes are bigger, and body roll has been further reduced
by the fitment of stiffer anti-roll bars to the suspension.
Of course the heart of any GTi is its engine and here
Vo0lkswagen fans won’t be disappointed.
Beneath that sloping bonnet is a new FSI, or direct-injection
engine, in turbocharged form.
The official factory figures for this engine are 147 kiloWatts
and 280 Newton Metres between 1 800 and 5 000 revs.
That’s an impressive spread of torque and should make the
new GTi a very driveable car in all sorts of situations.
As far as outright acceleration is concerned, zero to 100 is
claimed at 7,2 seconds and top speed at 235 km/h.
Of course the interior has been zooted up to give the cat that
familiar GTI feeling. There are brushed metal highlights on a
chunky squared-off steering wheel, aluminium pedal clusters
and form-hugging seats with loads of lateral support.
The gearbox will be a six-speed close-ratio device and drive,
as usual, will be though the front wheels.
The steering will feature electro-mechanical power assistance,
but calibrated specially to provide lots of drive feel.
All in all the new GTi looks like a very solid performance
package. All we can say is roll on April.
Car Torque is