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VW Golf GTi - Europe launch

Broadcast 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.

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