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It’s the new Volkswagen Golf GTI!
And it is brand new. Unlike the new VW Golf R Cabrio we tested last week (which actually sat on the old Mk VI platform), this new GTI sits on the spangly new Mk VII platform; a platform that consists of many Lego-spec parts that can be rearranged to make up to 10 million VW Group models in the coming years.
To this Mk VII chassis - or Modularer Querbaukasten (MQB) - Volkswagen has bolted on a 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine that is such a teacher’s pet, it already conforms to the EU-6 emission standards that come into place next year. Apple polisher.
But you don’t care about emissions as much as you care about poweeerrr. To this end, the ‘standard’ new VW Golf GTI produces 217bhp and 258lb ft of torque, which is sufficient to propel the GTI’s 1,351kg heft from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds (a tenth quicker than before) and on to a top speed of 152mph.
Why ‘standard’? Because for the first time ever, you can spec an optional ‘Performance Pack’ for your shiny new GTI that boosts power to 227bhp (torque remains the same), adds a proper mechanical limited slip differential and bigger brakes, drops the 0-62mph time down to 6.4 seconds, and raises the top speed to 155mph.
Naturally, it’s front-wheel-drive, and along with a six-speed manual, you also get the option of a six-speed DSG gearbox. Spec the former, and VW reckons you’ll be able to achieve some 47mpg and emit just 139g/km of CO2 (around 44mpg for the DSG ‘box on both 217bhp and 227bhp models).
There’s also sports suspension, twin exhaust pipes, red brake calipers, 18in alloy wheels, special side sills, a rear diffuser and smoked LED lights to finish the transformation. Looks clean, doesn’t it? Inside, there’s the traditional nod to where this lineage all began way back when, with tartan cloth upholstery, red ambience lighting, a new steering wheel/gear lever/instrument cluster, and stainless steel pedals.
Prices are expected to start at just under £26k - a couple of hundred more than the outgoing Mk VI Golf GTI - and you’ll be able to march down to your local VW dealer on 26 March to place your order. But consider this: around £1k prevents you from the nauseating feeling that you need to go home and rethink your life, because the GTI you are searching for - the 227bhp Performance Pack model - is an estimated £980 extra.
Now, on paper the Vauxhall Astra VXR and Renault Megane RS smoke it on 0-62mph times (by four tenths of a second) and power, so the Focus ST is a more natural sparring partner. But these things naturally dissolve into the driving experience, and the ordinary new Golf is very good. Which means this new GTI promises much…