This latest GTI, which doesn’t go on sale in the U.S. until the first half of 2014, is similarly unflappable. The seventh-generation GTI continues the recent tradition started with the Mk5 of a genuine driver’s car in the most practical package on the market. It has a huge rear seat, a genuinely big trunk, and an interior that looks and feels more expensive than most cars that cost twice as much. It also drives better than most cars that cost twice as much.
For the first time ever we see via the VW press clippings that the seventh-generation Golf GTI for the first time in history will come with two power levels. On the standard car you will be treaded to 220hp and the GTI Performance model will see and extra 10 hp topping out at 230 hp. In the GTI Performance model you also get; slightly bigger front brake discs, ventilated rear discs, and best of all, VW’s exceedingly trick new E-diff at the front.
All of the power is generated by The 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct injection four-banger is from the third generation of the EA888 engine series and has a completely newly developed cylinder head. It also features variable valve timing with dual camshaft adjustment and develops more torque and is now able to rotate the tires with 258 lb-ft), up from 205 lb-ft in the Gen 6 car.
The new variable-ratio steering rack is crisp and ultra-incisive but also natural and full of feel. The handling is similarly sweet, the front end feeling as if it has been physically nailed to whichever apex you aim it towards. Even the ride quality has taken a monumental step up in overall quality, which is probably the biggest surprise of all, given what VW has served up in the past: a series of GTIs that have been composed but firm in the extreme, and not exactly bubbling with feel, either.
Part of the GTI’s stability comes from its slightly wider front track and a wheelbase 2.1 inches longer than the previous GTI’s, but it’s also simply the product of a company that values dynamic fidelity more than frivolity. Volkswagen has aimed to reduce the body roll, which has always been a part of the GTI’s character. And the company has done a tremendous job of making the GTI feel more planted and agile without sacrificing ride quality.
VW hasn’t announced pricing on three- and five-door GTIs yet, but we expect there won’t be much of a price increase over the current car, which starts just under $25,000. Which would be absolutely amazing because this car looks to be the best GTI ever in terms of driving dynamics, fuel eco, and interior bang for the buck? VW says it’s the fastest, most powerful, and most efficient ever.