Just as the doors open on the 2012 Paris motor show, Volkswagen has pushed the newest version of its legendary Golf GTI into the world. Also public debuting the seventh-generation of the Golf at the event, the GTI has certainly made a splash, if the online coverage of the show at Porte de Versailles is representative of what the public thinks, too.
Officially a ‘concept’, Golf GTI VII looks ready to go, and although appearing not much changed from Golf GTI VI, a lot has been altered. Power is up for a start, with 217bhp (an increase of 10bhp) now developed from a new 2.0-litre, turbocharged direct-injection, and there’s still more to come. For the first time in the model’s long history, a ‘performance pack’ will be available, which, Volkswagen says, will boost power to 227bhp.
On the ‘standard’ car, maximum torque of 258lb ft is now the same as the current Golf R, helping the 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds. Top speed is now 153mph. The more powerful performance pack car boosts top speed by 2mph, and cuts 0.1seconds off the 0-62 benchmark. Opt for the speedier car, and Volkswagen will also throw in larger front brake discs, and a front axle differential to help counter nasty understeer.
Both cars get a variable ratio steering system to reduce steering input (worryingly, seemingly needed on a sports model) as well as red brake calipers, smoked LED rear lights, twin exhausts, tartan seats, flat-bottomed steering wheel and red ambient lighting. Nods to the past include a Golf GTI golf ball gear knob, while slashes of the future include a red trimmed grille, which sees the red trim extending into the headlights – a neat trick.
As is the current trend, the newest Golf GTI (and indeed the standard Golf VII hatchback) is lighter than its immediate predecessor, which benefits fuel economy and emissions. Stop/Start now makes an appearance on a GTI, and fitted with a six-speed a manual gearbox, Volkswagen quotes a 47.1mpg figure (an 18 per cent improvement over the outgoing model) and a CO2 reading of 140g/km. A six-speed DSG ‘box is also available.
More details about the latest in the line of sports-orientated and driver-focused Golfs will be revealed nearer the UK launch date. Due to hit mainland Europe’s roads in early 2013 (most probably after a worldwide public reveal at the Geneva motor show in March), but if you can’t wait until then, visit Mondial de L’Automobile, Paris Expo – Porte de Versailles, Place de la Porte de Versailles, 75015 Paris before 14 October and see it for real.