GENEVA--Last year at the Paris Motor Show, Volkswagen unveiled its newest Golf model, the seventh generation of the compact hatchback. As we would expect, a GTI version was soon to follow. Here at the Geneva show, Volkswagen unveiled the all-new GTI.
Although it still uses a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels, Volkswagen increased the output to 217 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. And for this new version, Volkswagen will offer a Performance trim, adding 10 more horsepower, although the torque number remains the same.
There are other significant changes for the new GTI, such as an electronic differential lock, which increases power to the outside wheel in a turn, improving handling. The electric-power-steering system comes fitted with a new progressive ratio technology, which changes the steering ratio depending on speed.
Along with the gasoline-powered GTI, Volkswagen also unveiled the new GTD, the performance version of the Golf with a diesel engine. Volkswagen has previously made a GTD version available in Europe, but not in the U.S. Test drives given to American automotive journalists suggest that Volkswagen is considering offering the GTD in the U.S.
The GTD comes with similar chassis and steering gear as the GTI, including the progressive ratio electronic power steering. The GTD's engine is a 2-liter turbo-diesel making 182 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Its acceleration to 60 mph comes in about a second slower than the GTI, but it also gets 56 mpg in European test cycles.
Both models can be had with either this six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed dual clutch automated manual, Volkswagen's DSG. As in the previous version, traction control can still be turned off at the push of a button. Volkswagen has not revealed whether launch control will still be available.