Volkswagen GTI

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.

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Volkswagen 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.

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Volkswagen GTI

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.

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Volkswagen GTI

Beyond badging, one way to identify the new GTI is from the dual rear exhaust pipes, one on either side of the car.

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Volkswagen GTD

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.

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Volkswagen GTD

The grille and headlight arrangement on the GTI and GTD is the same as that of the Golf, and follows the style set by the recent Jetta update.

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Volkswagen GTD

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.

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Volkswagen GTD

Both the GTD and GTI come standard with 18-inch wheels and 16-inch brakes; 19-inch wheels are optional, and the Performance trim of the GTI increases brake rotors to 17 inches.

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Volkswagen GTD

The GTD has dual rear exhausts, although Volkswagen puts them both on the left side, as opposed to the right and left side pipes on the GTI.

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Volkswagen GTD

The hatchback body style makes for convenient rear cargo storage.

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As in the current GTI, the seats are manually adjustable. Volkswagen changed the name of the cloth pattern for the seats from Jacky, in the previous generation GTI, to Clark in the new generation.

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The steering wheel in both GTI and GTD has a flat bottom, a nice little clue for the driver for when the wheels are straight.

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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.

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The models shown at Geneva have this new navigation head unit, using square menu icons.

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The head unit showed these satellite maps, similar to those seen in current Audi models. This type of navigation tends to be regional, so may not be available in the U.S. models.

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The stereo interface is very well done, showing track information and album art in a large format.

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