Golf VI Downsizing, What About The GTI?

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk5The much-anticipated release of the Volkswagen Golf MkVI is nearly upon us, with the new car due to be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in September.

As details have emerged over the last few months, one of the more interesting announcements was made recently by VW’s manager for powertrain research, Wolfgang Steiger.

In an interview with Automobilwoche he mentioned that the new Golf will be offered with a smaller capacity base-level engine based on the 1.4-litre TSI. There are currently two options on the table, one being a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder and the other a 1.2-litre 4-cylinder, but both will have a power output of around 75bhp thanks to the combined assistance of the supercharger and turbocharger.

While this doesn’t seem interesting from a performance perspective, it does lead to speculation about the future of the GTI. I don’t doubt for a minute that the ever-popular GTI badge will continue, but it’s hard to see the next model using the current 2-litre turbo. We’ve got talk of emissions restrictions for manufacturers, as well as cost-conscious buyers moving to more economical cars, so I’d expect VW will be keen to make the GTI competitive in this new market.

Following Vauxhall’s move to a smaller-engined Astra VXR it would make sense for the GTI to adopt a similar approach. If VW took the existing 1.4-litre TSI and scaled it up to a 1.6-litre unit I’m sure the engineering boffins would be capable of at least matching the current GTI’s output of 197bhp.

Whether this would be attractive to image-conscious Volkswagen buyers is difficult to say, but personally I’d be happy with that. If I could have a Golf GTI that combines the handling finesse and power of the current model with a less thirsty engine that won’t allow the government and green lobby to beat me senselsess with taxes, then I’ll have one.


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Author: Chris Auty

Voted the Breakthrough Blogger of 2013 by SEAT and the Guild of Motoring Writers , Chris has lived and breathed cars since he was old enough to say 'faster'. With a penchant for hot hatches and an allergy to public transport, he would much prefer to drive a bad car than never drive at all. Fortunately his family has learned to put up with this obsession and the internet has provided a channel for his ramblings.

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