Look at these pictures of the new 2013 Volkswagen Golf GTI and you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s the same as the old model. Just like the Mk7 Golf on which it is based, the new GTI features subtle nips and tucks that make it look a bit fresher but also very familiar.
There are a few changes that make this seventh-generation Golf GTI stand out. The read beading on the front grille now carries on into the headlights, an unusual feature but one I like. The fog lights now have new slats in front of them, but don’t go thinking they’re aerodynamic add-ons, and the 18-inch telephone dial alloys used on the Mk5 and Mk6 have gone, replaced by an all-new design. The interior keeps the same tartan cloth and red ambient lighting but benefits from the new Golf’s driver-focussed centre console, as well as the new multimedia touch-screen systems.
Even the hardware is barely changed from the outgoing model. Volkswagen have again resisted the temptation to turn the GTI into a direct rival for the Megane Renaultsport or Astra VXR and have kept added just 10PS, for a total of 220PS (217bhp) from the revised EA888 series 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. If 220PS isn’t enough you can specify the ‘performance pack’, which boosts power by another 10PS but more importantly adds larger front brake discs and a differential lock for the front axle to combat power-related understeer.
Torque output on the standard GTI is up to 350 Nm, an increase of 70Nm, which equals that of the outgoing Golf R. The 0-62mph time of the 220PS GTI is 6.6 seconds and the 230PS performance pack lowers that to 6.5 seconds, while the top speeds are 153mph and 155mph respectively.
In a surprise move for a performance model the new GTI is equipped as standard with a Stop/Start system. This helps it both to meet the strict Euro6 emissions regulations that come into effect in 2014 and also to return an impressive 47.1mpg on the official cycle. That’s a saving of 18% on the Mk6 GTI, with a drop in CO2 emissions to just 140g/km.
Volkswagen are calling this GTI a concept. Don’t believe it for a minute, the production ready Golf will look exactly like this when it arrives in the UK in the summer of 2013.