Golf Mk VI GTI and GTD

Thirty-six years after a small band of engineers started work on the first prototype Golf GTI, the very latest evolution and sixth generation of the original hot hatch has arrived.

The original Golf GTI was planned as a limited series of 5,000 cars.  Since then – and five generations of GTI later – more than 1.7 million have been sold worldwide. 

The elements identified by the engineers back in March 1973 that defined the original GTI remain; sharp dynamics, a responsive four-cylinder engine and driver involvement are at the core of the new GTI.  Yet it has evolved – the Mk VI is faster and more powerful than any standard GTI before it.  However, the day-to-day usability of the GTI has not been forgotten and it is cleaner, safer and more efficient than ever before.

An advanced new 2.0-litre TSI engine producing 210 PS, available linked to either a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox, is at the heart of the new GTI.  Despite the rise in power output, the new GTI is assured of greater grip in all conditions thanks to standard new XDS electronic control of front wheel traction.  Unique springs and dampers combine with lowered suspension to give GTI drivers the on-road experience they expect of the brand.  In addition, Volkswagen’s innovative Adaptive Chassis Control system (ACC), featuring pneumatically controlled damper units, is offered for the first time on the GTI.  This allows the driver to select from normal, comfort or sport modes to define the desired suspension, steering and accelerator response settings for any particular journey.

The mechanical changes are joined by subtle cosmetic additions.  The basis of the GTI is the chassis structure of the new Mk VI Golf, onto which is added an aggressive new front bumper.  This features a deep honeycomb airdam framed by vertical foglights which sit below a new grille element adorned by a GTI badge.  As with the Mk VI Golf, the GTI uses horizontal lines to make the new car appear lower and wider than it really is.  In reality, the new GTI is 27 mm wider than the car it replaces.  At the rear, a diffuser is located between an all-new exhaust system with separated tailpipes to lower further the stance of the car.  A subtle rear wing sits above a pair of smoked rear light lenses and a single ‘GTI’ badge.

The GTI Edition 35 model features more power – 235 PS – and even more visual drama, from its bespoke bodykit, side skirts and unique alloy wheels.

Also joining the performance Golf line-up is a GTD, featuring a 2.0-litre common rail TDI engine with 170 PS.  Similar, though not identical, dynamic, cosmetic and interior changes have been made to this Golf, offering customers a performance car which returns an average fuel consumption of over 55 mpg, produces just 134 g/km of carbon dioxide and has a range in excess of 670 miles.

As with the entire Golf range, the new GTI and GTD feature class-leading levels of safety with ABS, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) and seven airbags, including for the first time a knee airbag, all standard.  The standard Golf was awarded a maximum five-star rating by the Euro NCAP crash testing agency.

SUMMARY

  • Sixth generation Golf GTI was first unveiled in concept form at the Paris Motor Show in September 2008; ordering opened at Volkswagen Retailers in the UK in March 2009 with cars arriving on 22 May
  • New performance diesel GTD model joined the range on 22 June 2009
  • The sixth generation of the original hot hatch evolves the virtues of the Mk I GTI with greater power, performance and sharper responses than the car it replaces.  By contrast, it is also cleaner and more efficient 
  • Powering the GTI is an advanced new version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre TSI engine, available with either a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox.  Although sharing the same 1,984 cc displacement as the 2.0-litre T-FSI engine it replaces, the new TSI unit features substantial changes including modified pistons and piston rings, a revised oil pump, induction system and high-pressure fuel pump
  • The result is 210 PS delivered between 5,300 and 6,200 rpm (a 10 PS rise over the Mk V), which allows the vehicle to accelerate from standstill to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds
  • Emissions fall from 189 to 170 g/km (DSG: 173) and economy improves from a combined 35.3 to 38.7 mpg (DSG: 38.2).  Maximum torque – 206 lbs ft (280 Nm) between 1,700 and 5,200 rpm – is delivered over an even broader engine speed range allowing greater flexibility and response.  Maximum speed rises to 149 mph (DSG: 147)
  • The GTD uses a 2.0-litre (1,968 cc) common rail TDI engine, producing 170 PS and 258 lbs ft of torque channelled via a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox.  It has a 0 to 62 mph time of 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 138 mph.  Combined economy is 55.4 mpg (52.3 DSG), with CO2 emissions of just 134 g/km (142 DSG)
  • The GTI Edition 35 uses a 235 PS version of the EA113 engine as found in the Golf R (as opposed to the EA888 fitted to the ‘standard’ Golf GTI)
  • The GTI is equipped with unique springs and dampers with ride height lowered by 22 mm at the front (15 mm rear) compared to the standard Golf
  • Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) is available as an option on GTI and GTD.  This allows the driver to select from normal, comfort or sport modes to define the desired suspension, steering and accelerator response settings for the conditions
  • Exterior styling draws on the new design direction established by the Scirocco; simple, clean surfaces mix with sharp creases and large honeycomb grille elements.  The use of horizontal lines around the front of the vehicle makes the new GTI appear lower and wider than it really is
  • Standard equipment highlights on the new GTI include black leather sports seats with headrests featuring the ‘GTI’ logo, a flat-bottomed GTI multifunction steering wheel, red brake callipers, 17-inch ‘Monza’ alloy wheels, 2Zone electronic climate control and Bluetooth phone preparation
  • The GTD’s suspension is lowered by 15 mm compared to the standard Golf’s.  It also gains the GTI’s honeycomb grille, badge-style and front-end design, though with the addition of chrome rather than red highlights.  The GTD features 17-inch ‘Seattle Shadow’ alloys.  Inside, black leather sports seats are standard
  • As with the rest of the Golf range, the new GTI and GTD feature class-leading levels of safety with ABS, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) and seven airbags, including for the first time a knee airbag, all as standard
  • In the UK around half of all GTIs sold will be equipped with a DSG gearbox
  • The five-door model accounts for around 75 per cent of all sales
  • In 2010, Volkswagen UK sold 1,670 GTIs and 2,191 GTDs

Market information

The Golf GTI is one of the UK’s most popular hot hatches – little surprise when the Golf is one of Europe’s best-selling cars, and the best-selling Volkswagen in the UK.  The addition of the GTD diesel model adds extra appeal to the hot hatch range.

Volkswagen UK sold 1,670 GTIs in 2010.  Around 75 per cent of GTI models will have five doors and there will be a 50:50 split between cars sold with a manual and DSG gearbox.  Retail buyers will be responsible for around three-quarters of GTI sales.

GTD sales in the UK in 2010 totalled 2,191 units.  As with GTI, around three-quarters are sold with five doors.  Differing from GTI, the diesel model has more appeal to fleets, with only 25 per cent of buyers coming from the retail sector.  Manual models also have a greater prevalence here, with around 70 per cent of GTDs sold with a manual gearbox.

Total Golf sales for 2010 were 53,638 (hatch only).

Production  

The Golf GTI and GTD are produced at Volkswagen’s plant in Wolfsburg.  State of the art production systems and assembly technologies are employed to ensure the Golf maintains the highest quality levels.

Wolfsburg

Volkswagen’s factory grounds in Wolfsburg occupy an area of more than six square kilometres.  The 1.6 sq km taken up by factory buildings could comfortably contain the Principality of Monaco.  The network of roads linking the individual production facilities, storage halls, administration buildings and external facilities, is 75 km long, while the plant’s rail network totals 70 km, on which seven locomotives and two shunting robots operate.

The Wolfsburg factory has a production capacity of about 4,000 vehicles per day; these include the Golf, Golf Plus and within the Auto 5000 GmbH subsidiary, the Touran and Tiguan models are built.  In addition to passenger car production, the manufacture of components is a further important activity.  Of all the components produced here, which include drive shafts and injection mouldings, some are installed on site while others are transported to other Volkswagen Group plants around the world.  The Wolfsburg plant (excluding Auto 5000) employs around 43,500 people.

Every day around 120 double-decked railcars together with 160 car transporters leave the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg carrying 2,500 vehicles.  At the same time some 1,900 companies daily deliver their products – raw materials, parts or system groups – to the factory in approximately 150 railcars and 600 trucks.  The two on-site power stations in Wolfsburg provide not only energy for the factory, but also supply power and heat to the town of Wolfsburg.  Both power stations have an installed electrical power output of 442 megawatts.

DESIGN

The Mk VI Golf GTI is slightly longer and lower than its standard Golf counterpart, giving it a more dynamic stance – akin to that of the Scirocco coupé.  Yet it shares many of the standard Golf’s evolutionary styling cues.  Compared to the previous generation GTI the new dimensions mean there is more room for five adults inside, thanks to the additional width.  The Golf GTI and GTD are available in three- and five-door hatchback bodystyles.

Exterior

The sixth generation of standard Golf established an elegant new design direction in the evolution of the iconic model.  Led by the three-strong team of Walter de Silva (Head of Design, Volkswagen Group), Klaus Bischoff (Head of Design for the Volkswagen brand) and Marc Lichte (Head of Exterior Design) the styling of the Golf draws on the design language – and new Volkswagen family look – first established by the Scirocco.

On unveiling the Golf, Walter de Silva commented: ‘The Golf is the global icon of carmaking so the architecture and styling of the new model are also absolutely clear and unique.’  Clean, minimalist lines mix with sharp, intricate detailing to create a look inspired by all five previous generations of Golf yet which remains fresh and contemporary. 

The nose of the Mk VI Golf marks a departure from the vertical lines of the Mk V, replacing them with horizontal elements – most apparent in the grille between the headlights and the air dam mounted in the front bumper.  This use of horizontal lines lends the new Golf a stance that appears lower and wider than it actually is.

In penning the new GTI and GTD, the established team took the Golf’s design even further.  They wanted to combine the new elements of the latest generation Golf with the design cues of the Mk V GTI, while at the same time evoking the spirit of the first generation GTI.  De Silva explains: ‘We wanted a consistently clear GTI design, a car that has power, but style as well.’  Bischoff adds: ‘Also cast in stone was the goal of evoking the character of the first GTI a bit more.’  Lichte concludes: ‘And that is why it was decided that – with the exception of the aerodynamically important rear spoiler – the new GTI would not have a single exterior add-on, unlike the usual practice in this segment.’

At the front, the GTI and GTD sport an aggressive new front bumper, featuring a deep honeycomb airdam framed by vertical foglights which sit below a new grille element with red highlights (chrome on GTD).  A simple GTI or GTD badge reinforces the model’s identity.  Along with the horizontal grille fins, elegant yet purposeful new headlights featuring individual lamp pods behind a translucent cover denote this new generation of Golf. 

Extending back, the Golf’s wing mirrors feature integrated, high level indicators.  The wing mirror casings have a small groove running their length to channel rain water and ensure that the mirror remains clean regardless of conditions.

In profile the side skirts of the Mk V Golf that extended the length of the sill are replaced by subtle wraparound versions that extend only partially along the lower edge of the vehicle.  At the rear a set of smoked rear light lenses cover LED tail lights. Underneath is a rear diffuser channelling air from beneath the vehicle, framed by a pair of chrome tailpipes (GTD has twin ’pipes which sit side by side).  A subtle rear wing sits above the rear light lenses along with a single ‘GTI’ or ‘GTD’ badge.

Between the rear lights is the Volkswagen badge which swivels to act as a boot release and also, if specified, houses the rear-view camera.

The distinctive ‘telephone dial’ wheels from the Mk V GTI make a reappearance on the latest model.  The Edition 35 comes with 18-inch ‘Watkins Glen’ alloys. Meanwhile the GTD features 17-inch ‘Seattle Shadow’ alloys.

For the GTI Edition 35, bespoke exterior styling changes include a more sporty bodykit incorporating new side skirts and a revised front bumper which sits below bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.  Unique lightweight 18-inch ‘Watkins Glen’ alloy wheels, finished in ‘Dark Steel’ or – at no additional cost – silver, further distinguish this model from the standard GTI, along with an Edition 35 badge on the front wing, gloss black door mirror casings, rear windows with 90 per cent tinted glass and rear tinted LED lights. 

Interior

In conceiving the interior for the Mk VI Golf, Volkswagen’s designers unashamedly set themselves the target of defining new benchmarks in quality in this class.  This goal extends to all aspects, from ergonomics, through the feel and look of the materials used to the overall refinement within the cabin. 

After sitting for just a few moments in the Golf’s cabin, it becomes clear that all functional components are easy and instinctive to operate.  These include the controls for the air conditioning system, as well as the switches for the electric windows and wing mirrors which now sit further forward in the driver’s door panel, making them easier to reach.  To make further progress in the area of intuitive controls, designers use the RAMSIS 3D computer-human simulation model which enables checking of all possible person-constituent combinations. 

Also of note is the new adjustment handle for the steering wheel.  Rather than being in the centre, and effectively between the driver’s knees, the lever is now offset to the left hand side where it is easier to reach and use.

Further examples of attention to detail in the Golf’s cabin include a new type of leather which is standard on GTI and GTD.  Being more robust than the previous style it eliminates dye transfer, for example, from jeans to the leather and reduces wear and tear meaning the interior feels newer for longer.  In the boot, the Golf now has two hooks to enable shopping bags and other items to be safely stowed. 

The Golf’s instrument panel was completely redesigned for the sixth generation.  Clearly defined dials sit in recessed, individual cowls behind a three-spoke steering wheel with the option of controls for entertainment and communications functions.  High quality, soft touch plastics are integrated with tasteful aluminium and chrome highlights.  Volkswagen’s traditional blue back-lighting makes way for white backlit dials which are illuminated regardless of whether the car’s exterior lights are on. 

The programme engineers also completely redesigned the new Golf’s door trim panels to improve ergonomics and incorporate higher quality materials, once again giving the feeling that you are sitting in a car from a higher class. 

Inside the GTI/GTD, standard equipment highlights include full black Vienna leather upholstery with heated front seats (a specification enhancement from October 2011, replacing tartan ‘Jacara’ cloth), headrests featuring the ‘GTI’ or ‘GTD’ logo, a flat-bottomed GTI or GTD multifunction steering wheel as well as aluminium-look pedals and ‘Edge’ decorative inserts in the dash and door panels.

For the GTI Edition 35, subtle ‘35’ signatures are carried through to the interior, featuring on the head restraints of the heated Vienna leather front sports seats as well as the door sills and floor mats, along with a red stripe on the seatbelts and the now famous GTI ‘golf ball’ gearknob which is available on both manual and DSG transmissions.

Stowage space

There are plenty of useful stowage areas within the Golf’s cabin.  In addition to the lockable and cooled glovebox there is a driver’s side cubby which can accommodate a drinks can and generous door bins.  A new addition is the space in the driver’s door designed to house a high visibility vest which is compulsory in some countries.

In the GTI and GTD, there is a further large storage area between the front seats complete with two cup holders.  The overhead console, which houses the front interior lights and their controls, also has a sunglasses compartment.  In the rear seating useful storage pockets are located for smaller items.

Almost every cubby hole in the Golf has a purpose.  One example is the bottle opener, which fits into the gap between the cup holders, next to the handbrake lever. 

Climate control

The Golf GTI and GTD have fully automatic 2Zone electronic climate control (Climatronic) air conditioning.  This allows driver and front-seat passenger to adjust their own climates individually and independently.  Temperatures within the two zones are maintained to an accuracy of a degree, with no readjustment necessary whatever the outside conditions.  The Climatronic’s intelligent control system even takes into account the amount of sunlight penetration into the cabin, and makes separate calculations to compensate for it on both the driver and passenger sides. 

As an example of further attention to detail, the system switches automatically to recirculating-air mode when reversing or when the windscreen washer sprays are used; the fresh air supply is momentarily cut to prevent smells – of exhaust and windscreen wash – from entering.

Refinement

The Golf’s interior look is combined with advances made by Volkswagen engineers in reducing wind noise, including a completely new design of door and window seals, a new sound-damping inter-layer within the laminated windscreen and a new engine mounting system.  The result is the quietest Golf yet produced.  Yet it should be noted that in any alterations to sound-deadening, weight was always taken into consideration and heavy noise-damping materials have been systematically replaced with new, lighter materials wherever possible. 

Damping technologies and materials were redesigned in the areas of the mounting points for the body panels, engine firewall, foot pedals, centre tunnel, around the air conditioning and heating system and in the cargo area.  This was following ultrasonic measurements and so-called ‘near-field holography’ which analysed the key areas in which noise could be reduced.

In addition, many secondary noises were eliminated or reduced at source, for example in all belt drives, the turbocharger and charge air distribution as well as in the heating and cooling blower.  Usually reserved for cars of the luxury class, the windows of the Golf were also addressed by noise control measures.  A highly effective noise-damping film is used in the windscreen that eliminates nearly all high-frequency noise in the three kHz frequency range, a sound particularly associated with diesel engines.  At the same time, the thickness of the front side windows was increased by 10 per cent.  Development engineers also came up with a new sealing concept for the doors with new dual-lip window guide seals, for example, giving a quiet interior.

One exterior change which benefits occupants and improves refinement is the Golf’s wing mirror design.  These have better aerodynamic properties, reduce wind noise and minimise dirt sticking to the mirrors in poor weather conditions.  Also in the area of aerodynamics are the Golf’s newly designed rain channels at the A-pillars which cut wind noise. 

As a result of the aerodynamic changes, the new Golf has a Cd value of 0.31 (GTI 0.32).  Not only does this mean better refinement, it also of course leads to lower fuel consumption and emissions.  The latest Golf also maintains the high quality production benefits of its predecessor, including for example laser welding which facilitates smaller panel gaps and in turn by design makes the car quieter, more rigid, more refined and safer to drive.

Sound generator

Due to the extremely high levels of refinement achieved in the new Golf, the expectations to hear an appropriate ‘engine soundtrack’ during spirited driving and the need to comply with strict external noise level regulations, the GTI’s designers decided to equip the new model with a sound generator. 

The creation of the sound generator was extremely challenging as it needed to permit quiet, refined cruising while at the same time being able to produce an appropriate sound quality and volume during more enthusiastic driving situations.

Outside the car, the noise level is fully regulated by the GTI’s new exhaust system.  From the exterior the only visible components of the system are a pair of chrome exhaust pipes integrated in the GTI’s black diffuser – one on the left and one on the right.  On the engine side of the bulkhead is located a specially developed sound generator.  This receives signals from the engine management system and produces an authentic soundtrack inside the car that follows engine speed and load.  Occupants experience the hushed tones of a luxury car at steady speed that change to those of a more sporting nature during enthusiastic driving.

ENGINES

GTI: 2.0-litre TSI, 1984 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 210 PS

The Golf GTI features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder TSI petrol engine (codenamed EA888).  It has a power output of 210 PS delivered between 5,300 and 6,200 rpm (a 10 PS rise over the Mk V), which allows the vehicle to accelerate from standstill to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds.  Maximum torque – 206 lbs ft (280 Nm) – is delivered between 1,700 and 5,200 rpm, an exceptionally wide range to provide excellent in-gear performance and keen throttle response.  The GTI’s maximum speed rises to 149 mph.  The GTI is available with a six-speed manual or DSG automatic gearbox.  Carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to 170 g/km (DSG: 173 g/km) and economy rises to a combined figure of 38.7 mpg (DSG: 38.2 mpg). 

Although sharing the same 1,984 cc displacement as the 2.0-litre T-FSI engine from the Mk V GTI, the new TSI unit features substantial changes including modified pistons and piston rings, an uprated oil pump, new induction system and a high-pressure fuel pump.  This engine was also completely redesigned for Euro V compliance, lower CO2 emissions, fuel efficiency, ease of servicing and ‘packaging’.  Packaging means reducing the external dimensions of the engine, plus accessories to allow appropriate under-bonnet space for engine movement, service access and crumple zones. 

GTI Edition 35: 2.0-litre TSI, 1984 cc, 16-valve, 4-cyl, 235 PS

The 1,984 cc, four-cylinder EA113 engine is derived from the powerplant used in the Golf R.  This is based on the unit from the previous-generation Golf GTI, but with a reinforced block with an entirely new alloy head, uprated pistons, conrods and high pressure injectors.pic  The result is 235 PS developed at 5,500 rpm and 221 lbs ft of torque at 2,200 rpm.  The Edition 35 still returns a very respectable 34.9 mpg on the combined economy cycle (35.3 DSG) and emits 189 g/km of CO2 (185 for the DSG model).

GTD: 2.0-litre TDI CR, 1968 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS

The Golf GTD offers high performance combined with impressive frugality. Powering the GTD is a refined 2.0-litre (1,968 cc) common rail TDI engine, producing 170 PS and a substantial 258 lbs ft (350 Nm) of torque channelled via a six-speed manual or automatic DSG gearbox.  This translates to effortless performance with the ability to accelerate from rest to 62 mph in 8.1 seconds and go on to a top speed of 138 mph (136 DSG).  A combined fuel economy figure of 55.4 mpg (52.3 DSG) together with a 55 litre fuel tank gives the GTD a potential range in excess of 670 miles.  Carbon dioxide output is just 134 g/km (142 DSG), while a standard Diesel Particulate Filter further reduces emissions of particulate matter.

This engine uses the latest generation common rail diesel technology with piezo injectors for maximum accuracy of injection, with up to 1,800 bar of injection pressure and special eight-hole injector nozzles producing especially fine atomisation of the fuel.  

The nozzles are driven by the latest generation of piezo in-line injectors, in which electrically controllable piezo crystals control injection accurately down to minute fractions of a second.  Compared to conventional solenoid valves, piezo technology provides more precise control over the injection processes.

The advantages to the driver are a very quiet and smooth-running engine, remarkably spontaneous response behaviour and competitive fuel consumption and emissions.  Also having a positive effect on noise reduction is the completely maintenance-free toothed belt drive for the camshaft. 

Gearboxes

Both the Golf GTI and GTD are available with a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic gearbox.  Volkswagen’s seven-speed DSG gearbox is not offered; the reason for this is that while the six-speed version can be paired with high torque engines (up to 350 Nm), the seven-speed variant is more effective in combination with smaller engines with torque outputs of up to 250 Nm.  All gearboxes in the Golf are filled with lifetime oil and require no routine maintenance.

Six-speed manual

The Golf’s manual six-speed gearbox features a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements.  Three-cone synchromesh for the lower gears ensures a pleasant shift action.  Reduced-friction bearings further increase the efficiency of the unit and cut fuel consumption. 

DSG – Direct Shift Gearbox

At launch in 2005, Volkswagen’s Direct Shift Gearbox was a true innovation, combining the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the responsiveness and economy of a manual unit.

The six-speed, transversely mounted DSG unit has two wet clutches with hydraulic pressure regulation.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.

With this clutch management system, the interruptions in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur.  This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.

This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected.  In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated.  As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.

Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second.  In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection. 

All GTI and GTD models feature a multifunction steering wheel; if DSG is selected this also has a ‘paddle shift’ to allow up- and down-gear changes without the driver needing to remove his or her hands from the steering wheel.

Servicing

Like on any Golf, Volkswagen offers GTI and GTD customers a choice of servicing regime.  They can choose Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing and the appropriate selection is entirely dependent on how the car is likely to be driven and its general use. 

Time and Distance Servicing is recommended for vehicles that will cover less than 10,000 miles in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly city centre driving, short journeys with frequent cold starts
  • Activities regularly producing high engine loading, for example frequent hill climbs, driving with vehicle fully loaded and towing
  • Driving with high rpm, hard acceleration and heavy braking

In this case, the vehicle will be serviced at regular intervals, at every 10,000 miles or every 12 months. 

LongLife Servicing is recommended for vehicles with a daily mileage of more than 25 miles, where the vehicle is driven regularly and on mainly longer distance journeys.  The vehicle should be mainly driven at a constant speed with minimum vehicle and engine loading, minimal towing and driven in an economical manner.  In this case, the on-board computer informs the driver via a dashboard display, when the vehicle needs a service.  A range of engine sensors electronically monitors the vehicle’s oil temperature, oil pressure, oil level and brake pad wear to establish when a service is needed. 

With the LongLife system, the vehicle can cover typically between 10,000 and 18,000 miles (approx) or 24 months (whichever is sooner) between oil changes.  An inspection service is typically due in the third year of ownership or at 40,000 miles and thereafter every second year for vehicles with an annual mileage of around 10,000 miles.

Customers can choose between Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing at PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and though it is possible to change from one to another during the vehicle’s life, it can only be done when a full inspection service is due.

RUNNING GEAR

A new era for Volkswagen suspension design was ushered in with the arrival of the Mk V Golf and the new model retains the key characteristics of this successful and award-winning set-up, namely strut-type front and four-link rear suspension.  The GTI and GTD also use this basic structure.  

The GTI’s running gear, however, has been substantially modified to give it the dynamic ability it deserves.  One key change is the addition of standard XDS, providing a function similar to that of a differential lock by electronic means to improve traction and handling (more details in separate XDS section).  The GTI’s sporty driving characteristics are also enhanced thanks to the addition of specially tuned springs, dampers and anti-roll bars.  What’s more, the GTI has a narrower front track than the standard Golf, measuring 1,533 mm instead of 1,541.  The rear track remains unchanged at 1514 mm.  Sports suspension is also applied, lowering the GTI by approximately22 mm at the front and 15 mm at the rear.  The GTD has sports suspension, lowered by approximately 15 mm.  XDS is also standard on the GTD.

Available as an option on GTI and GTD models is Volkswagen’s Adaptive Chassis Control system (ACC) which was first seen on the Passat CC and is standard on the Scirocco.  Naturally the Golf also features ABS with the latest incarnation of ESP to ensure safe handling and deceleration where necessary.

Front running gear

At the front all Golf models uses proven strut-type front suspension to offer direct steering feedback, high rigidity under cornering loads and minimal body roll.

Ride and handling benefit from the car’s clever mounting concept for the lower wishbone, with separate mountings for spring and damper on the suspension strut tower, a lightweight twin-sleeve damper unit and optimised spring rates.

Multi-link rear axle

The introduction of a four-link rear suspension system was a major stride forwards for the Golf’s market segment in terms of providing the optimum combination of handling dynamics and ride comfort.

The compact four-link layout features three lateral control arms – the spring mounting, the track rod and the upper control arm – and a trailing link at each wheel.  Suspension assemblies are attached by way of a rear-axle subframe and, as at the front, rubber-and-metal mountings that are soft in torsion but stiff radially are used to ensure that the anti-roll bar responds immediately and suppresses body roll effectively.  This combines accurate handling with good ride and low road noise levels.

The spring and damper on each side are located separately; the spring bears directly on the trailing link and the damper unit is attached to the wheel hub assembly.  The suspension geometry on the compression stroke generates a toe steering effect that maintains neutral behaviour or slight understeer in all driving and load-carrying situations.  Among the benefits of the almost neutral layout are excellent straight-running stability characteristics on highly uneven road surfaces and minimised tyre wear.

Electro-mechanical power steering

The Golf uses a third generation electro-mechanical power steering system (EPS) which is able to vary the feel of the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.

Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, like crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy.

Both the Golf GTI and GTD have a turning circle of 10.9 metres, and three turns lock to lock. 

Braking system

The Golf features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) as standard across the range.

Ventilated discs measuring 312 mm in diameter are fitted at the front, with solid discs at the rear (282 mm on GTI; 253 mm on GTD).

The latest-generation ESP system developed for the Golf has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety.

Electronic Stabilisation Programme – ESP

Essentially, ESP is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESP reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one has started. 

This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESP can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

The latest generation of ESP fitted to all Golf models has a finer response and counter-steering recommendation.

Hydraulic Brake Assist

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, this latest form of HBA recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, HBA automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

XDS – electronic differential lock

All GTI and GTD models are fitted with XDS, an electronic cross-axle traction control system for improved traction and handling.  Technically speaking, XDS is a functional extension of the electronic limited slip differential (EDL) which is a part of the standard ESP system.

Its benefits are experienced when driving quickly through a bend.  ESP sensors provide information on lateral G forces, while ABS sensors monitor levels of friction.  Using this information a control unit can predict when an inside wheel is about to lift and apply a braking force automatically to increase traction on the opposite front wheel.  XDS differs from EDL however as it brakes the inner wheel before it loses traction rather than afterwards.  The result is smoother, more sure-footed and safer progress with better traction through fast corners when on the limit of adhesion. 

XDS also compensates for the understeer which is typical of front-wheel drive cars.  Thanks to XDS, the GTI’s driving characteristics are significantly more precise and neutral, and this reduction in understeer means greater driving enjoyment.

Adaptive Chassis Control – ACC

Engineers have in the past been constrained to design a suspension system which is biased either towards comfort or sportiness, always resulting in some form of compromise.  The ideal, it was decided, would be to produce a chassis that could continually adapt to road conditions and the particular wishes of the driver or passengers.  This has been achieved for the Golf, and all models in the range from SE upwards can be specified with an Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) system.  Here not only can the suspension’s damping characteristics be controlled at the touch of a button, but the electro-mechanical power steering and accelerator response are also modified at the same time.

ACC functions via a set of four electrically adjustable dampers operated through pneumatic valves.  Each damper is fitted with characteristic map control, a gateway control module that serves as an interface with the CAN data networks in the Golf – these comprise three sensors for measuring wheel displacement, three sensors for measuring movements of the body structure and a control module for the damping.  These sensors constantly (up to 1,000 times per second) measure the vehicle’s behaviour – be it under braking, acceleration or cornering – and react almost instantaneously to ensure the optimum mix of chassis agility and comfort at all times.  The vehicle defaults to ‘Normal’ mode in which the system strikes a balance for general use.  Should the driver select ‘Sport’ mode the steering assistance is reduced, the damping is hardened and the throttle responses are sharpened as the mapping changes.  This is intended for either twisty roads or track driving.  In ‘Comfort’ the damping is softened and the steering assistance is increased to provide a smooth and controlled ride best suited to motorway driving.

Hill hold function 
All Golf models have a standard hill hold function.  The system is useful when the car stops for short periods such as in heavy town traffic or on a long incline.  The parking brake now comes on automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest preventing the car from rolling forwards or backwards for around two seconds. 

EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Sitting at the top of the Golf range, the GTI and GTD models have a high level of standard features as you would expect.  Equipment highlights are shown below:

Golf GTD

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist)
  • ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (Traction Control)
  • driver’s and front passenger’s airbags (passenger’s airbag deactivation switch)
  • curtain airbag system, front and rear; front seat side impact airbags
  • driver’s knee airbag
  • driver’s and front passenger’s whiplash-optimised head restraints
  • three rear three-point seatbelts and head restraints
  • warning buzzer and light for front seatbelts if unfastened
  • Isofix child seat preparation (for two rear child seats)
  • electronic engine immobiliser; alarm with interior protection
  • remote central locking with two remote folding keys
  • electrically heated front sport seats with height and lumbar adjustment
  • easy entry sliding seats (for access to rear seats – three-door only)
  • height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • split folding rear seat backrest 60:40
  • front and rear (5dr only) electric windows
  • multifunction computer; multifunction steering wheel with (DSG only) paddle shift
  • MDI (Multi Device Interface) with USB and iPod connection cables
  • RCD 310 radio/MP3 compatible CD player with eight speakers and AUX-in socket for connection to external multimedia source (e.g. iPod and MP3 player)
  • Bluetooth phone preparation
  • 2Zone electronic climate control
  • illuminated, cooled and lockable glovebox
  • front centre armrest with storage compartment; front seat back storage pockets
  • luggage compartment storage box; load-through provision
  • four load lashing points and 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • body-coloured bumpers, door handles and electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors with integrated indicators, chrome trimmed radiator grille louvres
  • twin exhaust tailpipe
  • rear tinted windows from B-pillar back
  • GTD styling pack: uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers with integrated front fog lights and honeycomb front air intake; GTD badging; rear roof spoiler
  • extended sill strips, flared in black grain effect
  • 7J x 17 ‘Seattle Shadow’ alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • sports suspension (lowered by approx 15 mm), steel space saver spare wheel
  • automatic coming and leaving home lighting function, plus dusk sensor and automatic driving lights  
  • rain sensor and automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror  
  • black ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery
  • ‘Edge’ decorative inserts in dash and door panels
  • chrome trim on electric window and door mirror switches
  • leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel with GTD logo and grey stitching
  • aluminium-look pedals
  • carpet mats front and rear with grey edging
  • XDS electronic differential lock (see Running Gear section for details)

Golf GTI

In addition or different to the items on GTD, the range-topping GTI adds the following:

  • GTI styling pack: uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers with integrated front fog lights and honeycomb front air intake
  • rear diffuser, black with chrome exhaust tailpipes left and right
  • red brake callipers
  • red radiator grille louvres
  • unique GTI badging
  • carpet mats front and rear with red edging
  • leather trimmed three-spoke steering wheel with GTI logo and red stitching
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Monza’ alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • sports suspension – lowered by approx. 22 mm front and 15 mm rear

Golf GTI Edition 35

In addition or different to the items on GTI, the Edition 35 adds the following:

  • a more sporty bodykit incorporating new side skirts and a revised front bumper
  • bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights
  • lightweight 18-inch ‘Watkins Glen’ alloy wheels, finished in ‘Dark Steel’ or – at no additional cost – silver
  • Edition 35 badge on the front wing
  • gloss black door mirror casings
  • rear windows with 90 per cent tinted glass
  • rear tinted LED lights
  • ‘35’ signatures on the head restraints, door sills and floor mats
  • red stripe on the seatbelts
  • ‘golf ball’ gearknob (on both manual and DSG transmissions)

FACTORY-FIT OPTIONS

A number of factory- and retailer-fit options are available on the new Golf GTI and GTD models, allowing buyers to customise their vehicles further.  These include 18-  and 19-inch alloy wheels, ACC (Adaptive Chassis Control), cruise control, bi-xenon headlights, DAB compatible digital radio, parking assistance systems and satellite navigation.  For full details on option availability please see the latest price list.  

Gas-discharge (bi-xenon) headlights

Ultra-efficient gas discharge (bi-xenon) headlights are offered on GTI and GTD models.  These provide a well focused, blue-white light approximately two and a half times more powerful than standard lights, and come with a self-levelling mechanism, high pressure headlight wash as well as dynamic curve lighting.  This turns with the steering to a maximum swivelling angle of 15 degrees to provide better visibility around bends.  When the vehicle is static, these are able to turn to 35 degrees in relation to the car’s axis, useful, for example, when manoeuvring into tight parking spaces.

Park Assist, parking sensors and rear-view camera

Useful for tight manoeuvres is the option of Volkswagen’s Park Assist system.  This option also adds parking sensors, and using a series of these located at the front, rear and side of the car, plots the ideal manoeuvring path into a parallel space either to the right or left of the vehicle.

When driving at speeds of under around 18 mph, an ultrasonic sensor system detects all parallel parking spaces to the right or left with a total space of 1.1 metres more than the vehicle.  A control unit then notifies the driver that an appropriate space has been found and calculates the ideal parking path.  Once in the recommended ‘start’ position, the driver engages reverse gear.  During the parking process the driver has no steering input, but is in control of the throttle and brake.

Even if Park Assist is not being used, when reverse gear is engaged, the Golf driver benefits from the parking sensors which allow objects behind the car to be pinpointed.  The system produces an audible warning signal to guide the driver up to a safe distance to any objects behind.  Not only does this help to avoid car park knocks, it could also prevent accidents, for example, if a child runs out who may not have been seen.

One option which can be specified with or without Park Assist on the new Golf GTI and GTD is a rear-view camera.  This is located behind the rear badge – so the lens is always clean – and transmits a real-time, distortion-free image of what is behind the car to the screen in the central display.  This allows the driver to see and recognise obstacles behind the car, and manoeuvre into the tightest parking spaces.  While moving, the screen marks out the car’s steering movements with coloured orientation lines.  This facility can also be extremely useful when hooking up to a tow hitch. 

DVD touchscreen navigation/radio system

Volkswagen’s latest touchscreen DVD navigation and entertainment system is offered with the Golf GTI and GTD.  The installation uses a touchscreen for fast, intuitive operation of the entertainment and navigation menus and displaying of information.  

With this system, as well as playing CDs in the usual manner, favourite tracks can also be stored onto the internal, 30 GB hard-drive via an SD card slot in the front of the unit.  The system can also be used to play DVDs when the car is stationary.  The hard-drive can also be used to store navigation mapping, freeing up the CD/DVD drive.  In addition routes can be recorded while driving and then re-traced by following guidance provided by the stored waypoints.  This can be particularly useful in off-road situations and regions for which digital mapping does not exist.   

For the navigation to function, rear ABS wheel sensors are used to determine the distance the car has covered and to provide information when the car is turning.  Further system components include a solid state magnetic compass concealed under the roof and a three-way roof aerial for radio and GPS (Global Positioning System).  The aerial receives signals from the satellites in orbit from which the system is able to calculate the position of the car on the surface of the earth.

Dynaudio sound system

A 300 watt premium entertainment system from Danish hi-fi specialist Dynaudio provides exceptional sound quality especially compared with other systems in this market sector.  The eight-channel system delivering up to a true 300 watts RMS without unwanted vibrations in the vehicle structure sets a new standard in this class. 

SAFETY AND SECURITY

The Golf brand has always been synonymous with safety, and in designing the sixth generation, developers were set the task of making this car the safest Golf yet.

That’s why the Golf is being offered with a seamless package of standard safety features.  On the passive side, there is a further perfected safety body (including additional reinforcement in the door area and optimised pedestrian protection), seven airbags including a knee airbag on the driver’s side and a patented head restraint system for driver and front passenger (WOKS).  The Golf was the first Volkswagen to have a rear ‘belt-up request’ system; this is included when a customer specifies the option of rear side airbags.  Furthermore, a new sensor concept for crash detection is was also introduced on the new Golf.  Naturally the GTI and GTD have the same level of safety features as their standard Golf counterparts.

New sensor concept for crash detection

The sixth generation of Golf is equipped with a new sensor concept for detecting crash intensity and correspondingly influencing airbag ignition.  This involves the electronics, which are located centrally in the passenger compartment, evaluating the ‘felt’ low-frequency deceleration signals.  At the same time, specially tuned accelerometers measure the frequency components in the mid or ‘audible’ range.  These signal components are generated as a body wave when load-bearing structures in the front car area rapidly deform.  They propagate at high speed throughout the vehicle structure and supply precise and quickly available information about the severity of the crash.

By intelligently linking ‘felt’ and ‘audible’ signal components, it is possible to obtain a faster and at the same time more reliable impression of the crash from the airbag sensors.  That enables better adaptation of airbags and seatbelt tensioners to the crash situation, to protect passengers in the most appropriate way.  The Golf’s sensor system was awarded the Bavarian Innovation Prize in Germany.

Knee airbag

Standard equipment on the Golf includes two front airbags, two side airbags and two head airbags.  For the first time, the Golf also has a knee airbag system on the driver’s side.  The special mounting location of the knee airbag – beneath the knee impact area on the instrument panel – ensures that there is no contact between the airbag door and the lower leg.

In the event of a crash the airbag deploys in front of the driver’s knees in less than 20 milliseconds and absorbs – in conjunction with the seatbelt and front airbag – a significant share of the crash energy.  The driver is integrated into the vehicle’s deceleration early via the thighs and pelvis, and the steering wheel airbag cushions the driver’s chest and head at the optimal angle in the resulting, gently introduced upper body movement.

In general, the knee airbag protects the driver’s legs from a hard collision with the steering column and instrument panel.  In an offset impact, the feet are also better protected against lateral ankle twist.

Front, side and head airbags

The driver and front passenger airbags together with the knee airbag and seatbelt system, form a precisely co-ordinated front restraint system on the Golf.  As on previous generation models, the side airbags are still integrated in the seatbacks of the front seats, which ensures they are always in the best position to protect the driver and front passenger.  These protect the chest, abdomen and pelvis and have been optimally tuned to the car’s more rigid lateral structure.  The same is true of the optional rear side airbags in the five-door version.

Furthermore, Volkswagen has introduced standard head airbags that help to prevent high biomechanical loads on the head.  Specifically, these airbags cover the side window area from the A- to the C-pillar and from the roofliner to the door window sill.  This means maximum protection at all seating positions regardless of body size because protection over a large area prevents the head and extremities from swinging out and prevents objects from penetrating the car’s interior.  Due to the long holding time of the head airbags, they remain largely effective even in secondary collisions such as those occurring in the event of a rollover.

Whiplash Optimised Head Restraint System: WOKS

Injuries caused by hyperextensions of the cervical spine – or whiplash – are extremely common following car accidents.  Volkswagen has developed WOKS – its Whiplash Optimised Head Restraint System – to counteract whiplash injuries by co-ordinating the movements of the head and upper body as synchronously as possible via the seatbacks and head restraints.  The latest generation of WOKS is implemented as standard on the Golf.

To reduce the risk of injury, excellent protection is afforded by achieving defined deceleration velocity of the upper body via the seatback, co-ordinated deceleration of the head via the head restraint, and balanced motions of head and upper body.  Key to this are the special contour of the head restraints and seatbacks as well as the hardness of the foam material used here.  The contoured shape of the head restraints is being patented by Volkswagen.  On related studies, WOKS has demonstrated a level of protective potential that is substantially better than the biomechanical values attained by many active systems.

New seatbelt fastening detection for the rear

Another highlight in the Golf is the seatbelt fastening detection system for rear passengers.  This function is standard when optional side airbags and belt tensioners are ordered for the outer rear seat positions.  Thanks to this warning system, the driver can tell whether occupants are buckled up in the rear when starting the car and during the drive.

After switching on the ignition, the driver is informed via the multifunctional display for 30 seconds whether occupants are buckled up in the rear.  If a seatbelt is fastened, a relevant symbol is shown (buckled person) for the specific seat location; an unfastened seatbelt is also displayed (empty seat).  While driving, if the rear seatbelts are unfastened at a vehicle speed greater than 25 km/h (approx 15 mph), the seatbelt indicator flashes for 30 seconds (displayed symbol alternates between empty seat and buckled person); an acoustic signal is also heard.

Euro NCAP test results

The sixth generation Golf was tested ahead of launch by the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) crash test agency.

It achieved 36 out of a possible 37 points for occupant protection leading to a five-star award.  In the area of child safety the Golf scored four stars; a further three stars were awarded for pedestrian safety.  This makes it one of the safest cars available in this segment.

Line up with insurance groups

Thanks to its impressive security and safety features, the Golf GTI and GTD have secured the following ABI (Association of British Insurers) insurance group ratings:

GTI 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS                          34
GTI Edition 35 2.0-litre TSI 235 PS          35
GTD 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS                        30

(Ratings shown out of 50.)

WARRANTIES

All Golf models have a three year (first and second year manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) / 60,000 mile mechanical warranty.  In addition, they come with a 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Assistance which includes European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer.

HISTORY

There have been many stories about how the first GTI came into being.  The fact is that the Golf GTI was the ingenious idea of a few men.  This is their story, and that of the GTI.

Everything began in 1973, when Volkswagen launched a sporty version of the Beetle.  The ‘Yellow and Black Racer’, as it was called, differed from the normal Beetle, having a black bonnet and engine cover, slightly broader tyres (5.5” instead of 5”), sports seats with head restraints, and a leather steering wheel.  Technically it was still the same old Beetle with 1,600 cc and 50 PS, but despite this, it caused a stir, even within the German parliament.

To the disbelief of many, it proved popular with customers, selling out in next to no time, and laying the foundations for a two-year project in Wolfsburg that, even within the company, only a handful of people would know about.

On 18 March 1973, test engineer, Alfons Löwenberg, wrote an internal memo to a few colleagues in the Research and Development department, proposing that Volkswagen should build a proper sports model.

At that time, a new vehicle – code-named EA 337, and otherwise known as the Golf – was already in the final stages of development.  This meant a modern high-performance front-wheel drive car would gain Volkswagen a new audience.

The memo’s recipients were sceptical at first.  Only chassis specialist, Herbert Horntrich, and development chief, Hermann Hablitzel, were interested in Löwenberg’s idea.

Löwenberg persisted, and found other like-minded colleagues, including marketing expert Horst-Dieter Schwittlinsky and Anton Konrad, the then head of Volkswagen PR.  Konrad, previously manager of the Formula V association and himself a racing driver, was particularly taken with the idea.  He was also aware, though, that the delicate sport seedling needed to be cultivated in great secrecy, not least because the high development costs for the new model that would be launched as the Golf in 1974 were already proving a heavy burden on company funds.

Konrad invited the secret developers from the ‘Sportgolf’ work group to meet at his home over sandwiches and beer.  Hablitzel, Horntrich, Konrad, Löwenberg and Schwittlinsky sorted through the possibilities like conspirators.  Hablitzel was now definitely on board and his silent toleration allowed Löwenberg and Horntrich to get down to work.

Taking a Scirocco prototype with a rock-hard chassis, they lowered the suspension dramatically, souped up the basic 1.5-litre 85 PS Scirocco engine to 100 PS with a two-stage carburettor, and crowned it all with an exhaust pipe that resembled a stove pipe – and also sounded like one.

Today, Konrad remembers the car as being ‘a roaring monster’, which the team soon agreed was not what they wanted.  They agreed the ‘Sportgolf’ should feel sporty, but still be modest.  Löwenberg and Horntrich therefore decided to build a tamer version.  The result was not quite as ferocious, but still fast.  The whole group felt much better about this new model, an optimism that gave Hablitzel the courage to tell development chief, Professor Ernst Fiala, about the car.  He asked him what he thought.  Fiala delivered the team quite a blow, saying: ‘It’s far too expensive.’  He added simply: ‘You’re all mad.’

The group, however, refused to be deterred.  The ‘Sportgolf’ prototype based on the Scirocco was officially declared a disguised chassis prototype; unofficially though development continued.  Löwenberg fine-tuned the engine, while Horntrich configured the chassis for the proposed beefy tyres.  These were to be 205/60 HR 13s, which would even put a Porsche 911 to shame: at that time, the quintessential Teutonic sports car still ran on 185/70 tyres.

Not surprisingly, the ‘disguised chassis prototype’ caused a big stir when Hablitzel and his team demonstrated it to the management at the Volkswagen test centre in Ehra-Lessien in spring 1975.  Even Professor Fiala was quite taken with the ‘Sportgolf’ dressed as a Scirocco – and gave his approval.  At the end of May, an official assignment was sent to the R&D department: to develop a sporty version of the Golf.

At the same time, the sales department now also saw good market opportunities for a sporty Golf; besides, Volkswagen was still lacking a crowd-puller for the forthcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.  The project suddenly gained momentum from all sides.  Six prototypes were created, ranging from a beast with undiluted sports credentials to a modest, comfortable version.  Chief designer, Herbert Schäfer, was responsible for all the details that would distinguish the ‘Sportgolf’ from its rivals.  These included the red stripe on the radiator grille, the larger front spoiler, the discreet plastic wheel arch extensions; the matt black frame on the rear windscreen; the black roof-liner; the golf ball gearknob; and the chequered seat covers.

Herbert Schuster, the new test manager, immediately gave the chassis development top priority.  To cut costs, he reduced the width of the wheels from 6” to 5.5”, and decreased the tyre size to 175/70 HR 13.  He added anti-roll bars for the front and rear axles, and developed a spring/damper configuration that provided the best combination of sportiness and comfort.  In collaboration with Audi, the 1.6-litre fuel-injected 110 PS engine was produced.

The team finished their work dead on schedule.  So when the 46th Frankfurt Motor Show opened its doors to the public on 11 September 1975, the Golf GTI study made its debut on the Volkswagen stand.  ‘The fastest Volkswagen ever’ boasted the advertisement – and that was no exaggeration.  The GTI accelerated from 0-62 mph in nine seconds, leaving considerably bigger and more expensive cars standing.  The carefully announced price of ‘under DM13,000’ was still over DM5,000 less than the closest German rival.  The result: show visitors were so impressed, the management had no choice but to build a special series of 5,000 cars.

The GTI cost DM13,850 when it was finally launched in mid-1976.  However, dealers still managed to sell 10 times the planned number in the first year of sales.  Now, 36 years after the original prototype was conceived, over 1.7 million GTIs have been sold across the world.

UK SALES HISTORY: 34 YEARS, OVER 200,000 UK SALES

Golf GTI Mk I – 1977-1984

1975     Original Golf GTI design by, Giorgetto Giugiaro, unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show

1977     GOLF GTI Mk I LAUNCHED IN THE UK

            Launched with 1.6-litre, 110 PS (108 bhp) engine

            Length: 3,705 mm

            Width: 1,630 mm

            Height: 1,395 mm

            Top speed: 113 mph

            0-62 mph:9.0 seconds

            mpg: 35.2 (urban)

1979     Right-hand drive GTI launched in the UK

1980     Right-hand drive GTI Cabriolet launched in the UK

1982     More powerful engine; 1.8-litre, 112 PS (110 bhp) introduced

            Top speed:113 mph

            0-62 mph: 8.2 seconds

            mpg: 26.6 (urban)

            1.6-litre turbo, 70 PS (69 bhp) GTD diesel launched in the UK

            Top speed:96 mph

            0-62 mph: 13.5 seconds

            mpg: 42.5 (urban)

1983     Special edition GTI ‘Campaign’ launched in the UK

            Special edition GTI ‘Pirelli’ launched in Germany

1984     Golf Cabriolet ‘All White’ launched in the UK with GTI’s 1.8-litre, 112 PS engine

?Total Golf GTI Mk I hatchback sales in the UK – 17,039

Golf GTI Mk II – 1984-1992

1984     GOLF GTI Mk II LAUNCHED

            Launched with 1.8-litre 8V, 112 PS (110 bhp) engine

            Length:3,985 mm (+ 280 mm)

            Width: 1,680 mm (+ 50 mm)

            Height:1,395 mm (+ 0)

            Top speed:119 mph

            0-62 mph:        8.3 seconds

            mpg: 32.5 (urban)

1985     25,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

            UK launch of facelifted model featuring double headlights and twin exhausts

            Five door GTI launched in the UK

1986     More powerful engine; 1.8-litre 16V, 139 PS (137 bhp)

            Top speed: 130 mph

            0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds

            mpg: 26.6 (urban)

1988     50,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

1989     75,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

            Introduction of ‘big bumpers’

1990     1,000,000th Golf GTI produced 

            Left-hand drive GTI G60 announced for special order in the UK.
            Supercharged 1.8-litre 16V, 160 PS (158 bhp) engine

            Top speed: 130 mph

            0-62 mph: 7.6 seconds

            mpg: 23.2 (urban)

1991     Launch of limited run of 70, left-hand drive GTI G60 Limited with 1.8-litre 16V 210 PS (207 bhp) engine

            Top speed: 143 mph

            0-62 mph: 7.4 seconds

            mpg: 20.1 (urban)

?Total Golf GTI Mk II hatchback sales in the UK – 80,307

Golf GTI Mk III – 1992-1998

1992     GOLF GTI Mk III LAUNCHED

            Launched with 2.0-litre 8V, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

            Length: 4,020 mm (+ 35 mm)

            Width: 1,710 mm (+ 30 mm)

            Height: 1,405 mm (+ 10 mm)

            Top speed: 123 mph

            0-62 mph: 10.1 seconds

            mpg: 27.4 (urban)

            100,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

1993      Launch of 2.0-litre 16V, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

            Top speed: 134 mph

            0-62 mph: 8.3 seconds

            mpg: 25.9

            Second generation GTI Cabriolet launched

1994     ABS brakes become standard on GTI

1995     Special edition GTI Colour Concept launched with 2.0-litre 8V, 115 PS
            (113 bhp) engine

1996     21 years after first being unveiled, limited run GTI Anniversary launched.
            600 vehicles fitted with 2.0-litre 8V 115 PS (113 bhp) engine and 150 fitted with 2.0-litre 16V, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

1997     125,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

?Total Golf GTI Mk III hatchback sales in the UK – 39,766

Golf GTI Mk IV – 1998-2004

1998     GOLF GTI Mk IV LAUNCHED

            Launched with 1.8-litre, 125 PS (123 bhp) and 1.8-litre turbo, 150 PS (148 bhp) engines

            Length: 4,149 mm (+ 129 mm)

            Width: 1,735 mm (+ 25 mm)

            Height: 1,439 mm (+ 34 mm)

            Top speed: 125 mph (1.8-litre) / 134 mph (1.8-litre turbo)

            0-62 mph: 9.9 seconds (1.8-litre) / 8.5 seconds (1.8-litre turbo)

            mpg: 34.0 (1.8-litre) / 35.3 (1.8-litre turbo) combined        

            CO2: 199 g/km (1.8-litre) / 192 g/km (1.8-litre turbo)

1999     150,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

            Launch of 2.0-litre, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

            Top speed: 121 mph

            0-62 mph: 10.5 seconds

            mpg: 35.8 combined

            CO2: 194 g/km

            UK launch of facelifted GTI Cabriolet

2001     175,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

            First ever diesel-powered Golf GTI, launched with 1.9-litre, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

            Top speed:134 mph

            0-62 mph: 8.6 seconds

            mpg:52.3 combined

            CO2: 146 g/km

2002     25 years since the Golf GTI Mk I was launched is commemorated with the

            introduction of the GTI Anniversary.  Available with either a 1.8-litre turbo, 180 PS (178 bhp) petrol or a 1.9-litre, 150 PS (148 bhp) diesel engine

            Top speed: 138 mph (petrol) / 134 mph (diesel)

            0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds (petrol) / 8.6 seconds (diesel)

            mpg: 33.2 (petrol) / 52.3 (diesel) combined

            CO2: 204 g/km (petrol) / 146 g/km (diesel)

?Total Golf GTI Mk IV hatchback sales in the UK – 61,879

Golf GTI Mk V – 2005-2008

2003     Golf GTI Design Study unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show

2004     Golf GTI Mk V unveiled

            GTI named ‘Top Gear Car of the Year’

2005     GOLF GTI Mk V LAUNCHED

            Launched with 2.0-litre, 200 PS T-FSI engine.  For the first time ever, GTI was available as an automatic – the revolutionary DSG twin plate gearbox

            Length: 4,216 mm (+ 67 mm)

            Width: 1,759 mm (+ 24 mm)

            Height: 1,466 mm (+ 27 mm)

            Top speed: 146 mph (145 – DSG)

            0-62 mph: 7.2 seconds (6.9 – DSG)

            mpg: 35.3 combined

            CO2:189 g/km

            200,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

           GTI named ‘What Car? Hot Hatch of the Year’

2007      Launch of GTI Edition 30 to celebrate the model’s 30th anniversary fitted with 2.0-litre, 230 PS engine

            Top speed: 150 mph

            0-62 mph: 6.8 seconds

            mpg: 34.4 combined

            CO2:194 g/km

            Total sold in the UK:2,264

            The most powerful Golf ever produced by Volkswagen, GTI W12-650 design study, unveiled with 6.0-litre bi-turbo 650 PS engine

            Length: 4,204 mm

            Width: 1,919 mm

            Height: 1,396 mm

            Top speed: 201 mph (estimate)

            0-62 mph: 3.7 seconds

            GTI ‘R-Line’ claims 8th place overall and class victory at Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race

2008     2.0-litre T-FSI 230 PS GTI Pirelli launched to commemorate 25th anniversary of the original GTI Mk I variant

            Top Speed: 152 mph

            0-62 mph: 6.8 seconds

            mpg: 34.4 combined

            CO2: 194 g/km

            Total sold in the UK: 181

?Total Golf GTI Mk V hatchback sales in the UK – 18,223

Golf GTI Mk VI – 2009 onwards

2008     Golf GTI Concept unveiled

            Top speed:148 mph

            0-62 mph:7.2 seconds

            mpg: 37.6 combined

            CO2:178 g/km

2009     Golf GTI Mk VI displayed at Geneva Motor Show (March)

            Car released for ordering at UK Retailers (23 March GTI / April GTD)

            22 May – GTI on sale in UK

            22 June – GTD on sale in UK

            Mk VI is most powerful standard GTI launched with 2.0-litre TSI, 210 PS

            engine.  For the first time ever, GTI available with Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC), electronic limited slip differential (XDS) and seven airbags

           GTI:

            Length: 4,213 mm  

            Width: 1,786 mm  

            Height: 1,501 mm  

            Top speed: 149 mph

            0-62 mph: 6.9 seconds  

            mpg: 38.7 combined

            CO2:170 g/km

           GTD:

            Length: 4,213 mm 

            Width: 1,786 mm 

            Height: 1,501 mm 

            Top speed: 138 mph

            0-62 mph:  8.1 seconds  

            mpg: 55.4 combined

            CO2:134 g/km

2011     Golf GTI Edition 35 displayed at Worthersee GTI enthusiast meeting in June

            Car goes on sale in UK on 2 September

GTI Edition 35:

            Length: 4,213 mm 

            Width: 1,786 mm 

            Height: 1,501 mm 

            Top speed: 153 mph

            0-62 mph: 6.6 seconds  

            mpg: 34.9 combined

            CO2:189 g/km

?1977-2008: Total Golf GTI hatchback sales in the UK (Mk I – V) – 217,214

(ends)

GTI/GTD 0909/KT/ 1011/rl

Thirty-six years after a small band of engineers started work on the first prototype Golf GTI, the very latest evolution and sixth generation of the original hot hatch has arrived.

The original Golf GTI was planned as a limited series of 5,000 cars.  Since then – and five generations of GTI later – more than 1.7 million have been sold worldwide. 

The elements identified by the engineers back in March 1973 that defined the original GTI remain; sharp dynamics, a responsive four-cylinder engine and driver involvement are at the core of the new GTI.  Yet it has evolved – the Mk VI is faster and more powerful than any standard GTI before it.  However, the day-to-day usability of the GTI has not been forgotten and it is cleaner, safer and more efficient than ever before.

An advanced new 2.0-litre TSI engine producing 210 PS, available linked to either a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox, is at the heart of the new GTI.  Despite the rise in power output, the new GTI is assured of greater grip in all conditions thanks to standard new XDS electronic control of front wheel traction.  Unique springs and dampers combine with lowered suspension to give GTI drivers the on-road experience they expect of the brand.  In addition, Volkswagen’s innovative Adaptive Chassis Control system (ACC), featuring pneumatically controlled damper units, is offered for the first time on the GTI.  This allows the driver to select from normal, comfort or sport modes to define the desired suspension, steering and accelerator response settings for any particular journey.

The mechanical changes are joined by subtle cosmetic additions.  The basis of the GTI is the chassis structure of the new Mk VI Golf, onto which is added an aggressive new front bumper.  This features a deep honeycomb airdam framed by vertical foglights which sit below a new grille element adorned by a GTI badge.  As with the Mk VI Golf, the GTI uses horizontal lines to make the new car appear lower and wider than it really is.  In reality, the new GTI is 27 mm wider than the car it replaces.  At the rear, a diffuser is located between an all-new exhaust system with separated tailpipes to lower further the stance of the car.  A subtle rear wing sits above a pair of smoked rear light lenses and a single ‘GTI’ badge.

The GTI Edition 35 model features more power – 235 PS – and even more visual drama, from its bespoke bodykit, side skirts and unique alloy wheels.

Also joining the performance Golf line-up is a GTD, featuring a 2.0-litre common rail TDI engine with 170 PS.  Similar, though not identical, dynamic, cosmetic and interior changes have been made to this Golf, offering customers a performance car which returns an average fuel consumption of over 55 mpg, produces just 134 g/km of carbon dioxide and has a range in excess of 670 miles.

As with the entire Golf range, the new GTI and GTD feature class-leading levels of safety with ABS, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) and seven airbags, including for the first time a knee airbag, all standard.  The standard Golf was awarded a maximum five-star rating by the Euro NCAP crash testing agency.

SUMMARY

  • Sixth generation Golf GTI was first unveiled in concept form at the Paris Motor Show in September 2008; ordering opened at Volkswagen Retailers in the UK in March 2009 with cars arriving on 22 May
  • New performance diesel GTD model joined the range on 22 June 2009
  • The sixth generation of the original hot hatch evolves the virtues of the Mk I GTI with greater power, performance and sharper responses than the car it replaces.  By contrast, it is also cleaner and more efficient 
  • Powering the GTI is an advanced new version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre TSI engine, available with either a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox.  Although sharing the same 1,984 cc displacement as the 2.0-litre T-FSI engine it replaces, the new TSI unit features substantial changes including modified pistons and piston rings, a revised oil pump, induction system and high-pressure fuel pump
  • The result is 210 PS delivered between 5,300 and 6,200 rpm (a 10 PS rise over the Mk V), which allows the vehicle to accelerate from standstill to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds
  • Emissions fall from 189 to 170 g/km (DSG: 173) and economy improves from a combined 35.3 to 38.7 mpg (DSG: 38.2).  Maximum torque – 206 lbs ft (280 Nm) between 1,700 and 5,200 rpm – is delivered over an even broader engine speed range allowing greater flexibility and response.  Maximum speed rises to 149 mph (DSG: 147)
  • The GTD uses a 2.0-litre (1,968 cc) common rail TDI engine, producing 170 PS and 258 lbs ft of torque channelled via a six-speed manual or DSG gearbox.  It has a 0 to 62 mph time of 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 138 mph.  Combined economy is 55.4 mpg (52.3 DSG), with CO2 emissions of just 134 g/km (142 DSG)
  • The GTI Edition 35 uses a 235 PS version of the EA113 engine as found in the Golf R (as opposed to the EA888 fitted to the ‘standard’ Golf GTI)
  • The GTI is equipped with unique springs and dampers with ride height lowered by 22 mm at the front (15 mm rear) compared to the standard Golf
  • Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) is available as an option on GTI and GTD.  This allows the driver to select from normal, comfort or sport modes to define the desired suspension, steering and accelerator response settings for the conditions
  • Exterior styling draws on the new design direction established by the Scirocco; simple, clean surfaces mix with sharp creases and large honeycomb grille elements.  The use of horizontal lines around the front of the vehicle makes the new GTI appear lower and wider than it really is
  • Standard equipment highlights on the new GTI include black leather sports seats with headrests featuring the ‘GTI’ logo, a flat-bottomed GTI multifunction steering wheel, red brake callipers, 17-inch ‘Monza’ alloy wheels, 2Zone electronic climate control and Bluetooth phone preparation
  • The GTD’s suspension is lowered by 15 mm compared to the standard Golf’s.  It also gains the GTI’s honeycomb grille, badge-style and front-end design, though with the addition of chrome rather than red highlights.  The GTD features 17-inch ‘Seattle Shadow’ alloys.  Inside, black leather sports seats are standard
  • As with the rest of the Golf range, the new GTI and GTD feature class-leading levels of safety with ABS, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) and seven airbags, including for the first time a knee airbag, all as standard
  • In the UK around half of all GTIs sold will be equipped with a DSG gearbox
  • The five-door model accounts for around 75 per cent of all sales
  • In 2010, Volkswagen UK sold 1,670 GTIs and 2,191 GTDs

Market information

The Golf GTI is one of the UK’s most popular hot hatches – little surprise when the Golf is one of Europe’s best-selling cars, and the best-selling Volkswagen in the UK.  The addition of the GTD diesel model adds extra appeal to the hot hatch range.

Volkswagen UK sold 1,670 GTIs in 2010.  Around 75 per cent of GTI models will have five doors and there will be a 50:50 split between cars sold with a manual and DSG gearbox.  Retail buyers will be responsible for around three-quarters of GTI sales.

GTD sales in the UK in 2010 totalled 2,191 units.  As with GTI, around three-quarters are sold with five doors.  Differing from GTI, the diesel model has more appeal to fleets, with only 25 per cent of buyers coming from the retail sector.  Manual models also have a greater prevalence here, with around 70 per cent of GTDs sold with a manual gearbox.

Total Golf sales for 2010 were 53,638 (hatch only).

Production  

The Golf GTI and GTD are produced at Volkswagen’s plant in Wolfsburg.  State of the art production systems and assembly technologies are employed to ensure the Golf maintains the highest quality levels.

Wolfsburg

Volkswagen’s factory grounds in Wolfsburg occupy an area of more than six square kilometres.  The 1.6 sq km taken up by factory buildings could comfortably contain the Principality of Monaco.  The network of roads linking the individual production facilities, storage halls, administration buildings and external facilities, is 75 km long, while the plant’s rail network totals 70 km, on which seven locomotives and two shunting robots operate.

The Wolfsburg factory has a production capacity of about 4,000 vehicles per day; these include the Golf, Golf Plus and within the Auto 5000 GmbH subsidiary, the Touran and Tiguan models are built.  In addition to passenger car production, the manufacture of components is a further important activity.  Of all the components produced here, which include drive shafts and injection mouldings, some are installed on site while others are transported to other Volkswagen Group plants around the world.  The Wolfsburg plant (excluding Auto 5000) employs around 43,500 people.

Every day around 120 double-decked railcars together with 160 car transporters leave the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg carrying 2,500 vehicles.  At the same time some 1,900 companies daily deliver their products – raw materials, parts or system groups – to the factory in approximately 150 railcars and 600 trucks.  The two on-site power stations in Wolfsburg provide not only energy for the factory, but also supply power and heat to the town of Wolfsburg.  Both power stations have an installed electrical power output of 442 megawatts.

DESIGN

The Mk VI Golf GTI is slightly longer and lower than its standard Golf counterpart, giving it a more dynamic stance – akin to that of the Scirocco coupé.  Yet it shares many of the standard Golf’s evolutionary styling cues.  Compared to the previous generation GTI the new dimensions mean there is more room for five adults inside, thanks to the additional width.  The Golf GTI and GTD are available in three- and five-door hatchback bodystyles.

Exterior

The sixth generation of standard Golf established an elegant new design direction in the evolution of the iconic model.  Led by the three-strong team of Walter de Silva (Head of Design, Volkswagen Group), Klaus Bischoff (Head of Design for the Volkswagen brand) and Marc Lichte (Head of Exterior Design) the styling of the Golf draws on the design language – and new Volkswagen family look – first established by the Scirocco.

On unveiling the Golf, Walter de Silva commented: ‘The Golf is the global icon of carmaking so the architecture and styling of the new model are also absolutely clear and unique.’  Clean, minimalist lines mix with sharp, intricate detailing to create a look inspired by all five previous generations of Golf yet which remains fresh and contemporary. 

The nose of the Mk VI Golf marks a departure from the vertical lines of the Mk V, replacing them with horizontal elements – most apparent in the grille between the headlights and the air dam mounted in the front bumper.  This use of horizontal lines lends the new Golf a stance that appears lower and wider than it actually is.

In penning the new GTI and GTD, the established team took the Golf’s design even further.  They wanted to combine the new elements of the latest generation Golf with the design cues of the Mk V GTI, while at the same time evoking the spirit of the first generation GTI.  De Silva explains: ‘We wanted a consistently clear GTI design, a car that has power, but style as well.’  Bischoff adds: ‘Also cast in stone was the goal of evoking the character of the first GTI a bit more.’  Lichte concludes: ‘And that is why it was decided that – with the exception of the aerodynamically important rear spoiler – the new GTI would not have a single exterior add-on, unlike the usual practice in this segment.’

At the front, the GTI and GTD sport an aggressive new front bumper, featuring a deep honeycomb airdam framed by vertical foglights which sit below a new grille element with red highlights (chrome on GTD).  A simple GTI or GTD badge reinforces the model’s identity.  Along with the horizontal grille fins, elegant yet purposeful new headlights featuring individual lamp pods behind a translucent cover denote this new generation of Golf. 

Extending back, the Golf’s wing mirrors feature integrated, high level indicators.  The wing mirror casings have a small groove running their length to channel rain water and ensure that the mirror remains clean regardless of conditions.

In profile the side skirts of the Mk V Golf that extended the length of the sill are replaced by subtle wraparound versions that extend only partially along the lower edge of the vehicle.  At the rear a set of smoked rear light lenses cover LED tail lights. Underneath is a rear diffuser channelling air from beneath the vehicle, framed by a pair of chrome tailpipes (GTD has twin ’pipes which sit side by side).  A subtle rear wing sits above the rear light lenses along with a single ‘GTI’ or ‘GTD’ badge.

Between the rear lights is the Volkswagen badge which swivels to act as a boot release and also, if specified, houses the rear-view camera.

The distinctive ‘telephone dial’ wheels from the Mk V GTI make a reappearance on the latest model.  The Edition 35 comes with 18-inch ‘Watkins Glen’ alloys. Meanwhile the GTD features 17-inch ‘Seattle Shadow’ alloys.

For the GTI Edition 35, bespoke exterior styling changes include a more sporty bodykit incorporating new side skirts and a revised front bumper which sits below bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.  Unique lightweight 18-inch ‘Watkins Glen’ alloy wheels, finished in ‘Dark Steel’ or – at no additional cost – silver, further distinguish this model from the standard GTI, along with an Edition 35 badge on the front wing, gloss black door mirror casings, rear windows with 90 per cent tinted glass and rear tinted LED lights. 

Interior

In conceiving the interior for the Mk VI Golf, Volkswagen’s designers unashamedly set themselves the target of defining new benchmarks in quality in this class.  This goal extends to all aspects, from ergonomics, through the feel and look of the materials used to the overall refinement within the cabin. 

After sitting for just a few moments in the Golf’s cabin, it becomes clear that all functional components are easy and instinctive to operate.  These include the controls for the air conditioning system, as well as the switches for the electric windows and wing mirrors which now sit further forward in the driver’s door panel, making them easier to reach.  To make further progress in the area of intuitive controls, designers use the RAMSIS 3D computer-human simulation model which enables checking of all possible person-constituent combinations. 

Also of note is the new adjustment handle for the steering wheel.  Rather than being in the centre, and effectively between the driver’s knees, the lever is now offset to the left hand side where it is easier to reach and use.

Further examples of attention to detail in the Golf’s cabin include a new type of leather which is standard on GTI and GTD.  Being more robust than the previous style it eliminates dye transfer, for example, from jeans to the leather and reduces wear and tear meaning the interior feels newer for longer.  In the boot, the Golf now has two hooks to enable shopping bags and other items to be safely stowed. 

The Golf’s instrument panel was completely redesigned for the sixth generation.  Clearly defined dials sit in recessed, individual cowls behind a three-spoke steering wheel with the option of controls for entertainment and communications functions.  High quality, soft touch plastics are integrated with tasteful aluminium and chrome highlights.  Volkswagen’s traditional blue back-lighting makes way for white backlit dials which are illuminated regardless of whether the car’s exterior lights are on. 

The programme engineers also completely redesigned the new Golf’s door trim panels to improve ergonomics and incorporate higher quality materials, once again giving the feeling that you are sitting in a car from a higher class. 

Inside the GTI/GTD, standard equipment highlights include full black Vienna leather upholstery with heated front seats (a specification enhancement from October 2011, replacing tartan ‘Jacara’ cloth), headrests featuring the ‘GTI’ or ‘GTD’ logo, a flat-bottomed GTI or GTD multifunction steering wheel as well as aluminium-look pedals and ‘Edge’ decorative inserts in the dash and door panels.

For the GTI Edition 35, subtle ‘35’ signatures are carried through to the interior, featuring on the head restraints of the heated Vienna leather front sports seats as well as the door sills and floor mats, along with a red stripe on the seatbelts and the now famous GTI ‘golf ball’ gearknob which is available on both manual and DSG transmissions.

Stowage space

There are plenty of useful stowage areas within the Golf’s cabin.  In addition to the lockable and cooled glovebox there is a driver’s side cubby which can accommodate a drinks can and generous door bins.  A new addition is the space in the driver’s door designed to house a high visibility vest which is compulsory in some countries.

In the GTI and GTD, there is a further large storage area between the front seats complete with two cup holders.  The overhead console, which houses the front interior lights and their controls, also has a sunglasses compartment.  In the rear seating useful storage pockets are located for smaller items.

Almost every cubby hole in the Golf has a purpose.  One example is the bottle opener, which fits into the gap between the cup holders, next to the handbrake lever. 

Climate control

The Golf GTI and GTD have fully automatic 2Zone electronic climate control (Climatronic) air conditioning.  This allows driver and front-seat passenger to adjust their own climates individually and independently.  Temperatures within the two zones are maintained to an accuracy of a degree, with no readjustment necessary whatever the outside conditions.  The Climatronic’s intelligent control system even takes into account the amount of sunlight penetration into the cabin, and makes separate calculations to compensate for it on both the driver and passenger sides. 

As an example of further attention to detail, the system switches automatically to recirculating-air mode when reversing or when the windscreen washer sprays are used; the fresh air supply is momentarily cut to prevent smells – of exhaust and windscreen wash – from entering.

Refinement

The Golf’s interior look is combined with advances made by Volkswagen engineers in reducing wind noise, including a completely new design of door and window seals, a new sound-damping inter-layer within the laminated windscreen and a new engine mounting system.  The result is the quietest Golf yet produced.  Yet it should be noted that in any alterations to sound-deadening, weight was always taken into consideration and heavy noise-damping materials have been systematically replaced with new, lighter materials wherever possible. 

Damping technologies and materials were redesigned in the areas of the mounting points for the body panels, engine firewall, foot pedals, centre tunnel, around the air conditioning and heating system and in the cargo area.  This was following ultrasonic measurements and so-called ‘near-field holography’ which analysed the key areas in which noise could be reduced.

In addition, many secondary noises were eliminated or reduced at source, for example in all belt drives, the turbocharger and charge air distribution as well as in the heating and cooling blower.  Usually reserved for cars of the luxury class, the windows of the Golf were also addressed by noise control measures.  A highly effective noise-damping film is used in the windscreen that eliminates nearly all high-frequency noise in the three kHz frequency range, a sound particularly associated with diesel engines.  At the same time, the thickness of the front side windows was increased by 10 per cent.  Development engineers also came up with a new sealing concept for the doors with new dual-lip window guide seals, for example, giving a quiet interior.

One exterior change which benefits occupants and improves refinement is the Golf’s wing mirror design.  These have better aerodynamic properties, reduce wind noise and minimise dirt sticking to the mirrors in poor weather conditions.  Also in the area of aerodynamics are the Golf’s newly designed rain channels at the A-pillars which cut wind noise. 

As a result of the aerodynamic changes, the new Golf has a Cd value of 0.31 (GTI 0.32).  Not only does this mean better refinement, it also of course leads to lower fuel consumption and emissions.  The latest Golf also maintains the high quality production benefits of its predecessor, including for example laser welding which facilitates smaller panel gaps and in turn by design makes the car quieter, more rigid, more refined and safer to drive.

Sound generator

Due to the extremely high levels of refinement achieved in the new Golf, the expectations to hear an appropriate ‘engine soundtrack’ during spirited driving and the need to comply with strict external noise level regulations, the GTI’s designers decided to equip the new model with a sound generator. 

The creation of the sound generator was extremely challenging as it needed to permit quiet, refined cruising while at the same time being able to produce an appropriate sound quality and volume during more enthusiastic driving situations.

Outside the car, the noise level is fully regulated by the GTI’s new exhaust system.  From the exterior the only visible components of the system are a pair of chrome exhaust pipes integrated in the GTI’s black diffuser – one on the left and one on the right.  On the engine side of the bulkhead is located a specially developed sound generator.  This receives signals from the engine management system and produces an authentic soundtrack inside the car that follows engine speed and load.  Occupants experience the hushed tones of a luxury car at steady speed that change to those of a more sporting nature during enthusiastic driving.

ENGINES

GTI: 2.0-litre TSI, 1984 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 210 PS

The Golf GTI features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder TSI petrol engine (codenamed EA888).  It has a power output of 210 PS delivered between 5,300 and 6,200 rpm (a 10 PS rise over the Mk V), which allows the vehicle to accelerate from standstill to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds.  Maximum torque – 206 lbs ft (280 Nm) – is delivered between 1,700 and 5,200 rpm, an exceptionally wide range to provide excellent in-gear performance and keen throttle response.  The GTI’s maximum speed rises to 149 mph.  The GTI is available with a six-speed manual or DSG automatic gearbox.  Carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to 170 g/km (DSG: 173 g/km) and economy rises to a combined figure of 38.7 mpg (DSG: 38.2 mpg). 

Although sharing the same 1,984 cc displacement as the 2.0-litre T-FSI engine from the Mk V GTI, the new TSI unit features substantial changes including modified pistons and piston rings, an uprated oil pump, new induction system and a high-pressure fuel pump.  This engine was also completely redesigned for Euro V compliance, lower CO2 emissions, fuel efficiency, ease of servicing and ‘packaging’.  Packaging means reducing the external dimensions of the engine, plus accessories to allow appropriate under-bonnet space for engine movement, service access and crumple zones. 

GTI Edition 35: 2.0-litre TSI, 1984 cc, 16-valve, 4-cyl, 235 PS

The 1,984 cc, four-cylinder EA113 engine is derived from the powerplant used in the Golf R.  This is based on the unit from the previous-generation Golf GTI, but with a reinforced block with an entirely new alloy head, uprated pistons, conrods and high pressure injectors.pic  The result is 235 PS developed at 5,500 rpm and 221 lbs ft of torque at 2,200 rpm.  The Edition 35 still returns a very respectable 34.9 mpg on the combined economy cycle (35.3 DSG) and emits 189 g/km of CO2 (185 for the DSG model).

GTD: 2.0-litre TDI CR, 1968 cc, 16-valve 4-cyl, 170 PS

The Golf GTD offers high performance combined with impressive frugality. Powering the GTD is a refined 2.0-litre (1,968 cc) common rail TDI engine, producing 170 PS and a substantial 258 lbs ft (350 Nm) of torque channelled via a six-speed manual or automatic DSG gearbox.  This translates to effortless performance with the ability to accelerate from rest to 62 mph in 8.1 seconds and go on to a top speed of 138 mph (136 DSG).  A combined fuel economy figure of 55.4 mpg (52.3 DSG) together with a 55 litre fuel tank gives the GTD a potential range in excess of 670 miles.  Carbon dioxide output is just 134 g/km (142 DSG), while a standard Diesel Particulate Filter further reduces emissions of particulate matter.

This engine uses the latest generation common rail diesel technology with piezo injectors for maximum accuracy of injection, with up to 1,800 bar of injection pressure and special eight-hole injector nozzles producing especially fine atomisation of the fuel.  

The nozzles are driven by the latest generation of piezo in-line injectors, in which electrically controllable piezo crystals control injection accurately down to minute fractions of a second.  Compared to conventional solenoid valves, piezo technology provides more precise control over the injection processes.

The advantages to the driver are a very quiet and smooth-running engine, remarkably spontaneous response behaviour and competitive fuel consumption and emissions.  Also having a positive effect on noise reduction is the completely maintenance-free toothed belt drive for the camshaft. 

Gearboxes

Both the Golf GTI and GTD are available with a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic gearbox.  Volkswagen’s seven-speed DSG gearbox is not offered; the reason for this is that while the six-speed version can be paired with high torque engines (up to 350 Nm), the seven-speed variant is more effective in combination with smaller engines with torque outputs of up to 250 Nm.  All gearboxes in the Golf are filled with lifetime oil and require no routine maintenance.

Six-speed manual

The Golf’s manual six-speed gearbox features a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements.  Three-cone synchromesh for the lower gears ensures a pleasant shift action.  Reduced-friction bearings further increase the efficiency of the unit and cut fuel consumption. 

DSG – Direct Shift Gearbox

At launch in 2005, Volkswagen’s Direct Shift Gearbox was a true innovation, combining the comfort of an automatic gearbox with the responsiveness and economy of a manual unit.

The six-speed, transversely mounted DSG unit has two wet clutches with hydraulic pressure regulation.  One clutch controls the ‘odd’ gears plus reverse, while the other operates the ‘even’ gears.  Essentially it is two gearboxes in one.

With this clutch management system, the interruptions in power that are typical of even an automatic-shift manual gearbox no longer occur.  This is achieved by an intelligent hydraulic and electronic (mechatronic) gearbox control system, the two wet-type clutches and the two input and output shafts in each half of the gearbox.

This combination enables the next-higher gear ratio to remain engaged but on standby until it is actually selected.  In other words, if the car is being driven in third gear, fourth is selected but not yet activated.  As soon as the ideal shift point is reached, the clutch on the third-gear side opens, the other clutch closes and fourth gear engages under accurate electronic supervision.

Since the opening and closing actions of the two clutches overlap, a smooth gearshift results and the entire shift process is completed in less than four-hundredths of a second.  In addition to its fully automatic shift mode, DSG has a Tiptronic function to permit manual gear selection. 

All GTI and GTD models feature a multifunction steering wheel; if DSG is selected this also has a ‘paddle shift’ to allow up- and down-gear changes without the driver needing to remove his or her hands from the steering wheel.

Servicing

Like on any Golf, Volkswagen offers GTI and GTD customers a choice of servicing regime.  They can choose Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing and the appropriate selection is entirely dependent on how the car is likely to be driven and its general use. 

Time and Distance Servicing is recommended for vehicles that will cover less than 10,000 miles in 12 months and if the vehicle is likely to be used in the following way:

  • Predominantly city centre driving, short journeys with frequent cold starts
  • Activities regularly producing high engine loading, for example frequent hill climbs, driving with vehicle fully loaded and towing
  • Driving with high rpm, hard acceleration and heavy braking

In this case, the vehicle will be serviced at regular intervals, at every 10,000 miles or every 12 months. 

LongLife Servicing is recommended for vehicles with a daily mileage of more than 25 miles, where the vehicle is driven regularly and on mainly longer distance journeys.  The vehicle should be mainly driven at a constant speed with minimum vehicle and engine loading, minimal towing and driven in an economical manner.  In this case, the on-board computer informs the driver via a dashboard display, when the vehicle needs a service.  A range of engine sensors electronically monitors the vehicle’s oil temperature, oil pressure, oil level and brake pad wear to establish when a service is needed. 

With the LongLife system, the vehicle can cover typically between 10,000 and 18,000 miles (approx) or 24 months (whichever is sooner) between oil changes.  An inspection service is typically due in the third year of ownership or at 40,000 miles and thereafter every second year for vehicles with an annual mileage of around 10,000 miles.

Customers can choose between Time and Distance or LongLife Servicing at PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and though it is possible to change from one to another during the vehicle’s life, it can only be done when a full inspection service is due.

RUNNING GEAR

A new era for Volkswagen suspension design was ushered in with the arrival of the Mk V Golf and the new model retains the key characteristics of this successful and award-winning set-up, namely strut-type front and four-link rear suspension.  The GTI and GTD also use this basic structure.  

The GTI’s running gear, however, has been substantially modified to give it the dynamic ability it deserves.  One key change is the addition of standard XDS, providing a function similar to that of a differential lock by electronic means to improve traction and handling (more details in separate XDS section).  The GTI’s sporty driving characteristics are also enhanced thanks to the addition of specially tuned springs, dampers and anti-roll bars.  What’s more, the GTI has a narrower front track than the standard Golf, measuring 1,533 mm instead of 1,541.  The rear track remains unchanged at 1514 mm.  Sports suspension is also applied, lowering the GTI by approximately22 mm at the front and 15 mm at the rear.  The GTD has sports suspension, lowered by approximately 15 mm.  XDS is also standard on the GTD.

Available as an option on GTI and GTD models is Volkswagen’s Adaptive Chassis Control system (ACC) which was first seen on the Passat CC and is standard on the Scirocco.  Naturally the Golf also features ABS with the latest incarnation of ESP to ensure safe handling and deceleration where necessary.

Front running gear

At the front all Golf models uses proven strut-type front suspension to offer direct steering feedback, high rigidity under cornering loads and minimal body roll.

Ride and handling benefit from the car’s clever mounting concept for the lower wishbone, with separate mountings for spring and damper on the suspension strut tower, a lightweight twin-sleeve damper unit and optimised spring rates.

Multi-link rear axle

The introduction of a four-link rear suspension system was a major stride forwards for the Golf’s market segment in terms of providing the optimum combination of handling dynamics and ride comfort.

The compact four-link layout features three lateral control arms – the spring mounting, the track rod and the upper control arm – and a trailing link at each wheel.  Suspension assemblies are attached by way of a rear-axle subframe and, as at the front, rubber-and-metal mountings that are soft in torsion but stiff radially are used to ensure that the anti-roll bar responds immediately and suppresses body roll effectively.  This combines accurate handling with good ride and low road noise levels.

The spring and damper on each side are located separately; the spring bears directly on the trailing link and the damper unit is attached to the wheel hub assembly.  The suspension geometry on the compression stroke generates a toe steering effect that maintains neutral behaviour or slight understeer in all driving and load-carrying situations.  Among the benefits of the almost neutral layout are excellent straight-running stability characteristics on highly uneven road surfaces and minimised tyre wear.

Electro-mechanical power steering

The Golf uses a third generation electro-mechanical power steering system (EPS) which is able to vary the feel of the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.

Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, like crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy.

Both the Golf GTI and GTD have a turning circle of 10.9 metres, and three turns lock to lock. 

Braking system

The Golf features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) as standard across the range.

Ventilated discs measuring 312 mm in diameter are fitted at the front, with solid discs at the rear (282 mm on GTI; 253 mm on GTD).

The latest-generation ESP system developed for the Golf has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety.

Electronic Stabilisation Programme – ESP

Essentially, ESP is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESP reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one has started. 

This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESP can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

The latest generation of ESP fitted to all Golf models has a finer response and counter-steering recommendation.

Hydraulic Brake Assist

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, this latest form of HBA recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, HBA automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

XDS – electronic differential lock

All GTI and GTD models are fitted with XDS, an electronic cross-axle traction control system for improved traction and handling.  Technically speaking, XDS is a functional extension of the electronic limited slip differential (EDL) which is a part of the standard ESP system.

Its benefits are experienced when driving quickly through a bend.  ESP sensors provide information on lateral G forces, while ABS sensors monitor levels of friction.  Using this information a control unit can predict when an inside wheel is about to lift and apply a braking force automatically to increase traction on the opposite front wheel.  XDS differs from EDL however as it brakes the inner wheel before it loses traction rather than afterwards.  The result is smoother, more sure-footed and safer progress with better traction through fast corners when on the limit of adhesion. 

XDS also compensates for the understeer which is typical of front-wheel drive cars.  Thanks to XDS, the GTI’s driving characteristics are significantly more precise and neutral, and this reduction in understeer means greater driving enjoyment.

Adaptive Chassis Control – ACC

Engineers have in the past been constrained to design a suspension system which is biased either towards comfort or sportiness, always resulting in some form of compromise.  The ideal, it was decided, would be to produce a chassis that could continually adapt to road conditions and the particular wishes of the driver or passengers.  This has been achieved for the Golf, and all models in the range from SE upwards can be specified with an Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) system.  Here not only can the suspension’s damping characteristics be controlled at the touch of a button, but the electro-mechanical power steering and accelerator response are also modified at the same time.

ACC functions via a set of four electrically adjustable dampers operated through pneumatic valves.  Each damper is fitted with characteristic map control, a gateway control module that serves as an interface with the CAN data networks in the Golf – these comprise three sensors for measuring wheel displacement, three sensors for measuring movements of the body structure and a control module for the damping.  These sensors constantly (up to 1,000 times per second) measure the vehicle’s behaviour – be it under braking, acceleration or cornering – and react almost instantaneously to ensure the optimum mix of chassis agility and comfort at all times.  The vehicle defaults to ‘Normal’ mode in which the system strikes a balance for general use.  Should the driver select ‘Sport’ mode the steering assistance is reduced, the damping is hardened and the throttle responses are sharpened as the mapping changes.  This is intended for either twisty roads or track driving.  In ‘Comfort’ the damping is softened and the steering assistance is increased to provide a smooth and controlled ride best suited to motorway driving.

Hill hold function 
All Golf models have a standard hill hold function.  The system is useful when the car stops for short periods such as in heavy town traffic or on a long incline.  The parking brake now comes on automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest preventing the car from rolling forwards or backwards for around two seconds. 

EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Sitting at the top of the Golf range, the GTI and GTD models have a high level of standard features as you would expect.  Equipment highlights are shown below:

Golf GTD

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist)
  • ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (Traction Control)
  • driver’s and front passenger’s airbags (passenger’s airbag deactivation switch)
  • curtain airbag system, front and rear; front seat side impact airbags
  • driver’s knee airbag
  • driver’s and front passenger’s whiplash-optimised head restraints
  • three rear three-point seatbelts and head restraints
  • warning buzzer and light for front seatbelts if unfastened
  • Isofix child seat preparation (for two rear child seats)
  • electronic engine immobiliser; alarm with interior protection
  • remote central locking with two remote folding keys
  • electrically heated front sport seats with height and lumbar adjustment
  • easy entry sliding seats (for access to rear seats – three-door only)
  • height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • split folding rear seat backrest 60:40
  • front and rear (5dr only) electric windows
  • multifunction computer; multifunction steering wheel with (DSG only) paddle shift
  • MDI (Multi Device Interface) with USB and iPod connection cables
  • RCD 310 radio/MP3 compatible CD player with eight speakers and AUX-in socket for connection to external multimedia source (e.g. iPod and MP3 player)
  • Bluetooth phone preparation
  • 2Zone electronic climate control
  • illuminated, cooled and lockable glovebox
  • front centre armrest with storage compartment; front seat back storage pockets
  • luggage compartment storage box; load-through provision
  • four load lashing points and 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • body-coloured bumpers, door handles and electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors with integrated indicators, chrome trimmed radiator grille louvres
  • twin exhaust tailpipe
  • rear tinted windows from B-pillar back
  • GTD styling pack: uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers with integrated front fog lights and honeycomb front air intake; GTD badging; rear roof spoiler
  • extended sill strips, flared in black grain effect
  • 7J x 17 ‘Seattle Shadow’ alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • sports suspension (lowered by approx 15 mm), steel space saver spare wheel
  • automatic coming and leaving home lighting function, plus dusk sensor and automatic driving lights  
  • rain sensor and automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror  
  • black ‘Vienna’ leather upholstery
  • ‘Edge’ decorative inserts in dash and door panels
  • chrome trim on electric window and door mirror switches
  • leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel with GTD logo and grey stitching
  • aluminium-look pedals
  • carpet mats front and rear with grey edging
  • XDS electronic differential lock (see Running Gear section for details)

Golf GTI

In addition or different to the items on GTD, the range-topping GTI adds the following:

  • GTI styling pack: uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers with integrated front fog lights and honeycomb front air intake
  • rear diffuser, black with chrome exhaust tailpipes left and right
  • red brake callipers
  • red radiator grille louvres
  • unique GTI badging
  • carpet mats front and rear with red edging
  • leather trimmed three-spoke steering wheel with GTI logo and red stitching
  • 7½J x 17 ‘Monza’ alloy wheels with 225/45 R17 tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • sports suspension – lowered by approx. 22 mm front and 15 mm rear

Golf GTI Edition 35

In addition or different to the items on GTI, the Edition 35 adds the following:

  • a more sporty bodykit incorporating new side skirts and a revised front bumper
  • bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights
  • lightweight 18-inch ‘Watkins Glen’ alloy wheels, finished in ‘Dark Steel’ or – at no additional cost – silver
  • Edition 35 badge on the front wing
  • gloss black door mirror casings
  • rear windows with 90 per cent tinted glass
  • rear tinted LED lights
  • ‘35’ signatures on the head restraints, door sills and floor mats
  • red stripe on the seatbelts
  • ‘golf ball’ gearknob (on both manual and DSG transmissions)

FACTORY-FIT OPTIONS

A number of factory- and retailer-fit options are available on the new Golf GTI and GTD models, allowing buyers to customise their vehicles further.  These include 18-  and 19-inch alloy wheels, ACC (Adaptive Chassis Control), cruise control, bi-xenon headlights, DAB compatible digital radio, parking assistance systems and satellite navigation.  For full details on option availability please see the latest price list.  

Gas-discharge (bi-xenon) headlights

Ultra-efficient gas discharge (bi-xenon) headlights are offered on GTI and GTD models.  These provide a well focused, blue-white light approximately two and a half times more powerful than standard lights, and come with a self-levelling mechanism, high pressure headlight wash as well as dynamic curve lighting.  This turns with the steering to a maximum swivelling angle of 15 degrees to provide better visibility around bends.  When the vehicle is static, these are able to turn to 35 degrees in relation to the car’s axis, useful, for example, when manoeuvring into tight parking spaces.

Park Assist, parking sensors and rear-view camera

Useful for tight manoeuvres is the option of Volkswagen’s Park Assist system.  This option also adds parking sensors, and using a series of these located at the front, rear and side of the car, plots the ideal manoeuvring path into a parallel space either to the right or left of the vehicle.

When driving at speeds of under around 18 mph, an ultrasonic sensor system detects all parallel parking spaces to the right or left with a total space of 1.1 metres more than the vehicle.  A control unit then notifies the driver that an appropriate space has been found and calculates the ideal parking path.  Once in the recommended ‘start’ position, the driver engages reverse gear.  During the parking process the driver has no steering input, but is in control of the throttle and brake.

Even if Park Assist is not being used, when reverse gear is engaged, the Golf driver benefits from the parking sensors which allow objects behind the car to be pinpointed.  The system produces an audible warning signal to guide the driver up to a safe distance to any objects behind.  Not only does this help to avoid car park knocks, it could also prevent accidents, for example, if a child runs out who may not have been seen.

One option which can be specified with or without Park Assist on the new Golf GTI and GTD is a rear-view camera.  This is located behind the rear badge – so the lens is always clean – and transmits a real-time, distortion-free image of what is behind the car to the screen in the central display.  This allows the driver to see and recognise obstacles behind the car, and manoeuvre into the tightest parking spaces.  While moving, the screen marks out the car’s steering movements with coloured orientation lines.  This facility can also be extremely useful when hooking up to a tow hitch. 

DVD touchscreen navigation/radio system

Volkswagen’s latest touchscreen DVD navigation and entertainment system is offered with the Golf GTI and GTD.  The installation uses a touchscreen for fast, intuitive operation of the entertainment and navigation menus and displaying of information.  

With this system, as well as playing CDs in the usual manner, favourite tracks can also be stored onto the internal, 30 GB hard-drive via an SD card slot in the front of the unit.  The system can also be used to play DVDs when the car is stationary.  The hard-drive can also be used to store navigation mapping, freeing up the CD/DVD drive.  In addition routes can be recorded while driving and then re-traced by following guidance provided by the stored waypoints.  This can be particularly useful in off-road situations and regions for which digital mapping does not exist.   

For the navigation to function, rear ABS wheel sensors are used to determine the distance the car has covered and to provide information when the car is turning.  Further system components include a solid state magnetic compass concealed under the roof and a three-way roof aerial for radio and GPS (Global Positioning System).  The aerial receives signals from the satellites in orbit from which the system is able to calculate the position of the car on the surface of the earth.

Dynaudio sound system

A 300 watt premium entertainment system from Danish hi-fi specialist Dynaudio provides exceptional sound quality especially compared with other systems in this market sector.  The eight-channel system delivering up to a true 300 watts RMS without unwanted vibrations in the vehicle structure sets a new standard in this class. 

SAFETY AND SECURITY

The Golf brand has always been synonymous with safety, and in designing the sixth generation, developers were set the task of making this car the safest Golf yet.

That’s why the Golf is being offered with a seamless package of standard safety features.  On the passive side, there is a further perfected safety body (including additional reinforcement in the door area and optimised pedestrian protection), seven airbags including a knee airbag on the driver’s side and a patented head restraint system for driver and front passenger (WOKS).  The Golf was the first Volkswagen to have a rear ‘belt-up request’ system; this is included when a customer specifies the option of rear side airbags.  Furthermore, a new sensor concept for crash detection is was also introduced on the new Golf.  Naturally the GTI and GTD have the same level of safety features as their standard Golf counterparts.

New sensor concept for crash detection

The sixth generation of Golf is equipped with a new sensor concept for detecting crash intensity and correspondingly influencing airbag ignition.  This involves the electronics, which are located centrally in the passenger compartment, evaluating the ‘felt’ low-frequency deceleration signals.  At the same time, specially tuned accelerometers measure the frequency components in the mid or ‘audible’ range.  These signal components are generated as a body wave when load-bearing structures in the front car area rapidly deform.  They propagate at high speed throughout the vehicle structure and supply precise and quickly available information about the severity of the crash.

By intelligently linking ‘felt’ and ‘audible’ signal components, it is possible to obtain a faster and at the same time more reliable impression of the crash from the airbag sensors.  That enables better adaptation of airbags and seatbelt tensioners to the crash situation, to protect passengers in the most appropriate way.  The Golf’s sensor system was awarded the Bavarian Innovation Prize in Germany.

Knee airbag

Standard equipment on the Golf includes two front airbags, two side airbags and two head airbags.  For the first time, the Golf also has a knee airbag system on the driver’s side.  The special mounting location of the knee airbag – beneath the knee impact area on the instrument panel – ensures that there is no contact between the airbag door and the lower leg.

In the event of a crash the airbag deploys in front of the driver’s knees in less than 20 milliseconds and absorbs – in conjunction with the seatbelt and front airbag – a significant share of the crash energy.  The driver is integrated into the vehicle’s deceleration early via the thighs and pelvis, and the steering wheel airbag cushions the driver’s chest and head at the optimal angle in the resulting, gently introduced upper body movement.

In general, the knee airbag protects the driver’s legs from a hard collision with the steering column and instrument panel.  In an offset impact, the feet are also better protected against lateral ankle twist.

Front, side and head airbags

The driver and front passenger airbags together with the knee airbag and seatbelt system, form a precisely co-ordinated front restraint system on the Golf.  As on previous generation models, the side airbags are still integrated in the seatbacks of the front seats, which ensures they are always in the best position to protect the driver and front passenger.  These protect the chest, abdomen and pelvis and have been optimally tuned to the car’s more rigid lateral structure.  The same is true of the optional rear side airbags in the five-door version.

Furthermore, Volkswagen has introduced standard head airbags that help to prevent high biomechanical loads on the head.  Specifically, these airbags cover the side window area from the A- to the C-pillar and from the roofliner to the door window sill.  This means maximum protection at all seating positions regardless of body size because protection over a large area prevents the head and extremities from swinging out and prevents objects from penetrating the car’s interior.  Due to the long holding time of the head airbags, they remain largely effective even in secondary collisions such as those occurring in the event of a rollover.

Whiplash Optimised Head Restraint System: WOKS

Injuries caused by hyperextensions of the cervical spine – or whiplash – are extremely common following car accidents.  Volkswagen has developed WOKS – its Whiplash Optimised Head Restraint System – to counteract whiplash injuries by co-ordinating the movements of the head and upper body as synchronously as possible via the seatbacks and head restraints.  The latest generation of WOKS is implemented as standard on the Golf.

To reduce the risk of injury, excellent protection is afforded by achieving defined deceleration velocity of the upper body via the seatback, co-ordinated deceleration of the head via the head restraint, and balanced motions of head and upper body.  Key to this are the special contour of the head restraints and seatbacks as well as the hardness of the foam material used here.  The contoured shape of the head restraints is being patented by Volkswagen.  On related studies, WOKS has demonstrated a level of protective potential that is substantially better than the biomechanical values attained by many active systems.

New seatbelt fastening detection for the rear

Another highlight in the Golf is the seatbelt fastening detection system for rear passengers.  This function is standard when optional side airbags and belt tensioners are ordered for the outer rear seat positions.  Thanks to this warning system, the driver can tell whether occupants are buckled up in the rear when starting the car and during the drive.

After switching on the ignition, the driver is informed via the multifunctional display for 30 seconds whether occupants are buckled up in the rear.  If a seatbelt is fastened, a relevant symbol is shown (buckled person) for the specific seat location; an unfastened seatbelt is also displayed (empty seat).  While driving, if the rear seatbelts are unfastened at a vehicle speed greater than 25 km/h (approx 15 mph), the seatbelt indicator flashes for 30 seconds (displayed symbol alternates between empty seat and buckled person); an acoustic signal is also heard.

Euro NCAP test results

The sixth generation Golf was tested ahead of launch by the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) crash test agency.

It achieved 36 out of a possible 37 points for occupant protection leading to a five-star award.  In the area of child safety the Golf scored four stars; a further three stars were awarded for pedestrian safety.  This makes it one of the safest cars available in this segment.

Line up with insurance groups

Thanks to its impressive security and safety features, the Golf GTI and GTD have secured the following ABI (Association of British Insurers) insurance group ratings:

GTI 2.0-litre TSI 210 PS                          34
GTI Edition 35 2.0-litre TSI 235 PS          35
GTD 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS                        30

(Ratings shown out of 50.)

WARRANTIES

All Golf models have a three year (first and second year manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) / 60,000 mile mechanical warranty.  In addition, they come with a 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Assistance which includes European breakdown cover.  The latter can be extended at minimal cost to the customer.

HISTORY

There have been many stories about how the first GTI came into being.  The fact is that the Golf GTI was the ingenious idea of a few men.  This is their story, and that of the GTI.

Everything began in 1973, when Volkswagen launched a sporty version of the Beetle.  The ‘Yellow and Black Racer’, as it was called, differed from the normal Beetle, having a black bonnet and engine cover, slightly broader tyres (5.5” instead of 5”), sports seats with head restraints, and a leather steering wheel.  Technically it was still the same old Beetle with 1,600 cc and 50 PS, but despite this, it caused a stir, even within the German parliament.

To the disbelief of many, it proved popular with customers, selling out in next to no time, and laying the foundations for a two-year project in Wolfsburg that, even within the company, only a handful of people would know about.

On 18 March 1973, test engineer, Alfons Löwenberg, wrote an internal memo to a few colleagues in the Research and Development department, proposing that Volkswagen should build a proper sports model.

At that time, a new vehicle – code-named EA 337, and otherwise known as the Golf – was already in the final stages of development.  This meant a modern high-performance front-wheel drive car would gain Volkswagen a new audience.

The memo’s recipients were sceptical at first.  Only chassis specialist, Herbert Horntrich, and development chief, Hermann Hablitzel, were interested in Löwenberg’s idea.

Löwenberg persisted, and found other like-minded colleagues, including marketing expert Horst-Dieter Schwittlinsky and Anton Konrad, the then head of Volkswagen PR.  Konrad, previously manager of the Formula V association and himself a racing driver, was particularly taken with the idea.  He was also aware, though, that the delicate sport seedling needed to be cultivated in great secrecy, not least because the high development costs for the new model that would be launched as the Golf in 1974 were already proving a heavy burden on company funds.

Konrad invited the secret developers from the ‘Sportgolf’ work group to meet at his home over sandwiches and beer.  Hablitzel, Horntrich, Konrad, Löwenberg and Schwittlinsky sorted through the possibilities like conspirators.  Hablitzel was now definitely on board and his silent toleration allowed Löwenberg and Horntrich to get down to work.

Taking a Scirocco prototype with a rock-hard chassis, they lowered the suspension dramatically, souped up the basic 1.5-litre 85 PS Scirocco engine to 100 PS with a two-stage carburettor, and crowned it all with an exhaust pipe that resembled a stove pipe – and also sounded like one.

Today, Konrad remembers the car as being ‘a roaring monster’, which the team soon agreed was not what they wanted.  They agreed the ‘Sportgolf’ should feel sporty, but still be modest.  Löwenberg and Horntrich therefore decided to build a tamer version.  The result was not quite as ferocious, but still fast.  The whole group felt much better about this new model, an optimism that gave Hablitzel the courage to tell development chief, Professor Ernst Fiala, about the car.  He asked him what he thought.  Fiala delivered the team quite a blow, saying: ‘It’s far too expensive.’  He added simply: ‘You’re all mad.’

The group, however, refused to be deterred.  The ‘Sportgolf’ prototype based on the Scirocco was officially declared a disguised chassis prototype; unofficially though development continued.  Löwenberg fine-tuned the engine, while Horntrich configured the chassis for the proposed beefy tyres.  These were to be 205/60 HR 13s, which would even put a Porsche 911 to shame: at that time, the quintessential Teutonic sports car still ran on 185/70 tyres.

Not surprisingly, the ‘disguised chassis prototype’ caused a big stir when Hablitzel and his team demonstrated it to the management at the Volkswagen test centre in Ehra-Lessien in spring 1975.  Even Professor Fiala was quite taken with the ‘Sportgolf’ dressed as a Scirocco – and gave his approval.  At the end of May, an official assignment was sent to the R&D department: to develop a sporty version of the Golf.

At the same time, the sales department now also saw good market opportunities for a sporty Golf; besides, Volkswagen was still lacking a crowd-puller for the forthcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.  The project suddenly gained momentum from all sides.  Six prototypes were created, ranging from a beast with undiluted sports credentials to a modest, comfortable version.  Chief designer, Herbert Schäfer, was responsible for all the details that would distinguish the ‘Sportgolf’ from its rivals.  These included the red stripe on the radiator grille, the larger front spoiler, the discreet plastic wheel arch extensions; the matt black frame on the rear windscreen; the black roof-liner; the golf ball gearknob; and the chequered seat covers.

Herbert Schuster, the new test manager, immediately gave the chassis development top priority.  To cut costs, he reduced the width of the wheels from 6” to 5.5”, and decreased the tyre size to 175/70 HR 13.  He added anti-roll bars for the front and rear axles, and developed a spring/damper configuration that provided the best combination of sportiness and comfort.  In collaboration with Audi, the 1.6-litre fuel-injected 110 PS engine was produced.

The team finished their work dead on schedule.  So when the 46th Frankfurt Motor Show opened its doors to the public on 11 September 1975, the Golf GTI study made its debut on the Volkswagen stand.  ‘The fastest Volkswagen ever’ boasted the advertisement – and that was no exaggeration.  The GTI accelerated from 0-62 mph in nine seconds, leaving considerably bigger and more expensive cars standing.  The carefully announced price of ‘under DM13,000’ was still over DM5,000 less than the closest German rival.  The result: show visitors were so impressed, the management had no choice but to build a special series of 5,000 cars.

The GTI cost DM13,850 when it was finally launched in mid-1976.  However, dealers still managed to sell 10 times the planned number in the first year of sales.  Now, 36 years after the original prototype was conceived, over 1.7 million GTIs have been sold across the world.

UK SALES HISTORY: 34 YEARS, OVER 200,000 UK SALES

Golf GTI Mk I – 1977-1984

1975     Original Golf GTI design by, Giorgetto Giugiaro, unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show

1977     GOLF GTI Mk I LAUNCHED IN THE UK

            Launched with 1.6-litre, 110 PS (108 bhp) engine

            Length: 3,705 mm

            Width: 1,630 mm

            Height: 1,395 mm

            Top speed: 113 mph

            0-62 mph:9.0 seconds

            mpg: 35.2 (urban)

1979     Right-hand drive GTI launched in the UK

1980     Right-hand drive GTI Cabriolet launched in the UK

1982     More powerful engine; 1.8-litre, 112 PS (110 bhp) introduced

            Top speed:113 mph

            0-62 mph: 8.2 seconds

            mpg: 26.6 (urban)

            1.6-litre turbo, 70 PS (69 bhp) GTD diesel launched in the UK

            Top speed:96 mph

            0-62 mph: 13.5 seconds

            mpg: 42.5 (urban)

1983     Special edition GTI ‘Campaign’ launched in the UK

            Special edition GTI ‘Pirelli’ launched in Germany

1984     Golf Cabriolet ‘All White’ launched in the UK with GTI’s 1.8-litre, 112 PS engine

?Total Golf GTI Mk I hatchback sales in the UK – 17,039

Golf GTI Mk II – 1984-1992

1984     GOLF GTI Mk II LAUNCHED

            Launched with 1.8-litre 8V, 112 PS (110 bhp) engine

            Length:3,985 mm (+ 280 mm)

            Width: 1,680 mm (+ 50 mm)

            Height:1,395 mm (+ 0)

            Top speed:119 mph

            0-62 mph:        8.3 seconds

            mpg: 32.5 (urban)

1985     25,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

            UK launch of facelifted model featuring double headlights and twin exhausts

            Five door GTI launched in the UK

1986     More powerful engine; 1.8-litre 16V, 139 PS (137 bhp)

            Top speed: 130 mph

            0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds

            mpg: 26.6 (urban)

1988     50,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

1989     75,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

            Introduction of ‘big bumpers’

1990     1,000,000th Golf GTI produced 

            Left-hand drive GTI G60 announced for special order in the UK.
            Supercharged 1.8-litre 16V, 160 PS (158 bhp) engine

            Top speed: 130 mph

            0-62 mph: 7.6 seconds

            mpg: 23.2 (urban)

1991     Launch of limited run of 70, left-hand drive GTI G60 Limited with 1.8-litre 16V 210 PS (207 bhp) engine

            Top speed: 143 mph

            0-62 mph: 7.4 seconds

            mpg: 20.1 (urban)

?Total Golf GTI Mk II hatchback sales in the UK – 80,307

Golf GTI Mk III – 1992-1998

1992     GOLF GTI Mk III LAUNCHED

            Launched with 2.0-litre 8V, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

            Length: 4,020 mm (+ 35 mm)

            Width: 1,710 mm (+ 30 mm)

            Height: 1,405 mm (+ 10 mm)

            Top speed: 123 mph

            0-62 mph: 10.1 seconds

            mpg: 27.4 (urban)

            100,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

1993      Launch of 2.0-litre 16V, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

            Top speed: 134 mph

            0-62 mph: 8.3 seconds

            mpg: 25.9

            Second generation GTI Cabriolet launched

1994     ABS brakes become standard on GTI

1995     Special edition GTI Colour Concept launched with 2.0-litre 8V, 115 PS
            (113 bhp) engine

1996     21 years after first being unveiled, limited run GTI Anniversary launched.
            600 vehicles fitted with 2.0-litre 8V 115 PS (113 bhp) engine and 150 fitted with 2.0-litre 16V, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

1997     125,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

?Total Golf GTI Mk III hatchback sales in the UK – 39,766

Golf GTI Mk IV – 1998-2004

1998     GOLF GTI Mk IV LAUNCHED

            Launched with 1.8-litre, 125 PS (123 bhp) and 1.8-litre turbo, 150 PS (148 bhp) engines

            Length: 4,149 mm (+ 129 mm)

            Width: 1,735 mm (+ 25 mm)

            Height: 1,439 mm (+ 34 mm)

            Top speed: 125 mph (1.8-litre) / 134 mph (1.8-litre turbo)

            0-62 mph: 9.9 seconds (1.8-litre) / 8.5 seconds (1.8-litre turbo)

            mpg: 34.0 (1.8-litre) / 35.3 (1.8-litre turbo) combined        

            CO2: 199 g/km (1.8-litre) / 192 g/km (1.8-litre turbo)

1999     150,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

            Launch of 2.0-litre, 115 PS (113 bhp) engine

            Top speed: 121 mph

            0-62 mph: 10.5 seconds

            mpg: 35.8 combined

            CO2: 194 g/km

            UK launch of facelifted GTI Cabriolet

2001     175,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

            First ever diesel-powered Golf GTI, launched with 1.9-litre, 150 PS (148 bhp) engine

            Top speed:134 mph

            0-62 mph: 8.6 seconds

            mpg:52.3 combined

            CO2: 146 g/km

2002     25 years since the Golf GTI Mk I was launched is commemorated with the

            introduction of the GTI Anniversary.  Available with either a 1.8-litre turbo, 180 PS (178 bhp) petrol or a 1.9-litre, 150 PS (148 bhp) diesel engine

            Top speed: 138 mph (petrol) / 134 mph (diesel)

            0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds (petrol) / 8.6 seconds (diesel)

            mpg: 33.2 (petrol) / 52.3 (diesel) combined

            CO2: 204 g/km (petrol) / 146 g/km (diesel)

?Total Golf GTI Mk IV hatchback sales in the UK – 61,879

Golf GTI Mk V – 2005-2008

2003     Golf GTI Design Study unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show

2004     Golf GTI Mk V unveiled

            GTI named ‘Top Gear Car of the Year’

2005     GOLF GTI Mk V LAUNCHED

            Launched with 2.0-litre, 200 PS T-FSI engine.  For the first time ever, GTI was available as an automatic – the revolutionary DSG twin plate gearbox

            Length: 4,216 mm (+ 67 mm)

            Width: 1,759 mm (+ 24 mm)

            Height: 1,466 mm (+ 27 mm)

            Top speed: 146 mph (145 – DSG)

            0-62 mph: 7.2 seconds (6.9 – DSG)

            mpg: 35.3 combined

            CO2:189 g/km

            200,000th Golf GTI sold in the UK

           GTI named ‘What Car? Hot Hatch of the Year’

2007      Launch of GTI Edition 30 to celebrate the model’s 30th anniversary fitted with 2.0-litre, 230 PS engine

            Top speed: 150 mph

            0-62 mph: 6.8 seconds

            mpg: 34.4 combined

            CO2:194 g/km

            Total sold in the UK:2,264

            The most powerful Golf ever produced by Volkswagen, GTI W12-650 design study, unveiled with 6.0-litre bi-turbo 650 PS engine

            Length: 4,204 mm

            Width: 1,919 mm

            Height: 1,396 mm

            Top speed: 201 mph (estimate)

            0-62 mph: 3.7 seconds

            GTI ‘R-Line’ claims 8th place overall and class victory at Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race

2008     2.0-litre T-FSI 230 PS GTI Pirelli launched to commemorate 25th anniversary of the original GTI Mk I variant

            Top Speed: 152 mph

            0-62 mph: 6.8 seconds

            mpg: 34.4 combined

            CO2: 194 g/km

            Total sold in the UK: 181

?Total Golf GTI Mk V hatchback sales in the UK – 18,223

Golf GTI Mk VI – 2009 onwards

2008     Golf GTI Concept unveiled

            Top speed:148 mph

            0-62 mph:7.2 seconds

            mpg: 37.6 combined

            CO2:178 g/km

2009     Golf GTI Mk VI displayed at Geneva Motor Show (March)

            Car released for ordering at UK Retailers (23 March GTI / April GTD)

            22 May – GTI on sale in UK

            22 June – GTD on sale in UK

            Mk VI is most powerful standard GTI launched with 2.0-litre TSI, 210 PS

            engine.  For the first time ever, GTI available with Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC), electronic limited slip differential (XDS) and seven airbags

           GTI:

            Length: 4,213 mm  

            Width: 1,786 mm  

            Height: 1,501 mm  

            Top speed: 149 mph

            0-62 mph: 6.9 seconds  

            mpg: 38.7 combined

            CO2:170 g/km

           GTD:

            Length: 4,213 mm 

            Width: 1,786 mm 

            Height: 1,501 mm 

            Top speed: 138 mph

            0-62 mph:  8.1 seconds  

            mpg: 55.4 combined

            CO2:134 g/km

2011     Golf GTI Edition 35 displayed at Worthersee GTI enthusiast meeting in June

            Car goes on sale in UK on 2 September

GTI Edition 35:

            Length: 4,213 mm 

            Width: 1,786 mm 

            Height: 1,501 mm 

            Top speed: 153 mph

            0-62 mph: 6.6 seconds  

            mpg: 34.9 combined

            CO2:189 g/km

?1977-2008: Total Golf GTI hatchback sales in the UK (Mk I – V) – 217,214

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