The Excessive (aptly named, for a change) is a tarted-up GTI with a few significant changes underneath, like a wider track, new 19-inch rims, bigger brakes, and stiffer springs and shocks. The great Golf 2-liter turbo gets slightly bumped to 211 hp with a touch more torque.
But the crowd oohing and aahing here in Wörthersee, Austria (see below), had eyes only for the appearance changes—like a new grille, skirts and wheel arches, and a neat diffuser and rear-end treatment—features that the standard GTI should have, at least as options. TopGear says VW might offer these as retrofits for existing GTI owners.
The sixth-generation (Mark VI) current GTI has been praised by everybody at this point. It finally has sufficient (though surely not “excessive”) power, good handling, a great interior, and excellent fuel economy for its class. The car bespeaks balance and refinement. Where else can you get such a well-engineered sporty car for a starting MSRP of $23,465?
In Wörthersee VW also lately premiered the Adidas version of the GTI, with sharp 18-inch wheels, Adidas stripes on the seats, and a 210-hp engine. Three- and five-door versions will debut in Europe next month and soon after in Australia and the U.S. If you order a car with the DSG transmission, you’ll get a golf-ball-design shifter grip. Just think about that!
Volkswagen is very good at gauging public demand for such stuff and refreshing cars that, these days, grow stale pretty quickly. A case in point is the new VW Passat, which according to AutoExpress, will be going slightly upmarket to compete with BMW (the 3 Series) and Benz (the C-Class). Spy photos here.
Their product lines keep closing in on one another’s pricing, it seems, but VW has managed to keep them quite distinct as far as appearance and functionality are concerned. The Passat CC has been improved with a bigger standard back seat, a better nav system, and Bluetooth. GT models get further tweaks to make a good car that much better.
The bottom line of all this is that VW is “on the rise,” to quote Bertel Schmitt. Through April, the company sold 20.9 percent more VW Group cars than in that period last year. Growth was especially strong in China and Brazil. But there may be potholes ahead, particularly in China and Europe. We’ll see if and when they can take over the top spot from Toyota.
What’s your opinion of “special editions” like the Excessive and the Adidas? Would they be worth the extra money to you to buy one?