A true sports car for the masses—that is, people who can actually afford to buy it—the VW Golf GTI has been a winning car since its introduction in 1975.
My son owned two of them—one an older, beat-on Mk 1 (first generation, early ‘80s), the second a Mk 3 (2002, with a V6). I had a 2003 with a 2-liter four. We had “contests”: His went faster in a straight line, of course; mine was better cornering, without all that front-end weight and oversteer.
Anyway, VW greatly improved the next generation of the car with the Mk 5 (2004), and it has gotten consistently better since. The most recent Mk 6 is shown above.
Now we hear of a Mk 7 coming most likely in 2013, which will supposedly be all new and based on something called the MQB platform—lighter, stronger, easier to build. Some are predicting an increased power-weight ratio of 6.5 percent and 230 hp with 260 lb-ft of torque.
The new GTI will be about 220 pounds lighter than the regular Golf, and the new car will have better traction and handling, says TopGear, with new suspension and steering. A new diesel TDI version is also in the works.
The MQB platform will not only cost less, but will be a big deal for VW. The project
spans and integrates every transverse-front-engined model from a Polo to a Passat, including all the brands and several crossovers. It includes components, systems, design processes and factories far more than ever before.
As Georg Kacher noted, the Golf (on which the GTI is based) is VW’s bread-and-butter car, and the company has to get it right. His article includes spy photos that indicate some subtle changes from the present Mk 6 car, though they are hard to detect under all the camouflage.
Bottom line is that the car will appear at the Paris Motor Show in September, where we will finally be able to see what the bloody thing looks like.
Any GTI drivers out there? Tell us whether you like(d) the car or not.