Next-Gen VW GTI, R32 Replacement
The Mark V Golf GTI, released in 2006, might be the greatest car ever– better than any Ferrari or Aston. Okay, that’s ridiculous. [Fair disclosure: I own one.] The Mark VI Golf, set to go on sale in Europe early next year and– knowing Volkswagen of America, in 2019 here– will not significantly diverge from the current GTI. The next GTI will keep the current model's turbocharged, FSI four-banger with 2.0-liters of displacement. It will pick-up Audi's variable valve lift. Horsepower rises by a handful of ponies to 211. But torque rockets from 207 ft-lbs to 258 ft-lbs. Fuel economy is likely to stay consistent or even improve. The big concern for VW: will that high torque number count against European rivals offering more horsepower? As all these competitors are front wheel-drivers suffering from serious wrist-wrenching torque steer, maybe VW has the right idea. Which reminds me… the six-pot R32 goes away. In its place, a hotter GTI will feature VW/Audi's 2.0-liter turbo engine boosted to 265 horsepower, routed to all four wheels. Yum.
After owning a 2000 Jetta and a 2000 Golf 1.8t, I swore off Volkswagen until my 2007 G35X started giving me problems. The Infiniti was worth about $25,000 - so what is fun to drive for that kind of money? A GTI! Then I drove a 2008 GTI - and I fell in love - especially with the plaid seats. This car is a peach - great motor, the DSG is wonderful, and the suspension is perfect - stiff, but not break-my-back stiff. Check out the old and new GTI in the pics: http://picasaweb.google.com/Ted.Varias/2008VWGTI -ted
Justin/Anyone else: Any idea if the new R?? (R20? what will they call it?) will make a standard optional? My wife has a GTI with DSG, and it's a great transmission, but still not as involving as a stick. Neither my GTI nor my wife's has the plaid interior, but I must admit it's pretty cool. How can people not love it? And to those that dislike this car because it's ugly (it is a tad...homely) drive it! In 2006 when they came out my wife and I were looking at a 350z but really weren't that thrilled with the test drive (fun to drive, but a little...coarse) and the salesman recommended we go down the road to VW. We had looked at a 3 series, G35, RX-8, and a ton of other cars, but only the GTI blew us away. She bought the 2nd one the dealership sold. I got mine a year later and it's still the best all-around vehicle I've driven.
People disliking the GTI interior and/or exterior could look into an Audai A3. Unfortunately, it looks like the 2009 A3 for the USA will still have the non-variable-vale 2.0 turbo.