Volkswagen Golf GTi Concept

BY Joel Tam

Set to be launched in early 2013, the new Volkswagen Golf GTI will be powered by the engine from the EA888 series with 220 ps, and 230 ps if opted with the factory performance pack.

Breaking cover at the 2013 Paris Motor Show, the concept car (take that term lightly, this is likely 95% of the actual car) looks set to win the hearts of hot-hatch lovers everywhere. For the first time in the GTI's history, a factory performance pack will be available for those interested in a racier GTI. The performance pack not only offers a plus in power, but also a plus in handling. Instead of 16-inch brakes, the GTI is equipped with 17-inch brakes here (with GTI badges on the callipers) and a front axle differential lock (VAQ) that is also being offered for the first time in this form.

The standard 220 ps will accelerate to 100 km/h in 6.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 246 km/h. While the 'Stage 2' car will hit 250 km/h and take just 6.5 seconds for the sprint to 100 km/h.
Other new tricks will include a new front axle differential lock which promises to sharpen handling and stabilize the effect in load-alteration induced oversteer, and progressive steering which operates with a progressive steering gear ratio reducing steering work when maneuvering, parking and negotiating twisting bends.

Like all six Golf GTI generations before it, the seventh generation concept car being shown in Paris is distinguished from other Golf models by numerous additional equipment features and classic GTI insignia. Overall, the seventh generation Golf is also visually more dynamic than the previous one. The objective of the designers was to develop an even more striking and sporty character into the new Golf GTI - the goal was to give the GTI a lower, wider image with a more challenging character. Volkswagen Design developed numerous individual, detailed solutions for the new Golf GTI and integrated them harmoniously into the overall visual concept. Important here is the fact that the GTI-specific design elements are not simply "add-on" solutions, but are integrated into the overall design of the car. One significant reason for this is that the GTI was designed in parallel to the "normal" Golf - and this made it possible to coordinate perfectly the differentiating characteristics of the two model versions.

At the front end, with its LED fog lights specially customised for the GTI, a powerful and significant GTI element attracts attention, which has now been fully reinterpreted: the red stripe. Another detail fitting in with the precisely contoured styling is the black splitter (lower edge of the front spoiler), which is familiar from motorsport. Also styled in black are the side sills and the rear diffuser. These quasi wrap-around black elements give the Golf, which is equipped with a GTI sport chassis (15 mm lower ride height), an even fuller stance on the road. Another example of the harmonious integration of GTI-specific elements is the new roof spoiler design, which is considerably larger than its counterpart on Golf versions with less powerful engines and which is integrated to be flush with the bootlid and the body. For the first time, the sporty Volkswagen also has - in addition to the GTI badges at the front and rear - red plates on the front wings at the height of the character line with the same typographic interpretation of the GTI logo that has been used for decades.

GTI insignia in the interior. The very first GTI had this feature: seat covers in legendary tartan pattern. The sixth generation Golf GTI used "Jacky" fabric, and in the transition to the new GTI generation this has been redesigned and is now named "Clark". Naturally, the tartan pattern was retained. GTI-specific features refine the standard version interior as well: typical of a Volkswagen Golf GTI are the customised sport steering wheel and a special gear shift grip. The latter is once again reminiscent of a golf ball, which also makes it a tribute to the first GTI just like the new leather-trimmed steering wheel design. The sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel with its three metal spokes and trim in high-gloss black has a lightweight look, and it is remarkably handy and easy to grip. On its two cross spokes it has multifunction keys as standard, and at its centre - in contrast to all other Golf steering wheels - it has a round impact absorber whose form is similar to that of the component in the first GTI.