Hot hatch down to a tee

Bobby Cheetham

THE first hot hatch launched in South Africa in 1982 has been a phenomenal success. With 59500 units of the Volkswagen Golf GTI sold, it set the benchmark for others that followed.

So it was with interest that World of Wheels was able to get to grips with the new Golf 7 GTI.

And boy, how the GTI has changed since 1982 is quite staggering! The first model’s engine produced 81kW. Now it delivers 162kW (torque 350Nm) – double the power of the first version.

The 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged direct injection is from the third generation of the EA888 engine series and has a completely new cylinder head, says Volkswagen.

The boffins at VW worked their magic and a unique feature is the water-cooled exhaust gas circulation loop to the turbocharger that is fully integrated in the cylinder head. This cooling improves fuel consumption at full load.

VW says the benefits of BlueMotion Technology are evident in the combined fuel consumption value of 6.0 l/100km (CO2: 139g/km).

Fuel consumption was reduced by 1.3 litres (7.3l/100km) compared to the previous model (155kW). Fitted with the optional six-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG), consumption is 6.4l/100km (148g/km CO2), an improvement of 1.0l/100km (7.4l/ 100km).

The car is also equipped with a stop/start system to improve fuel economy.

Be that as it may, I don’t like stop/start systems in any car and it’s the first thing I turn off. I find it a pain in the butt to have the engine switch off and start itself in stop/start conditions.

I fear it’s another one of those gadgets manufacturers are forced to adopt because of increasing pressure from the eco-warriors.

And while in the nit-picking mood let me mention that there are those who say the new GTI looks pretty much like the model it replaces.

On the road the new GTI handles like a dream and lacks little in the performance and general driving dynamics department.

The new GTI accelerates to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 246km/h (244km/h: DSG).

In fourth gear, it accelerates from 80 to 120km/h in 5.0 seconds; in fifth gear, it takes 6.0 seconds – not too shabby!

Volkswagen has once again hit the jackpot with the new GTI.

It follows on the VW tradition of producing a hot hatch for the masses yet retains an exclusivity not achieved by many of its competitors!

Prices: 2.0 TSI 162kW Manual R368300; 2.0 TSI 162kW DSG R382800.

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