AW Cover Story - 2006 Volkswagen GTI

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Dead, Solid, Perfect: Fifth-Generation GTI Redefines the Hot Hatch

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    ROGER HART
    Published Date: 10/18/04

    Funny how plans change in the car business. When Volkswagen introduced the high-performance GTI version of its compact Golf hatchback, only 5000 cars were made in what was termed a "limited edition." But those 5000 models of Grand Tourisme Injection in 1976 spawned 1.5 million more in subsequent years. The fifth-generation GTI, available now in Europe and due here next fall, will further cement the car’s sporty reputation.

    The new GTI, unveiled at the Frankfurt show last year as a concept, made its official debut two weeks ago in Paris. We sampled pre-production three-door GTIs (it also comes as a five-door) on a drive from the factory in Wolfsburg to the Paris show, over a variety of roads.

    VW’s design team looked back nearly 30 years to the first GTI for inspiration, picking up both exterior and interior cues from GTI No. 1, including a black grille with red frame strip, and plaid fabric seats. Groovy.

    While paying tribute to the past, this new car takes full advantage of VW’s high-tech goodies; namely, a potent, direct-injected (T-FSI) 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder that makes 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. The engine has a wide powerband, delivering maximum torque at 1800 rpm all the way up to 5000 rpm (redline is 6500). Special attention was paid to tuning the exhaust note to sound meaty at the command of your right foot.

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    Fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox, the GTI will go from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.2 seconds. Top speed is 150 mph. While we did not sample versions fitted with VW’s Direct Shift Gearbox, the company claims even quicker times: 0 to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds, in automatic mode.

    We found while driving on twisty two-lanes near the Nürburgring that we could leave the car in third gear, accelerating from tight, 25-mph corners up to 80 mph with no lugging. Of course it is much more fun to work through the six-speed gearbox. The clutch feels heavier than we have experienced in other VWs, but the takeup is spot-on and the stiffly sprung shifter is fun to use, with precise gear engagements. We also found no turbo lag and no torque steer.

    Inside, the GTI continues VW’s reputation for outstanding interiors that are comfortable, pleasant to look at and efficient. The thick, three-spoke steering wheel feels like an aftermarket unit, with its flat bottom and slightly out-of-round shape. We found numerous comfortable positions with which to grip the wheel on long driving stretches. The wheel hosts redundant radio and phone controls.

    The instrument cluster is housed in a binnacle that matches the top radius of the steering wheel, with a large circular tachometer and speedometer. Smaller round gauges report fuel level and water temperature. The chrome-trimmed gauges brighten the interior as do the aluminum trim pieces used throughout, making a nice contrast to the dark gray interior.

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    The car is outfitted with trick items like a honeycomb grille with red surround strip, and aftermarket-like steering wheel.

    Order the navigation system, and its infotainment screen dominates the center stack, so the six-disc CD changer is fitted into the center console. Cars without nav systems get six-disc changers in the dash.

    We found those plaid fabric seats comfortable and supportive, with good side bolstering. The new seats have high backrests and adjustable headrests. Leather will be optional, and so will a more serious sport seat.

    This GTI’s suspension has been lowered 15 millimeters from the current version, with struts up front and a rear multilink axle, with thicker antiroll bars. The ride is firm, but more compliant than in an R32. Dive, squat and roll are also handled better than in the R32.
    Much attention has been paid to programming the electromechanical servo driving the power steering, and it shows. The system feels amazingly like a traditional hydraulic rack-and-pinion system, nicely weighted with a precise feel on turn-in. The car was rock-solid stable on the autobahn as we approached its terminal velocity.

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    Brakes on the GTI are outstanding, as we found out several times, easily hauling the car down from warp speed to a more pedestrian gait with no drama. Ventilated 12.2-inch-diameter discs are fitted up front, 11.2-inch discs are in the back. ABS is standard, as are the big red calipers showing through the all-new GTI-specific 17-inch wheels (18-inchers are optional), which add to the sporty look.

    GTIs come standard with ESP that, much like systems in BMWs and Porsches, allows for a degree of wheelspin before stepping in. On a rather spirited drive in rain showers through the Eifel Mountains in western Germany, we noticed the system engaging only by the dash indicator; we never felt a loss of power. You have to get really out of sorts before the system takes control. You can turn it off, but in dicey weather especially, it’s nice having such a non-obtrusive nanny looking over your shoulder.

    The true spirit of the car comes out while pushing hard through corners, or when moving into the left lane on the autobahn. It’s a runner that can stand up to all but the most powerful ’bahn burners in Europe. In all our time driving the GTI, we looked hard to find something we didn’t like about it. From the exterior design, which is simple yet readily distinguishable from its Golf brethren, to the excellent interior design, the road handling and performance, it’s all good.

    GTI has grown up a bit since its introduction, most noticeably in the curb weight differences: 2928 today compared with 1808 in 1976, but you could argue you’re getting substantially more car, too, especially in the safety area, with the addition of ABS, ESP and six airbags.

    None of those first 5000 GTIs were officially sold here, as the nameplate didn’t arrive in the United States until 1983 with the second-generation car. Since then, sales have grown to a point where more GTIs are sold in the States than Golfs. Volkswagen of America officials want to sell about 17,500 GTIs—all built at the Wolfsburg plant—which shouldn’t be a problem if they can deliver the car at the target price of $23,000.

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    2006 VOLKSWAGEN GTI

    ON SALE: (Now in Europe) Late fall 2005 in U.S.
    BASE PRICE: $23,000 (est.)
    POWERTRAIN: 2.0-liter, 200-hp, 207-lb-ft turbocharged I4; fwd, six-speed manual
    CURB WEIGHT: 2928 pounds
    0 to 62 MPH: 7.2 seconds (mfr.)


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  2. baboymo

    baboymo Have you been circumcised?

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    :cool:

    I might trade in my MKIII for one of those.
     
  3. hypermonkey

    hypermonkey Tastes just like raisins.

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    I like it ... too bad it's going to be bastardized for the US market.
     
  4. Nyce

    Nyce .

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    that is ugly.
     
  5. chizzle

    chizzle New Member

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    I like 'em...I liked the mkiv too, I'd take either one.
     
  6. B17A

    B17A Now with more ///M

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    Looks (in profile) a lot like my '02 Si.
     
  7. Dismay

    Dismay Elitist Prick OT Supporter

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    That is nice
     
  8. ugopk

    ugopk New Member

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    looks like a pretty good car :bigthumb:
     
  9. NFS7

    NFS7 Shit, it burns!

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    :werd: thats nice but i will never get another VW again after the mockery that is teh MK4. :mamoru:

    G35C or Acura TL next :eek3:
     
  10. hypermonkey

    hypermonkey Tastes just like raisins.

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    Hopefully they'll still be making teh 350Z and/or S2000 when I'm getting a new car :embd:
     
  11. frinky23

    frinky23 Bangle Sackrider

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    Wait just one second...

    Did they say that all the new GTIs will be built in Wolfsburg??? :eek3:
     
  12. Moscowmetro

    Moscowmetro New Member

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    the Koln shot is hot... It looks quick. I want one.
     
  13. SpeedyGST

    SpeedyGST Guest

    bring over the opel astra!!!!
     
  14. NFS7

    NFS7 Shit, it burns!

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    S2000 would be nice as fuck if they updated it :x:
     
  15. iZero

    iZero Guest

    $23,000 :greddy:
     
  16. mugenprelude

    mugenprelude Guest

    thats pretty hot :big grin:
     
  17. GregFarz78

    GregFarz78 New Member

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    Still an overpriced pile of shit VW :greddy:
     
  18. tobagator

    tobagator But see drugs and plastic thugs, ain't gon change

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    looks like the new audi s3
     
  19. erynne936

    erynne936 my av is a car, but i'm a girl. stop calling me b OT Supporter

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    :wackit: im trading in my mk4 tdi for one.
     
  20. frinky23

    frinky23 Bangle Sackrider

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    Not if they build it in Wolfsburg :eek3:
     
  21. VicenteFox

    VicenteFox Does your mother still hang out at dockside bars?

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    23k sounds steep, that is mini cooper territory.
     
  22. hypermonkey

    hypermonkey Tastes just like raisins.

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    I'll be happy with either :wiggle:
     
  23. Dr. Woo

    Dr. Woo Guns don't kill people

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    Dr. Pichetsrieder himself said the Mk IV was a disaster and the only reason that the GTI is still around is because of enthusiasts. He says it was a mockery of the heritage. His exact words:

    "The Golf GTI (MkIV) was a joke. We had an icon, and we managed to completely kill it. If it hadn't been for the fans of the old GTI, and their clubs and meetings, the icon would've disappeared completely..."

    They're serious about a REAL GTI.
     
  24. weezerfan

    weezerfan New Member

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    :rofl: at turbo 2 liter making 200hp
     
  25. Dr. Woo

    Dr. Woo Guns don't kill people

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    And the STEERING WHEEL...

    I seriously want one.
     

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