With the Paris Auto Show quickly approaching, we are awaiting the release of the GTI version of the Golf Mk VII. Unfortunately, VW has been pretty stingy with its information on the upcoming GTI trim, but the sneakiness that is the Internet, has picked up on some images and information on the upcoming Golf VII GTI Concept that is reportedly a near-production version.
We have already received just about all of the information available on the 2013 Golf Mk VII, but this sports edition is one that tuners everywhere seek out. The outgoing GTI is peppy enough, boasting a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that rips off a 0-to-60 sprint in just 7.3 seconds. While that’s no Ferrari, it is pretty sweet for a hatchback that gets 33 mpg on the highway.
With the performance and stylish appearance that the 2013 Golf VII GTI offers up, can VW really do anything to make this compact hatch even more desirable?
Click past the jump to read our full review on the Volkswagen Golf VII GTI to find out.
The first thing you’re going to notice on the outside of the GTI concept is that the headlights are fully revised. Gone are the GTI’s old rounded headlights and VW replaced them with units that are more aggressive and sporty looking. The GTI concept boasts the traditional honeycomb grille with a red line striking through it. The red line stretches beyond the grille and into the all-new Bi-Xenon headlamps. Below the headlamps you get a stylish front lip that boasts louvered vents on each side and a wide honeycomb lower grille. The hood also received some restyling, adding in a set of ridges on each side of it.
At the corners, you get the option of the traditional “Denver,” “Detroit,” or “Glendale” GTI rims in the standard 17-inch size or optional 18-inch size. There is one additional optional wheel, which is the “Brooklyn” style. Down the side of the Concept GTI you’ll find a revised beltline that incorporates the side blinkers on the front fenders.
Around the backside of the GTI, you’ll see some changes too. Just like the headlights, the rounded taillights are gone and in come a set of hard-angled taillight lenses with a light tint, giving the GTI a more aggressive look. Encased in these revised taillight lenses are all-new LED-style lights and the taillights. Poking out from under the slightly revised rear bumper is a pair of chrome-tipped exhaust pipes.
As you can guess, VW’s plan was to take the existing Golf GTI and make it sportier and more aggressive. We think Volkswagen succeeded in pulling this off without completely scrapping the great look that the GTI already had. The “sleeper” look has always been one of the GTI’s greatest assets.
On the inside of the Concept Golf VII GTI, you’ll see the traditional Golf plaid-designed seating, though we are sure this will be, at the most, just an option on the production model. You get a three-spoke GTI steering wheel with a flat bottom, a GTI instrument panel with color displays, and chronograph-style instruments.
The steering wheel boasts what looks to be just about every single control option for the car. We count a total of 14 buttons on the steering wheel’s face, which is way too much. We hope that VW calms that mess down a little bit before releasing the Golf GTI.
For tunes, you get a standard “composite touch” audio system with an SD car reader and auxiliary port. From what we can see of the radio and center stack area, it looks like the majority of the controls will be integrated into the massive touchscreen in the middle of the stack. Beneath and to the sides of the touchscreen are what look to be HVAC and audio controls. Fortunately, it doesn’t look too cluttered in that area, but the screen takes up a lot of space.
Capping off the interior are aluminum pedals and red ambient lighting.
Again, this is only the conception model and the details are not complete. We will add more to the interior following the Paris Auto Show and as VW releases additional information on the actual production Golf VII GTI. With the exception of the clutter on the steering wheel and the oddly large touchscreen, the overall look of the interior is clean and functional. Just like a VW should be.
Engine and Drivetrain
Under the hood, the Golf GTI will see some significant changes for its next generation. The base GTI 2.0-liter TFSI engine has been pumped up to 220 horsepower and 350 Nm (258 foot-pounds) of torque, a 20 horsepower and 51 pound-feet increase over last year’s model. If you opt for the “Performance” package, you get a full 230 horsepower from the 4-pot engine.
All of this increase in power may lead you to think that the GTI will lose a little in the world of fuel economy. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, as its fuel consumption drops from 7.9 l/100km (29.77 mpg) to 6.6 l/100km (35.63 mpg), a very stout improvement.
On top of the mpg improvement, you can expect to see a serious gap between the performance of the 2013 model Golf GTI and the Mk VII Golf GTI. Volkswagen dropped a full 0.7 seconds off of its base 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint, getting it down to 6.6 seconds. If you opt for the “Performance” package, you will see a 0-to-100 km/h time of just 6.5 seconds. The top speed of the base Golf VII GTI will be 246 km/h (152.8 mph) and the “Performance” package will bump this to 250 km/h (155.3 mph).
The transmission and driveline is still a bit of a mystery. We assume that the Mk VII GTI will carry over the base 6-speed manual transmission with the optional automated 6-speed manual. There is no word on whether the GTI will gain AWD in this generation or not… We certainly hope so, but we’re not holding our breath for it.
We’ll get you more info just as soon as we can.
Engine and Driveline Specifications:
2.0-liter 4-cylinder Turbocharged
220 Horsepower (base) and 258 pound-feet of torque
0-to-100 km/h (62 mph)
6.6 seconds (base)
246 km/h (152.8 mph) (base)
6.6 l/100km (35.63 mpg)
Pricing and Release Date
All we know for now is that the MK VII Golf GTI Concept will be debuted in Paris. We understand that this concept is very close to the actual production model and that the model will likely debut for the 2014 model year.
We expect to see a mild bump in the GTI’s base price once this generation hits the market, so expect to see a base MSRP in the $24,000 range.
Since we do not know exactly when the GTI will debut, we cannot give you a full line of its competitors just yet. It does, however, have some stiff competition already.
Its key competitor will be the Ford Focus ST with its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that pumps out 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This gets the Focus ST to 60 mph in only 6.2 seconds – 0.4 seconds faster than the Golf GTI – and it still gets 32 mpg city. To boot, the Focus ST comes in at a reasonable $23,700. This means that the GTI only has its reputation and a slightly more desirable appearance over the oddly shaped Focus ST.
The next competitor will be the Mazdaspeed 3, if it is still around when the Golf Mk VII GTI is released. This beast pumps out 263 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque from its 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. This is enough to get it to 60 mph in only 6.3 seconds – 0.3 seconds quicker than the GTI. The Mazdaspeed 3 does lose out in mpg – 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway – and it draws about even with a $24,000 MSRP. In terms of styling and pedigree, the GTI again pulls away from the competition.
The final competitor is more like an annoying Chihuahua puppy biting at the GTI’s ankles. This is the new Hyundai Veloster Turbo. The Veloster Turbo boasts a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that pumps out 201 horsepower and gets the compact hatchback to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. The Veloster is significantly slower than the GTI and doesn’t handle nearly as well, but keep in mind that it is only in its first model year. By time the next-gen GTI hits the market, Hyundai will have had enough time to iron out the Veloster’s wrinkles. Will it even be as fast from the factory as the GTI? No, but at a base price of $21,950 and a modern look that makes the new GTI look dated, it may be a good option. Think of what you can do with that extra $2,000 you would save over a new GTI.
The new Golf GTI looks awesome and the power increases put it back near the top of its class. The Focus ST and Mazdaspeed 3 are still significantly faster and better priced. With the GTI, however, you get that Volkswagen pedigree and a car that you know has a driveline that’s been put to the test throughout the years. Also, the GTI is just sexier than either the Focus ST or Mazdaspeed 3, in our opinion.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal preference.
Nice changes without overdoing it
Great power increases
The GTI returns to performance relevance
Still slower than its competitors
Kind of bland, as usual
Not an official production model yet