If you’re a fan of hot hatchbacks, here’s some good news: the world will see the introduction of the Mk VII VW GTI at the Geneva Motor Show, with European sales beginning this May.
Buyers across the pond can opt for the “normal” 2.0-liter engine, which will make 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, or they can check the box next to the “Performance Pack” option which bumps output to 230 hp. The Performance Pack also includes bigger brakes and a torque-sensing limited-slip differential, and we’re fairly certain that Volkswagen will allow less-litigation-happy European customers the ability to deactivate the stability control system for track day fun.
The GTI will again be offered with a six-speed manual transmission or the six-speed, dual-clutch DSG unit. Either is a superb choice, and it really comes down to how much of a purist the buyer is. The six-speed manual will return better fuel economy, but the DSG gearbox will result in quicker lap times.
Outside, the new GTI’s sleeker styling is enhanced by narrower headlights and taillights, 17-inch “Brooklyn” wheels (though 18-inch wheels will probably be offered here) and a body kit that includes side skirts, a roof spoiler and a rear diffuser. Inside, plaid cloth is back on base models (and that’s a good thing), but it looks like VW has modified what used to be the best steering wheel in the entire automotive industry. Look for the new GTI to get red accent stitching, a unique instrument cluster and stainless steel pedals, too.
Volkswagen claims a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 153 mph on standard models, with the Performance Pack shaving 1/10 of a second to 60 mph and adding 2 mph to the top speed. While these are European specifications, you can likely expect similar performance from U.S. spec cars.
And that’s where the bad news comes in. Since VW will build North America GTIs in Mexico, we’ve still got a while to wait on these shores. There’s no definitive word on when the new GTI will go on sale here, but we expect it won’t hit U.S. dealers before 2014.