Volkswagen UK recently published a press release highlighting the 33 year of Golf GTi history, which makes interesting reading. I thought this could form the basis of our latest Retrospective piece, on the original hot hatch.
Golf GTi Mk1 1977-1984.
If you are old enough, cast your mind back to 1975! The Giorgetto Giugiaro designed Golf GTi is launched at the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show with a 1600cc 110PS engine. One of the first ever hot hatches (there had been others such as the Renault 5 Gordini, but this moved the goalposts) . The UK market had to wait until 1977 before it received its first Left Hand drive vehicles. The car was available in right hand drive the following year. The car was a instant world wide hit.
Other manufactures rushed hot hatches to the market place. This was the GTi in its purist form.
To clarify, in Europe, the car has always been known as the Golf GTi
and is an integral part of the Golf range. In North America, the GTi is used as a model in its own
Golf GTi Mk2 1984-1992.
The second generation Golf GTi was launched in 1984. Visually a bigger car, the Giugiaro proposal was passed over and an internal design was used. The Giugiaro design later appeared in a modified form as the first generation SEAT Ibiza. (obviously thats not in the VW press release LOL!)
Initially, an 8v 1800cc version was available. Europe also saw the 5 door hatchback version offered. Later in its life a 16Valve version was introduced. In 1989, a facelifted 'big-bumper' update was introduced, shown above.. Many owners upgraded their cars to the big bumper version.
Golf GTi Mk3 1992-1996.
The third Generation Golf grew in size again. In Europe, a new 2 Litre engine was introduced in 8 Valve and 16 Valve form. As before, this was available in 3 door and 5 door form. European cars had subtle black fender extensions, missing on North American built cars.
Golf GTi Mk4 1998-2004
The Golf range moved further upmarket with the fourth generation in 1998. This generation also saw new range of engines during its lifetime including the introduction of the 150PS Pumpe Diesel. Volkswagen introduced their first high performance 'R' range model, the R32.
Golf GTi Mk5 2004-2008
The Fifth Generation was introduced in Europe in 2004, but North America would have to wait until the end of 2005. In Europe, the GTi was available in Petrol and Diesel forms. A new 2 litre T-FSI engine was introduced with a six speed gearbox. Subtle design cues from the original GTi were introduced including Tartan interior, GTi font and red keyline around the grille.
The R32 would also be available in this body style, but the ultimate Golf would be the W12 Design study which was powered by a 6 Litre 650PS W12 engine. This car also gave some visual clues to the new Volkswagen design language seen on the latest Scirocco and new Golf.
Golf GTi Mk6 2009
The Sixth Generation of the Golf GTi was displayed at Paris Motor Show in Concept form. The new car was shown with the 2000cc T-FSI powerplant giving out 210 PS with a top speed of 148mph.
Expect production versions to also have the all-important TDI engine. The front of the car shows Volkswagen's new design language, which is similar to the Scirocco.
The red keyline on the grille and Telephone dial wheels hark back to earlier Golf GTi models. The new GTi will be in production in Europe in early 2009. No indication on when North American sales will begin.
Note: Specifications relate to UK market