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VolksWagen GTI

The Golf VII GTI is the latest in the legendary GTI line from VW. The latest version does not seem markedly different from the VI, so what’s the big hype about?

Well, the new shape has a softer and somewhat sophisticated look to it, with its smoothened edges and perfectly fit panels that have almost no gaps between them. The new headlight aka the front end looks more like the Golf’s smaller sibling the Polo. The front  bumper now has side grills that partially cover the front fog lights.This makes it look like the car has large air intakes for the front brakes, but it’s just a design feature. Apart from the bumper enhancements the GTI is differentiated from the normal Golfs in that there is a red strip just below the grill that runs through the headlights, adding a sporty look. For the first time the GTi is now also easily distinguishable from other Golfs from the rear. This is due to the GTI having LED rear lights that have the indicator and reverse lights forming a sort of white line dividing the rear lights, and the now familiar single exhaust pipes on either side have been kept. Finally the new VII GTI has new mag wheels, which I think was long overdue as the previous five-hole mags were on both the Golf V and Vi Gtis.

Inside the car feels roomier than the VI and the new steering wheel with its squared off bottom reminds one of the original GTI wheel with its small centre hub. The dashboard is in keeping with the exterior’s sophisticated style and has soft edges and is perfectly fitted. The new touch-screen infotainment system is a big improvement on the previous one and is extremely easy to use. The leather seats are supportive and look amazing.

On the road the car has a surprisingly soft ride and thanks to the optional stability control fitted on the test vehicle this could be firmed up at the touch of a button, for when you hit the track. The heart of the vehicle is the engine and I must say, what an engine! It is smooth and ultra-responsive, and mated with the DSG gearbox it makes for a perfectly sophisticated hot hatch.

In my view the Golf VII GTI is a grown-up version of the original version, with a more mature look that will not only attract the young but the young at heart as well. So well done to VW for once again raising the bar in the hot hatch segment. And for those of you who still want the all-out hot hatch without the sophistication or poise of the Golf GTI, there is the Polo GTI. What a brilliant way for VW to extend the legendary name plate of the GTI. ❐

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Engine: 2.0l 4 Cylinder Turbo

Power: 162KW

Torque: 350Nm

0-100km/h: 6.5 (Claimed)

Fuel Consumption: Average 6.4l/100km

CO2: 148 g/km

Price: From R383 100,00

Author: Azim Omar CA(SA) is a member of SAGMJ.