EuroSport Tuning is offering a free GTI poster download that illustrates the evolution of VW’s famous hot hatch. Created in a minimalist style, the poster combines the GTI’s unmistakable profile with specs about each generation.
“The amazing thing about the GTI is how little Volkswagen has changed the design of the car over the years,” says Frank Derks, parts manager at EuroSport Tuning. “They’ve made a few style adjustments and improved the aerodynamics to better match ongoing performance enhancements, but there is still no mistaking the profile of a GTI. It’s iconic.”
The first GTI was introduced in the late 70s or early 80s, depending on your side of the pond. With a 90-hp 1.8-liter version of VW’s I4, it was a lightweight champion, hitting 0-60 in 10.6 seconds. Sport seats were added to the interior to enhance the comfortable, stable ride atop wider wheels and Pirelli tires. The once sensible Golf had entered the realm of “performance.”
The MkII grew. During this iteration, the car went from subcompact to compact. The wheelbase, overall length, and width of the car increased, and yet the curb weight was reduced. By 1987, the GTI had a new DOHC, 16-valve version of the 1.8-liter I4 with 120 horses that did 0-60 in 2.1 seconds less than its predecessor.
“The first two generations of GTIs were affordable, perfect for drivers who needed reliability but also wanted performance,” Derks says. “When the MkIII arrived for 1995, the price increased dramatically. Sure, that year’s base model had a 2.8-liter V6 with some impressive horsepower but $10,000 more than the previous GTI?”
The MkIV GTI reverted to only a trim option in Europe but received an engine overhaul in the States. Of course, the US had to wait until the 1999 model year to receive the new GTI. The new 2.0-liter I4 was placed in the 1999 base models until VW replaced it with a 20-valve, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the middle of the 2000 model year. This makes a true 1999 GTI a rare find.
The 2006 model year brought dramatic changes. A hood that sloped and contoured into the headlights was a standout design change to the exterior of the MkV, and the 2.0-liter I4 base engine supplied 197 horsepower. Despite a 371-pound weight increase, this “hot hatch” went from standing still to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds.
For the 2010 model year, VW added the XDS electronic differential and three-stage ACC adjustable dampers to smooth the ride even more. The MkVI base model gained horses, bringing it to 200-hp, and some red striping and an integrated chin spoiler made the front end smile.
The MkVII increased horsepower, and reduced the 0-60 time to 5.9 seconds. The compact also runs the 1/4 mile in 14.2 seconds. According to VW’s media site, it’s been named “best” fill-in-the-blank-here car by respected auto publications for the past few years. Car guys drive it. It remains a safe, reasonably priced car for anyone, and a performance-focused drive for enthusiasts.
EuroSport Tuning was founded in 2000 by tuning enthusiast and amateur racer Frank Derks. EuroSport Tuning provides distinctive products, knowledgeable advice, and service tailored to gear heads. They sell only brands they believe in and parts they’d put in their own cars.
Learn more at http://www.eurosporttuning.com/