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 |  Mar 23 2009, 11:52 AM

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The sixth generation GTI is set to launch any day now in Germany and Volkswagen has just released some (but not all) of the details on Germany’s hottest hatch. Not only does it get a new look and more powerful engine but is also comes with several new innovations and has been built with the input of legendary racer Hans-Joachim Stuck – a confessed GTI-freak.

“Even when I was under contract with BMW, I preferred to drive to the Nürburgring in a GTI,” said Stuck. “It was in a GTI that I drove 911 drivers to distraction on the North Loop. My wife was even driving
a GTI when she first caught my attention.”

The new GTI continues to use the 2.0-liter TFSI engine but with a slight bump in power to 210 ps (207hp). All that power is available as early as 5300 rpm and stays on full until 6200 rpm. Max torque is rates at 206.5 ft-lbs and comes on at just 1700 rpm. “In practice, this means impressive power in all of life’s situations,” say Stuck.

This is enough, says VW, for the 2010 GTI to accelerate to 62 mph in just 6.9 seconds. Top speed is 150 mph.

VW also made sure to make the revised engine more fuel efficient with an average fuel economy rating of 32.2 mpg. To give this perspective, the fifth generation GTI was capable of 31.4.

There is, however, more to the performance improvements in the new GTI than just more power. For starters, Stuck helped in completely redesigning the suspension of the car. The springs, shocks and rear stabilizer bar have all been completely reworked for a better handling car. The GTI also sits lower than the standard Golf, by 22mm up front and 15mm in the rear.

Add to this the fact that the GTI VI gets Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), allowing the shocks to continuously react to the road conditions and driver’s inputs to provide the best suspension for that moment. The shocks will even adjust according  to acceleration, braking and steering inputs to stiffen the suspension in fractions of a second, reducing pitch and roll in the chassis.

The DCC system also lets driver’s choose the sort of driving characteristic they want by opting for a “Normal,” “Sport,” or “Comfort” setting.

The DCC system “produces an ideal synthesis of great comfort and excellent handling properties in the GTI,” says Stuck. “There are of course many sporty cars that are simply too stiff. Yet this one is always right.”

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An additional technological advancement found in the sixth-generation GTI is what VW calls XDS – or an electronic transverse differential lock. What this system does is apply a slight amount of brakes to an inside wheel that has begun to slip while cornering. This slows the inside wheel to a rotational speed similar to the outside wheel and thereby provides maximum grip. VW says this system makes the GTI feel more like an all-wheel drive car than a front wheel drive car.

“XDS gives the car an enormous measure of driving stability. And it leads to greater driving enjoyment, since it reduces understeering,” says Stuck. “Experienced sports car drivers will be much more active underway. Yet, XDS is a very important safety feature for normal drivers too, because they will not experience any unpleasant surprises with the GTI.”

Other highlights offered on the new GTI are Adaptive Cruise control, bi-xenon headlights with 13 degrees of movement and a second generation of VW’s Park Assist, which, like the well-known (and much maligned) Lexus system will help a driver parallel park. Drivers just need to operate the gas and brake (as well as the clutch in manual transmission cars) and the car will do the rest. The new system has been improved to allow for parking in tighter spaces, with just 3.6 feet on either side of the car, down from 4.6 feet on the previous generation.

Add all this together with a new look (including a new twin-pipe exhaust design) and a stunning VW interior and the 2010 GTI is a complete package no matter what the road ahead looks like.

“The new GTI succeeds in bridging the gap between a serious business car during the
work week, and a competitor on the Nürburgring on the weekend,” says Stuck.

GALLERY: 2010 Volkswagen GTI

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More on the new GTI after the jump:

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