VW Golf GTI VI Concept

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

Technically VW is calling it a concept, but expect the sixth generation GTI to be almost identical to the version unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. Looking quite similar to the mark V GTI, the VI sports a familiar turbo 2.0-liter engine. Power has been increased marginally, to 210hp (versus 200 on the outgoing model) and torque remains steady at 207 ft-lbs at 1800 rpm. This is good, says VW, for a 0-62 mph sprint of 7.2 seconds.

So, you might be asking yourself… what IS new on the “new” GTI?

For starters, the GTI VI will get an electronic LSD as a part of the ESP stability control system. Both systems will combine to make the GTI a safer and faster car.

Dynamic chassis control (DCC), which adjusts the vehicle’s shock sensitivity, will also be an option. The DCC system will have several settings, including Normal, Comfort and Sport, which can be chosen by the driver through a button on the dash. While it hasn’t been confirmed, we expect the DCC system to also adjust the throttle and steering sensitivity – as it does on other VW/Audi models.

As expected, the typical “plaid” interior will come standard. The interior will, however, receive a significant update with plenty of switches and buttons, including the climate control system, coming directly from the Passat CC.

Official press release after the jump:

Golf GTI VI Concept

Volkswagen starts countdown for sixth generation of Golf GTI

GTI concept car with completely new design forges link to original GTI

Turbo engine with 210 PS consumes just 7.5 liters and delivers 240 km/h
Wolfsburg / Paris, 01 October 2008

The first Golf GTI wrote automotive history with design and performance that were unequaled at that time; it was launched in 1976. In 2004, the fifth GTI made a comeback that was more powerful than ever. From the debut of the first generation through production runout of the fifth generation, more than 1.7 million buyers made the GTI a world’s bestseller. Following now is a new GTI, sharper and more impressive than any of the others before it. A GTI whose chassis has redefined curves and traction with its new electronic transverse lock system (XDS). A 240 km/h fast GTI that is even more fun with its 155 kW / 210 PS strong turbo engine and consumes just 7.5 liters per 100 kilometers. A GTI that consistently transfers the tradition of the original version into the future. At the Paris Motor Show (October 04 to 19, 2008) Volkswagen is showing the first concept car of this new Golf GTI in a world premiere. A concept that will make people yearn for more. For Spring 2009. That is when the sixth Golf GTI will go into production.

When car drivers are asked why they purchased a GTI, they first mention the car’s exterior design, followed by its overall performance, i.e. the combination of a sporty chassis and an agile engine. Precisely these two aspects – design and performance – were rearranged by the Generation VI development crew to bring the character of the sports car into even greater harmony with the original formula of the GTI. And that means: clear design plus pure dynamics. No more, no less.

And because the Golf GTI is no ordinary car – it is also an automotive perspective on the world – it is worth taking a look at the facts behind the “GTI phenomenon”: the Golf GTI is the global market leader in the high-performance section of its class. The same holds true in Europe and Germany. 80 percent of buyers are men, and six out of ten of them are married. 70 percent of all GTI drivers have more than one car, have no children and are under 50 years of age (average age is 39). 78 percent of new customers always wanted to drive a GTI sometime. Volkswagen also asked the GTI drivers about their dream car. The key phrase here: if money were no object. And the response was truly resounding: for nearly 30 percent the GTI would be their first choice, even if they had all of the money in the world. An extraordinary com­pliment. Incidentally, taking places 2 and 3 of this hit list were the Porsche 911 and the Audi R8.

Actually, it was the “Golf GTI 132 kW” (that was the exact name) which really set the era of charged GTI engines into motion. The 132-kW / 180-PS version was introduced as a limited edition (3,000 units) in 2001, on the occasion of the GTI’s 25th birthday. Although there had already been a 150-PS turbo, it still didn’t have the “bite” of the birthday version. When the fifth Golf GTI was introduced, an entirely new turbo four-cylinder was employed that output 147 kW / 200 PS. On the 30th birthday of the GTI, this was followed by a 169 kW / 230 PS strong turbo engine in the Golf GTI Edition 30.

At precisely 155 kW / 210 PS, the power of the TSI of the Paris concept car lies between the power of the last production GTI and that of the 30-year edition. Especially when it comes to fuel economy and emissions, despite its first-class performance characteristics the new car passes the two other engines right up. To be specific, the concept car’s 2.0 TSI is satisfied with just 7.5 liters fuel per 100 kilometers on average. Fuel consumption on the 200-PS GTI was 8.0 liters, and the 230-PS GTI came in at 8.2 liters. At 178 g/km, the new engine also puts itself in the limelight when it comes to CO2 emissions. Of course, the concept car – if it were to be registered as a production vehicle today – would also fulfill the Euro-5 emissions standard.

There’s progress here – GTI driving performance

So much for the topic of efficiency. The concept car also masters another criterion perfectly, which – after its visual appearance – is the most important for all GTI buyers: performance. The engine – like its predecessor – already develops its maximum torque of 280 Newton­-meters at a low 1,800 rpm. After 7.2 seconds the car has completed its sprint from 0 to 100 km/h. And a standoff is not reached between air resistance and power until 240 km/h. By the way, the first Golf GTI in 1976 had a power of 81 KW / 110 PS and a top speed of 182 km/h.

GTI chassis on the same level as high-performance sports cars

The concept car of the sixth Golf GTI is equipped with a sport chassis lowered by 22 millimeters. Springs, dampers and rear stabilizers were completely re-tuned. At work in front is the familiar MacPherson suspension with helical springs and telescoping shock absorbers. In the rear the GTI concept car also has an innovative multilink rear suspension, which ensures that the ESP system seldom needs to go into action.

For the first time on a Volkswagen, the XDS integrated electronic limited-slip differential is being integrated as a standard feature of ESP functionality. It significantly improves the GTI’s traction and handling properties.

Moreover, this much is certain: DCC dynamic chassis control will also be available as an option on the future GTI. It continually reacts to the roadway and driving situation and adjusts the damper characteristic accordingly – with the goal of advancing comfort and dynamics significantly. During acceleration, braking and steering processes, chassis damping is stiffened in fractions of a second to optimally fulfill vehicle dynamic requirements and reduce pitch and roll motions.

Besides the “Normal” program with its moderate base setting for damping – DCC on the Golf GTI also offers the “Sport” and “Comfort” modes so that drivers can adapt the system’s behavior to their own wishes. These modes are activated by a button on the center console.

The new Golf GTI concept car was created by Walter de’Silva (Director, Group Design), Klaus Bischoff (Director, Brand Design) and Marc Lichte (Director, Ex­terior Design). And the car that the team realized together here does great credit to the first GTI. “We wanted a consistently clear GTI design, a car that has power, but style as well”, is how Walter de’Silva sums it up. “Also cast in stone was the goal of taking on the character of the first GTI a bit more”, says Klaus Bischoff. “And therefore, it was also established that – with the exception of the aerodynamically important rear spoiler – the new GTI would not have a single exterior add-on, unlike the usual practice in this segment”, emphasizes Marc Lichte. And that is good.

Wide, powerful GTI front end

A brief retrospective: the first GTI generation exhibited a consistent horizontal alignment of elements in the radiator mask plus headlamps area. The red grille surround is legendary. That made the original GTI look wider than it actually was. But it shared this basic design concept with lower-powered Golf versions. Generation V of the GTI, on the other hand, intentionally set itself apart from its less powerful counterparts. That is why – over five years ago – the team led by Lichte chose a black, high-gloss grille in V form. Since that time, any child could recognize it as a GTI. The sixth generation concept car being presented in Paris now melds stylistic elements of both of these GTI icons. Details such as the typical honeycomb radiator screen, and the V-shaped engine hood extending over the headlights, are contributions of the GTI V. The clear horizontal alignment, meanwhile, definitely originates from the GTI I.

The entire bumper plus radiator grille and headlight interior are a new creation. The outer grille painted in high-gloss black is flat again; a red stripe frames it at the top and bottom. To the left of the VW logo there is a GTI signature (from the first through the third generation it was always on the right).

On the level beneath, a narrow panel in car color extends crosswise. Toward the rear, near each of the headlights, this strip flares outward. At the center of the lowermost section there is another air inlet that is very large. Toward the outside, it transitions to three cross beams, left and right, that look like gills, which end in the visually dominant fog lights that are arranged upright, or on edge. The plastic surfaces in the area of the gills are always painted in anthracite-metallic color, so that their contours do not disappear into a black hole. The fog lights – located extremely far outboard – draw the lower section of the bumper further outward than ever before. This stylistic touch and the basically horizontal graphic styling of the front end gives the Golf GTI concept car a visual appearance that is wider (1.78 meter), lower (1.47 meter) and more dynamic than any other car of this class. A genuine GTI that can be recognized as such from five kilometers away.

Stylish GTI side profile

The sides of the GTI concept car are dominated by a very prominent character line that is drawn from the headlights to the taillights. Resting on this line – modeled as a muscular shoulder in the rear – is the roof. These proportions give the Golf GTI a lot of visual energy.

In its side profile, it is the bumpers extending far outboard and the unique form of the door sills that make this concept car a GTI. The Golf GTI V had black sills set above the actual longitudinal beams, which extended from one wheel well to the other. The sills of the concept car are also black – but that is where the commonalities end. The aerody­namically sensible sills on the new car do not extend the full length, and this gives them a considerably more refined appearance and make the car appear lighter. The highly polished 18-inch “Denver” type classic alloy wheels make a more powerful impression too. Different than on the Golf GTI V, the five U-shaped openings are not painted gray, rather in a black piano paint look. The chances of this – as well as many other details of the concept car – going into production are great.

Rear of a GTI

There is hardly a rear section that is so unmistakable as that of the Golf GTI concept car being presented in Paris. Here too the wide bumper was completely redesigned. Directly beneath it is a black diffuser that generates added downforce at the rear axle. Two chrome tailpipes of the exhaust system are integrated on the outside, on the left and right sides.

Also redesigned was the roof-edge spoiler. The new rear spoiler now perfects the car’s orientation to the road at very high speeds in cooperation with the diffuser. Since the rear spoiler is larger than its counterpart used on the “normal” Golf, it extends further into the rear window and makes it flatter and wider visually; yet it does not impair the driver’s view.

Interior in traditional GTI style

Naturally, the concept car is equipped with sport seats, and logically they are upholstered with a special checked-pattern fabric (“Jacky”). Naturally, the instruments have a unique look, naturally the concept car has aluminum pedals, naturally an aluminum-leather gearshift lever, naturally a leather steering wheel and leather parking brake lever, naturally the steering wheel has red decorative seams. Naturally. Because this Golf concept car is a GTI.

The basic design of the concept car’s interior is oriented toward the new production Golf. With its luxurious surfaces and features, the GTI too eliminates class distinctions – both tactile and visual. The car’s quality and layout of materials – details such as brushed chrome accents and the round instruments and steering wheels derived from the Passat CC – all leave the impression that one is actually driving in a car of the next higher market segment or far more expensive sports car.

The interior ergonomics makes its appearance in a further developed form too. All functional controls are easier to operate. These include controls presented for the first time on the Passat CC on the automatic climate control system (Climatronic), the new RNS 310 radio-navigation system with touchscreen and power window switches now located further forward in the door panels, making them easier to reach. More precise specifications for the GTI will follow as soon as the concept car has been transformed into a production version.

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. Find Colum on <a href="http://www.google.com">Twitter.</a>

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