The GTI was previewed with a concept car at the 2008 Paris auto show, and we are pleased to report that VW executives were truthful when they told us the concept was 99-percent true to the series production model. The only things that may differ from the Paris concept are minor interior trim details.
The new GTI comes with the current model’s 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four, but it is upgraded to 210 hp from 200. That’s not class-leading, but smooth power delivery in a well-tuned package has made the GTI one of our favorites for years. It even made its third consecutive appearance on our 10Best list in 2009, despite the imminent model changeover.
While U.S. models will likely stay governed at 130 mph, the GTI is capable of speeds up to 149 mph. We expect 0–60 times in the upper fives. Buyers will be able to choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that blips the throttle ever so sweetly on downshifts. We will give you first driving impressions of the new GTI in early March, and the European market will be served shortly thereafter. The U.S. will get the GTI in late 2009, in both three- and five-door configurations.
Source: Car and Driver