2006 Volkswagen GTI Finally to US
Text & Photos courtesy of Volkswagen AG
The launch of the all-new GTI promises Volkswagen’s return to the purity of its ground-breaking sports car concept hatchback, and offers enthusiasts a modern and dynamic extension of the automaker’s original hot-hatch approach that essentially spurred a new car class.
More than 30 years ago in Europe, Volkswagen launched the GTI and in 1983 this model arrived in the U.S. as the first affordable, German engineered, “pocket rocket,” a term of endearment from enthusiasts of affordable German performance and one that best describes the unique character of the original car that combined a nimble and spirited Teutonic driving experience with a strong value for the money and perhaps just as importantly the everyday practicality of a hatchback.
Volkswagen purists have anticipated this fifth generation GTI since its critically acclaimed European launch in mid-year 2005 and are prepared to test this model’s sports credentials that include the high-tech, 200 horsepower 2.0T four-cylinder engine, a new fully independent, sports-tuned suspension—a first for the GTI—a standard six-speed manual transmission, and an understated but dynamically aggressive style outside and a practical interior that equally mixes functionality, flair and a preoccupation with a driver-first focus and layout.
The new GTI is a solid and aggressive sports model with a unique automatic manual DSGTM transmission that utilizes direct shifting which essentially automatically depresses clutch-shift points more efficiently and quicker than even a professional driver can. But the GTI today is all purity, and for those who want the unique control of a clutch, the all-new GTI comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission. Top speed is electronically governed at 130 miles per hour in the U.S.
As always, the GTI is based wholly on one of the world’s most popular and enduring models—the Volkswagen Golf. This fifth-generation Golf platform is renowned for its solidity and sophistication that make it one of the best selling models in the world. Built in Wolfsburg, Germany, the home of Volkswagen, the GTI benefits from Volkswagen’s high-tech production process that includes industry-leading robotics in its assembly technology and sequences.
Based on its already solid predecessor, the new GTI records double-digit improvements in its dynamic and tensional rigidity—15 percent and 35 percent, respectively, to be exact. This is partially achieved through the use of more high-strength body panels, Volkswagen world-class design and engineering, and during production, advanced laser-welding systems that require a new-generation of robotics and elaborate laser-driven measuring check points. The result is a dramatic increase in precise laser-welded seams, normally reserved for cars in much higher segments of the market. The net benefit of the Gate’s laser bonding process is a class-leading fit and finish, heightened body strength, crash protection, dialed-in driving dynamics, and reduced interior noise—all key components that set the GTI apart from its hatchback competitors.
The heart of the 2006 GTI is Volkswagen’s new and highly regarded 2.0T turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 200 hp at 5,100 to 6,000 revolutions per minute and 207 ft.-lbs. of torque from 1,800 to 5.000 rpm.
This transverse, front-mounted engine incorporates dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters for smooth, worry-free operation. A fully electronic engine management system includes drive-by-wire throttle control and FSI direct injection for optimal fuel delivery, which increases power, improves efficiency, and reduces emissions.
As alluded to earlier, the new six-speed DSG automatic manual transmission with Tiptronic® is a tempting option for drivers, as well as those simply seeking the convenience of an automated transmission. The DSG transmission permits fully automatic or manual gear changes using a twin-clutch, wet-plate design that eliminates the power interruption associated with traditionally clutched gear changes. The result is sports performance and unexpected fuel efficiency.
Further details, click here: Volkswagen GTI MK5 hits US shores