The first faceli ever to a Golf also heralds the local introduction of a sleeper model that will have GTI aficionados scratching their heads
IT has 30 N.m more torque, is only a second slower to 100 km/h, and will cost nearly R40 000 less at launch in July, but does the latest addition to the South African Golf line-up, the GTD, match the pricier and punchier GTI for driving thrills? Mallorca’s nearly deserted, smooth, twisting roads should clarify whether it’s a worthwhile alternative to the ubiquitous hot hatch.
Locally replacing the slowselling 110 kw 2,0 TDI from the pre-facelift Golf range, the GTD, which isn’t all that new considering the rst version was launched in 1982, ushers in a more powerful engine (130 kw – detuned by 5 kw versus Euro versions – and 380 N.m offered between 1 750 and 3 250 r/min) and, of course, the round of changes effected to the Golf 7. Remarkably, this is the rst time Volkswagen has given a Golf range a midlife revision since the rst iteration’s introduction in 1974.
VW lists 10 major new features on its global bestseller. Most notable are the new Discover Pro infotainment system; gesture control; semi-autonomous driving and related safety features, including Front Assist with Traf c Jam Assist, City Braking and Trailer Assist; a new 1,5 TSI engine (which isn’t destined for our market – we’ll retain the current 92 kw 1,4 TSI); upped power to 169 kw on the standard GTI – the PP GTI will follow in 2018; and redesigned bumpers front and rear, LED rear lamps across the range and xenons ditched in favour of LEDS at the front.
At an estimated R507 000, the GTD, which is mated solely with a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box, will boast the new headlamps as standard, as well as 17-inch Curitiba alloys, sport suspension, climate control and heavily bolstered seats.
Design-wise, you’ll need to be a Golf anorak to spot the changes in the Golf range, but they encompass extended chrome striping front and rear, new alloy wheel designs and a fresh colour called Turmeric Yellow that looks