Slick, quick way to cel­e­brate good times

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents - JAMES WHITBOURN

SINCE it hit its straps in 2004 with the ar­rival of the MKV, the Volk­swa­gen Golf GTI hasn’t looked back, go­ing on to be­come to the past decade what the Subaru WRX was to the ’90s.

And if this leaves the val­uepacked, quick, fun, com­fort­able, prac­ti­cal GTI with the same prob­lem the Su­bie once had – that it’s too com­mon for the in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic en­thu­si­ast – the GTI 40 Years edi­tion might just pro­vide the an­swer.

The fact alone that 100 man­ual gear­box ver­sions, due in Septem­ber, will come as part of the 500-only limited edi­tion run might make it the pick over the $ 2500-cheaper GTI Per­for­mance, though you’ll have to be quick. Like, if your or­der isn’t al­ready in, you might’ve missed out.

Es­sen­tially, the 40 Years adds a cat­a­logue of hot bits from the GTI Per­for­mance and Golf R – and some new ones – to cre­ate a uniquely ap­peal­ing pack­age.

The GTI’S EA888 turbo-petrol 2.0-litre four-cylin­der is treated to a larger ’charger, still with an elec­tronic waste gate that lets the ECU ma­nip­u­late the boost curve for hard-hit­ting low-rev re­sponse and a sweetly lin­ear top end.

With a boost in­crease, tun­ing changes, and an over­boost that sees peak power and torque crest 213kw (and 380Nm) for 10 sec­onds when flat-footed in third through sixth gears, it out-does a Golf R in the power-to-weight stakes, though with­out AWD, it isn’t of­fi­cially as quick, at 6.3sec 0-100km/ h.

The rest of the time the 40 Years has 195kw/350nm and a more ur­gent, fruitier de­liv­ery than any other GTI – even the up­change farts, de­liv­ered via big­ger twin tailpipes, are fuller.

No sticker pack, then, but it does have some to sig­nify its spe­cial 40 Years sta­tus, along its lower flanks. With Unique ‘Ruby’ 19-inch al­loys, a spe­cific front fas­cia with brake cool­ing gills, Golf R tail-lights, ts, a new rear bumper with a dif­fuser, fuser, and a more pro­nounced two-piece o-piece rear spoiler, it’s a more vis­ually arous­ing ma­chine than the stan­dard, dis­creet, GTI.

But for those fond of quiet coun­try roads or track-days, the best bits in­clude big brakes, a me­chan­i­cally vari­able steer­ing rack, the elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled multi-plate LSD that keeps torque steer and wheel­spin to a min­i­mum, while bring­ing a de­li­cious, nose-point­ing vec­tor­ing of torque, and adap­tive dampers that pro­vide an adept balance of ride, wheel and body con­trol and a choice of modes.

It all com­bines to make the GTI 40 Years feel spe­cial. It’s a con­certed stride closer to a Me­gane RS, if, ul­ti­mately, a step short of the bench­mark Re­nault’s con­nec­tion, con­trol, in­volve­ment and live­abil­ity com­pro­mises.

Model Volk­swa­gen Golf GTI 40 Years En­gine 1984cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v turbo Max power 195kw @ 5350- 6600rpm Max torque 350Nm @ 1700- 5600rpm Trans­mis­sion 6- speed dual- clutch Kerb weight 1357kg 0-100km/ h 6.3sec ( claimed) Econ­omy 7.1L/ 100km Price $...

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