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January 31, 2012

Volkswagen MKVII GTI Info Revealed

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Written by: Pete
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Volkswagen AG, yesterday, released some information to Top Gear UK about the upcoming seventh generation of the iconic GTI hot hatchback.  As the owner of a current sixth generation GTI, you can understand why this information peaks my interest.  In a car I think is already fantastic, Volkswagen has some big plans to just make it fantastic-er.
Volkswagen says that the Mk7 Golf and GTI will be more than just a mild refresh or facelift that was the change from the Mk5 and Mk6 generation.  The new Mk7 is all-new and will be based on an entirely new VW Group platform called MQB.  This platform will makes its way throughout VW and Audi’s lineup in the coming years.

With this new platform, VW has patented a special welding process that means it can built GTI bodyshells with aluminum roofs, mixed in with the Golfs more traditional steel roof, on the same assembly line.  This, along with the addition of other aluminum bits could mean a decrease in weight of about 200 lbs.  That would mean a curb weight of less than 2,850 lbs.

That alone is enough to give the GTI a greater competitive edge of some of its competitors and represents an increase in power-to-weight ratio of 1lb/hp or about 6.5%.  But, to further enhance the performance, VW is says they will adapt Audi’s Valvelift system to the current award-winning 2.0TSI.  This could net a horsepower figure around 230 and up to as much as 260 lb-ft of torque.  A 15% increase in horsepower and 20% increase in torque.

Now, not only is weight and power being addressed to help the GTI’s street credentials but Volkswagen is also making the ride and handling even better.  As it is now, Car & Driver rated the current GTI as one of the 7 best handling cars under $40,000.  Part of this will be that the front wheels will be pushed 40 mm forward giving the car better weight distribution and a more comfortable ride typically found in a longer wheelbase.

Making sure this power reaches the ground with ease in this still front heavy front-wheel-drive hatchback is a new electronically controlled mechanical limited-slip differential.  This would replace the current cars brake-based Cross Differential System, XDS.  The suspension, while using all new parts, will be largely carried over from the Mk6 model.
Technology used inside the car gets much advancement as well: forward cameras for lane-keeping and auto-braking functions, radar-based cruise control (adaptive cruise control), Audi-developed infotainment/audio system with 8” touchscreen and even a proximity sensor to alter what is shown on the screen based on a potential input from the operator.  Don’t get your hopes up in the area of technology and features as it is standard practice for Volkswagen to keep many of their features out of US buyers’ hands to keep costs down.  Americans are far more cost conscious than Europeans.

Lastly is the cost.  No, we don’t what it might cost but because of the new MQB platform it could be less than current models.  This new platform is going to cover nearly all transverse-front-engined models from Volkswagen.  What that means is a cost reduction in tooling and manufacturing alike.  VW’s engineering chief says that parts cost will be 20% less, development and tolling 30% less, and manufacturing cost will be 30% less also.  Good news if you ask me.
Volkswagen says the new Mk7 will be faster, lighter, and more sophisticated.  Based on everything we see here, I say, yes it will.  And that is a great thing as the Mk6 GTI is already quick, lightweight, and far more sophisticated than anything in its class.  More of a good thing is always a great thing and the new Mk7, based on what we see here, will just be greater than every before.

All that remains to be seen at this point is what we will see in the Mk7.  No more than just heavily-disguised spy shots have been released and those provide little insight in to what the car might actually look like.  Stay tuned as the car reaches its projected release date later this year.

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  4. Toyota FT-86 / Scion FR-S Specs Revealed ahead of Tokyo Motor Show
  5. BMW Drops M3 Sedan (E90) for 2012 Model Year

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  1. [...] be all new and based on something called the MQB platform—lighter, stronger, easier to build. Some are predicting an increased power-weight ratio of 6.5 percent and 230 hp with 260 lb-ft of [...]

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