We first had a taste of VW’s seventh-generation hot-hatch earlier this year (read our story here), on the twisty roads of St. Tropez in France and we’ve been waiting ever since to drive it properly on Malaysian roads. Just yesterday, Malaysian motoring journalists were invited for a road trip down south, behind the wheels of the latest car in VW’s stable which adorns the hallowed ‘GTI’ badge.
But first, let’s dispense with the new car’s specifications and pricing – the bit where many have tried to guesstimate. The new Golf GTI will be priced at RM217,888 and a Tech Pack which adds leather seats, driver side 12-way electronic adjustable seats, and Dynamic ChassiS Control (DCC) will be available at a RM10,000 premium. For the first time ever, there will also be the option of a 3-door GTI.
Dubbed the GTI ‘Pure’, we were disappointed to find out that this car will have many options removed. Standard Kit will comprises of smaller 17-inch ‘Brooklyn’ alloys, halogen headlights and a (smaller) 5-inch infotainment system. Deleted options include electric folding side mirrors, rain sensor, fog lights, auto-dimming rear view mirror, cruise control, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, PDC as well as half the number of speakers in a regular GTI. The GTI ‘Pure’ can also be had with the Tech Pack option. Also available for upgrade are 19-inch ‘Santiago’ wheels; a RM3,000 extra.
Moving our focus back to the car; the first thing you immediately realize when you look at this new car, is that all the usual GTI characteristics have been maintained: red stripe, honeycomb grille, checkered seats, tailpipes on each rear corner; it really is quite a handsome car. Its wheels have taken on a sleeker look and, whilst we’re not quite sure if we like them or not yet, do look good from certain angles. LEDs are now featured in abundance both inside and out – on the fog lights and interior reading lights.
Powering the seventh GTI is the familiar EA888 two-litre turbocharged engine that makes 220PS/350Nm. This is a 10PS/70Nm increase over its predecessor, and brings some performance gains: zerotohundred now takes 6.5 seconds (previously 6.9 seconds) and vmax is now 244km/h (previously 238km/h). We can attest that the new car will hit the claimed top speed, but what impressed us most was the way the car sprints between 100 – 200km/h. Cruising at 180km/h, we also noticed that the engine was ticking over at just 3,700rpm.
Despite the power gains, VW says the new Golf GTI more efficient than before. Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.4l/100km (1.0l/100km improvement) and will emit 148g/km of CO2 (25g/km improvement). This gain in efficiency can be credited to the car’s Stop/Start system and MQB platform which shaves off some 42kg when compared to the previous car.
Inside the new car, you get the usual niceties. Fabric ‘Clark’ tartan seats come as default, and keeps true to the GTI tradition. Leather upholstery, as you already know, is available as an upgrade, but I felt a little more snug than the seats from the Mk6 GTI. The sports steering wheel remains thick and perfectly sized, but the multifunction controls have taken on a slight redesign. New touches to this car include red ambient lighting and stainless steel door sills, with a lap-timer now integrated into the instrument cluster.
Other tech highlights include progressive steering and an advanced XDS+ function which allows for more lee-way before the electronic nannies kick in. We blasted through some kampung roads, managing to keep close to the tail of a Mk6 Golf R, and were truly impressed at the dynamic improvements that have been made in just one generation. When we get our hands on this car for a longer period of time, we will return with a more extensive test drive report.
The Mk7 Golf GTI will be available for viewing and test drives at all authorized Volkswagen dealerships nationwide from this Saturday, August 24th onwards. It will come in a choice of four colours for now – tornado red, pure white, deep black, and carbon steel grey. The 230PS/350Nm Performance Pack (PP) GTI is not yet available for purchase, but we’ve been told that there are definite plans to bring this in. As usual, we will provide you with updates as soon as we find out – quickest is via Facebook, prior to us publishing any news on our website.
Golf GTI 5-door (Standard) @ RM217,888
Golf GTI 5-door (Tech Pack) @ RM227,888
Golf GTI 3-door (Pure) @ RM209,888
Golf GTI 3-door (Tech Pack) @ RM219,888