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Mk6 Volkswagen GTI Is Coming to America - Web Exclusive

Mar 25, 2009
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For the last four years, Americans have become well acquainted with the Mk5 GTI. The potential from the 2.0T FSI motor, DSG transmission and modern looks has made it a favorite among tuners and enthusiasts.

Well, it's time to welcome a new generation to our European car community - the Mk6 Golf GTI.

This year marks the 36 year anniversary of the original GTI. The elements identified by the engineers back in March 1973 that defined the original GTI remain the same - sharp dynamics, a responsive four-cylinder engine and driver involvement. Yet the Mk6 has evolved. It's faster, edgier and more powerful than any of the previous generations GTIs. Not overlooking daily drivability, the GTI remains easy to use, clean, safe and efficient.

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The new Mk5 will come with the 2.0 TSI engine matched to either a six-speed manual or DSG (similar to the Mk5). The new TSI will feature changes including modified pistons, piston rings, an improved oil pump, new induction system and high-pressure fuel pump for better performance. The new upgrades increase power 10hp from the previous Mk5 engine. According to VW, this should get the GTI from 0-62mph in 6.9sec. All while fuel economy rises to 38.7mpg (35.3mpg previously). Torque power is rated at 206 ft-lb which is available between 1700-5200rpm. This power is available early in the RPM range than the Mk5. Top speed is supposedly rated at 149mph.

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For traction, the new GTI has a new XDS electronically controlled differential. A series of sensors detects when, through hard cornering for instance, the inside wheel is not sufficiently loaded and applies braking pressure via the Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) in order to restore traction. The result is less wheel spin and greater control on demanding roads.

The suspension for the North American GTI is yet to be released, but European cars will have a lowered ride height from the Mk5 which will be 22mm in the front and 15mm at the rear. The strut-type front and multi-link rear suspension is joined by new anti-roll bars to provide sharper responses. In addition, VW's Adaptive Chassis Control system (ACC), featuring pneumatically controlled damper units, is offered for the first time on the GTI. This allows the driver to select from normal, comfort or sport modes to define the desired suspension, steering and accelerator response settings.

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Exterior-wise, there isn't as much change. The front has an aggressive new front bumper with deep honeycomb air dam framed by vertical foglights. The GTI's lines help make the car appear lower and wider than it really is. The Mk6 is 27mm wider than the Mk5. The rear features a diffuser located between a new exhaust system.

Standard equipment highlights include black and red seats with red stitching. There will also be a multifunction steering wheel, red brake calipers, 17" wheels and dual-zone climate control.

In Europe, the car will be fore sale as early as May but stay tuned with eurotuner for the US release dates. Also stay tuned for our first drive this month in the BLOGS section.



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