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Published on May 4th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


VW Golf Mk7 GTI Test Drive Review In The South Of France

The 7th generation Volkswagen Golf arrived in Malaysia a few months ago, but only the 1.4TSI model. However VW enthusiasts are waiting for the GTi, the 7th generation. Scheduled to be launched in the 3rd quarter of 2013, we are in the South of France behind the wheel of the new 2014 Mk7 Golf GTI to experience it for you. This new GTI produces 220bhp and you can opt for a factory installed power enhanced engine that produces an additional 10bhp however at launch in Malaysia this version will not be included. Both versions are driven by a 6-speed DSG.

MK7 GTI Design
VW designers have given this Golf GTI a more impressive stance on the road. The most significant feature is the red trim strip on the radiator grille that now extends into the headlights and the GTI badge that sits on the front fenders. This GTI also carries additional air inlet openings in the front spoiler; a honeycomb structure of the air inlet screens; vertical fog lights; xenon headlights; a larger rear spoiler, large tailpipes in the rear but now pushed outboard a bit more and finally new alloy wheels that were specially designed for the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

MK7 GTI Interior
Open the door and you will see and interior that has been made to be even more inspiring. The GTI interior is now 14 mm longer (1,750 mm). In the rear seating area of the four-door Golf GTI, passengers enjoy 15 mm more leg room. In front, shoulder room has increased by 31 mm to 1,420 mm, and elbow room has now gone up by 22 mm to a width of 1,469 mm. In the rear seating area, shoulder room was also improved by an additional 31 mm and elbow width by 20 mm. Boot capacity has grown by 30 litres to 380 litres. Volkswagen has also increased the width of the boot space opening by 47 mm to 1,023 mm.

The standard sport seat are even more comfortable and still torso hugging. The new steering wheel is more racy and with a flat bottom, it is easier to fit all sizes. The manual gear shift lever is still a golf ball design (this will not be available in Malaysia) and the DSG shifter is carried over from the MK6. The dashboard meter cluster is curved with a better view angle and the carbon look panel on the dash and around the meter cluster looks almost real.

The GTI specific look of the interior is rounded out by red ambience lighting, special trim strips and panels (trim strips in the front doors with ambience lighting), brushed stainless steel pedals and foot rest (all larger in size now), door sill entry plates in front with a stainless steel look and ambience lighting. The new audio system from ‘Dynaudio’ brings luxury car entertainment to this segment.

MK7 GTI TSI engines
This Golf GTI MK7 is powered by a new version of the EA888 engine series. It is a two-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine (TSI) with a new cylinder head design. The engine produces 220 PS (from 4,500 to 6,200 rpm). There is also a ‘performance-enhanced’ version that produces 230 PS (from 4,700 to 6,200 rpm). Both GTI versions are equipped with a Stop/Start system as standard (to deliver even better fuel efficiency and it can be switched off if needed) and, with a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG).

The 220 PS engine accelerates to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 246 km/h. The more powerful version at 10 PS more has a top speed of 250 km/h and takes just 6.4 seconds to sprint to 100 km/h. Its maximum torque of 350 Nm is available from 1,500 to 4,600 rpm.

MK7 GTI Drive dynamics
There is only one way to truly review this new GTI and VW provided the location. With tight corners, uneven surfaces and very little open highway running, the South of France had the roads that showed us the true engagement of this car with its driver. The new steering system responses faster and with more agility than in the previous model thanks to more direct steering gear ratios. Maximum attainable speeds through the tight mountain roads increased as we got more comfortable with this GTI.

Thanks to the more neutral running gear tuning and optimisations of the XDS+ system you can exploit this car with little fuss as long as you know what you are doing. After a few hours behind the wheel your confidence grows quickly as this GTI creates a false sense of ‘hero’ driving with its ability to save the driver from embarrassing situations around tight bends. This GTI accelerates out of bends with good grip and a neutral handling thanks to an innovative layout of all running gear components. With a little open highway driving, this GTI provided exceptionally high vehicle stability even when we weaved the car in and out of lanes.

Not forgetting the engine ‘bark’ which many have imitated but none have managed to supersede. It’s even more intoxicating in this new GTI. The VW development team have produced a truly engaging car with the ability to straighten out bends with its handling, deliver higher speed stability, reduce fuel usage and bring more average drivers closer to handling nirvana previously reserved for cars costing twice the price.

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