Clever front differential tech and 260bhp for lighter, faster Mk7 hot hatch

The all new, Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTI has been spied undergoing final testing before an expected showroom launch early next year. The all-important GTI is rumoured to be powered by a 260bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine and will get the firm’s new VAQ front differential for “more agile steering behaviour”. 

Insiders say this VAQ unit, which consists of an electronically controlled Haldex clutch of the kind usually found in four-wheel drive systems, would allow the new car to lap the Nürburgring faster than today’s GTI even if it didn’t have any extra power.

VW bosses have already revealed that they are working on a lightweight version of the Mk7 Golf structure with aluminium floor pressings and an aluminium roof, and this is expected to be used as a base for the GTI.

However, the more potent Golf R is expected to get a super-light carbonfibre roof. VW engineers have come up with a way of incorporating steel flanges into the panel, allowing it to be welded to the car’s steel side structure.

The Mk7 Golf is the second model — after the Audi A3 — to be based on the VW Group’s new MQB architecture. It will be unveiled at the Paris show in September before reaching showrooms early next year.

Although the car is heavily disguised in these pictures, the Golf’s signature wide C-pillars are visible. However, the front-end styling looks less bluff, with low-mounted headlights sitting below raised wings.

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk7
This is the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI

Can the hottest new Volkswagen Golf GTI ignite passion as well as desirability?

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5 June 2012

Err... forgive my ignorance, but what on earth does 'less bluff' front-end styling mean?

5 June 2012


...meaning is Autocar poetry

5 June 2012

Ive no doubt the Golf will be a superb car . Oddly enough Im looking forward to its cheaper cousin more though .

After the disappointing (for me) Skoda wotsitname based on the Toledo Im looking forward to the new Octavia especially if they give it some of the new VW engines . 

Yeah I know some sort of reverse snobbishness at work there . ie pay less get more .

Incidentally the new A3 does nothing for me either .  

5 June 2012

260bhp, 360bhp, 460bhp - it doesn't even matter, this car is inerently dull. Oversized 20inch weels and a big power output can't disguise that fact. The Scirocco makes a much better case.

5 June 2012

If the GTI gets 260 bhp, then that surely would need a pretty big step up for the Golf R and Audi S3 models to well over 300 bhp to justify any extra spend.

5 June 2012

Context: the first Porsche 911 Turbo developed 260bhp BITD

6 June 2012

The GTi remains probably the best all round hot hatch. But it's not the sportiest and sharpest one. The Megane 265 Trophy (or Sport) are.

So the question is, are the lightweight, more powerful Mk 7 GTi or its more powerful R sibling up to the task of unseating the Megage as the best hot hatch drive?

6 June 2012

Oh dear. VW getting all wrapped up in a power chasing game - all of which will bring us a 30k GTI before you know it.

If the word is it can be faster with no more power, can they not take the hint? Can't they bring us a GTI that is no more powerful but lighter and more fuel efficient instead?

Much more practical. Which is erm, what a GTI was all about a long time ago.

Perhaps the VW beancounters want the extra power to justify the inevitable price hike...

I'll get my coat.

6 June 2012

can't wait for this new facelift

they came, they saw, they lolled


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