Volkswagen UK hasn’t even delivered its first new Golf GTi but is already showing us this: the GTD, its diesel alter ego.
Powered by a 168bhp version of VW’s ubiquitous common rail 2.0-litre turbodiesel four it sprints to 62mph in just 8.1sec compared with 7.1sec for the 207bhp petrol GTi and its 136mph top speed falls 12mph short. But with 256lb ft of torque (the GTi makes do with 207lb ft) on hand, the diesel should have the upper hand in mid-range performance.
And of course there’s the economy advantage. The GTI’s 38mpg and 170g/km is impressive, but the GTD rubbishes it with a 53mpg, 139g/km performance. Three and five door bodies will be available, as will the chance to substitute a DSG transmission for the standard six-speed manual.
It doesn’t get the GTi’s clever ESP-based differential but the chunky-flat bottomed steering wheel and heavily-bolstered sports seats (albeit trimmed in grey- rather than red-tinged tartan) make it across to the GTD.
Outside there are silver flashes on the grille in place of the GTi’s red, the lower bumper is the same but with a smaller blackout section and the twin rear pipes are siamesed rather than located at either side of the car, wheelbarrow style. The standard 17-inch wheels and optional 18s are both different to the GTi’s rims and of course there are GTD badges at either ends too.
Really though, it’s not that different. But on the evidence of these official photographs we’d have to say it looks pretty disappointing, more like an SE with some optional alloys than a hot hatch. A Volkswagen insider assures us that, in the metal, it looks just as punchy as the petrol, however.
The anoraks among you might remember that Volkswagen sold diesel powered GTi look-alikes badged GTD in mainland Europe during the 1980s. A handful made it to the UK but with diesel fever yet to grab the imagination of the performance car buyers and power outputs and refinement levels too poor to persuade them otherwise, they weren’t much competition for the contemporary GTi.
This one, though, looks like it might be, not least since Volkswagen is likely to price it at around £21,000 (a grand under the GTi) when sales start in June.