New VW Golf GTI Mk6 concept (2008): first official photos

Published: 25 September 2008

The VW Golf GTI is back and the mundane Mk6 range just got interesting. These are the first pictures of the new Golf GTI, which will be officially unveiled at the Paris motor show next week. Power from the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot engine is up, while the looks are inspired by the W12 650 GTI concept from 2007.

VW is calling this car a concept, ‘a first step towards the Golf GTI which will start production in spring 2009’, but CAR expects the looks and mechanicals to remain unchanged when the GTI goes on sale.

Thank goodness for the new VW Golf GTI.

Yes indeed. Reception to the new Golf has been lukewarm at best, and while the Mk6 might be the most refined car in its class, it’s no stunner.

Step forward the GTI, with a jutting front bumper, telephone-dial alloys, twin pipes, a honeycomb grille, that three letter badge and those discreet red stripes.

VW designers have drawn inspiration from the W12 concept, trying to make the new GTI look lower and wider than before, even though all the hard points from the Mk5 car have been carried over. That means upright fog lights at the extremities of the front bumper and dual exhausts at the rear, again split far.

What other visual tweaks has the new Golf GTI had?

Over and above the regular Golf there are new front and rear bumpers, the former with a honeycomb grille. There are also new sills with black cladding, designed to make the GTI appear slimmer hipped. The rear features smoked rear lights, a discreet spoiler and, according to VW, a diffuser.

VW’s designers have kept the clean shape of the Mk5 GTI, deeming it unnecessary to cover the GTI with body addenda. The telephone-dial alloys remain the same design as before, but this time feature piano black paint on the insides rather than grey.

Inside the famous tartan trim is back, adorning four of the five seats, while the Passat CC steering wheel is now flat bottomed, features a shiny GTI logo and comes wrapped in black leather with contrasting red stitching. There’s also silver trim on the dash. 

Click ‘Next’ below to read more about the new VW Golf GTI

Right, the dynamics please

The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is carried over, but induction tweaks lift power from the Mk5 GTI’s 197 to 207bhp, while there’s also 206lb ft. The transmission is by the existing GTI’s six-speed manual or twin-clutch DSG ‘box. The benchmark sprint is dispatched in 7.2 seconds and this latest GTI will then go on to 148mph. But the new car is cleaner and more economical than its predecessor, doing 37.6mpg and puffing out 178g/km, down from 189.

Under the skin the Mk6’s front struts and multi-link rear suspension has been retuned, while there’s also GTI-specific springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. The Scirocco donates is adaptive chassis control, and the ACC system features comfort, normal and sport modes for the dampers. ACC also adjusts the steering and throttle response accordingly.

The new Golf GTI goes on sale in the UK next summer, with prices expected to rise to around £21k, despite the new Mk6 car being quicker to build.

And if the GTI isn’t quick enough for you, an R version with four-wheel drive and a 265bhp version of the 2.0-litre engine will go on sale by the end of the decade. It will replace the R32, which bites the dust as it’s just too dirty and thirsty.

What do you think of the new VW Golf GTI? Click ‘Add your comment’ below and have your say

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy