The sixth-generation model, set for a debut at the upcoming Paris motor show, closely follows the formula established by the outgoing fifth generation. It runs a transversely mounted, turbo-charged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that channels its power to the front wheels via either a standard six-speed manual or an optional six-speed double-clutch gearbox.
With the adoption of a new powerplant engineered by VW subsidiary Audi, output increases by 10 hp, to 210 hp, while torque remains 206 lb-ft.
Suspension continues with a MacPherson-strut front and a compact multilink rear setup but now includes a new electronic differential configured to minimize torque steer. The system is incorporated into the Golf GTI's electronic-stability program, providing individual braking to the front wheels when sensors detect a loss of traction.
The ground-hugging stance comes from unique suspension tuning and adaptive damping, the latter a first for the GTI. It provides three levels of damper stiffness--normal, comfort and sport--while also altering the throttle mapping and the level of electronic assistance for the electromechanical steering system. This all should allow the new Golf GTI to continue to tread the line between everyday hatchback and back-road rally racer.
Official acceleration numbers hint at high levels of straight-line performance, with VW claiming the same 0-to-62-mph time as the old Golf GTI's 7.2 seconds in six-speed manual guise and top speed rising from 146 mph to 149 mph. At the same time, with a combined average of 31 mpg, fuel efficiency is up by more than 2 mpg.
In keeping with tradition, the 2010 Golf GTI will be available in three- or five-door hatchback form. North American sales start in October 2009, about six months after the first European deliveries.
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