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Volkswagen Golf GTI Edition 35 2012 Review

The GTI has become the most successful sports models in automotive history ...

When Volkswagen launched the first GTI back in 1976, they were planning on building 5000 of them. The rest is history. The GTI has become the most successful sports models in automotive history and will soon notch up 2 million sales world wide. To mark its 35th anniversary, VW is offering a very limited Edition 35 model with more power and extra goodies for another 3 grand - and it's a cracker!


The 2.0-litre direct injection turbocharged engine is shared by the GTI and all wheel drive Golf R. But it's a detuned version of the R's engine, rather than a hopped up GTi one (what's the difference?) It runs the same compression ratio but the boost has been turned down on the turbocharger.

Compared to the standard GTI power is up 18kW from 155 to 173kW, not quite as much as the R's 188kW but a significant increase. Torque has also been increased, up 20Nm from 280 to 300Nm _ not as much as the R's 330Nm.

The engine also takes on the higher revving characteristics of the R, with maximum power delivered at 6000 revs and maximum torque at 2400 revs.


Remember the GTI Pirelli? Well this one's even better with 173 versus 169kW, but it does the dash in the same 6.6 seconds. Golf has moved on a generation since then and there's no doubting this is a much better car. It feels tighter and smoother with better grip and handling.

Power is fed to the front wheels through the GTI's trick XDL diff, with 0-100km/h taking 6.6 seconds for both the manual and DSG. That's 0.3 seconds quicker than a standard GTI, but still short of the R's 5.9/5.7 secs for the manual/DSG.


The Edition 35 comes in five doors only, in a choice of colours and with a choice of six speed manual or six-speed DSG transmissions, the latter for an extra $2500. It's priced from $43,490. That's $3000 more than a standard GTI but $6500 less than the R).


Understated. In a word. The only visible badging is the number 35 on ahead of the door on either side. GTI watchers will however note the deeper front air dam, with bi-xenon lights and dynamic cornering and LED daytime runners. The exterior mirrors are also finished in gloss black and the side sill extensions match the body colour. All Edition 35s are also equipped with smoked LED rear lights, LED-illuminated license plate and smoked rear windows.


There's a classic golf ball look/feel gear shift, special scuff plates with the Edition 35 logo, seat belts with red stripes and a 35 integrated in the front head rests. The logo also appears on the backs of the seats and all decorative seams are red.


Spectacularly. Very strong acceleration, especially in the mid range. But what we really like about these cars is their practicality. You can pedal them around like a shopping trolley most of the time and they don't feel any different to a standard Golf. But put your foot down and the differences becomes immediately apparent. The other big plus about the GTI is the fuel economy. This thing can still returns 8.3/8.2 litres/100km in manual/DSG form if you don't push it hard.


The Golf GTI is the perfect balance of sport and practicality and the Edition 35 model is just better again. Better get one before they run out?


Price: about $45,000
Body: 5-door, 5-seater hatch
Engine: 173kW/300Nm, 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol
Transmission: 6-speed manual or DSG
Safety: 7 airbags, ABS, ESP, 5-star crash rating
Weight: 1400kg
Economy: 8.1L/100km (manual), 8L/100km (DSG)
CO2: 189g/km (man), 185g/km (DSG).

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