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Redesigned 2015 Volkswagen GTI Stays True to Form

4/5/2013
The Volkswagen GTI has been on sale in the United States since 1983, and longer than that in Europe. A performance-tuned variant of the Volkswagen Golf, the GTI has always blended additional engine power with a sport suspension, upgraded wheels and tires, and sport-bolstered front seats with plaid-pattern inserts. The redesigned 2015 Volkswagen GTI follows the traditional recipe, which is applied to a vehicle that is larger yet lighter than the model it replaces.

Like the 2015 Golf upon which it is based, the new GTI adds passenger and cargo room in a larger vehicle that is more aerodynamic and lighter in weight than the outgoing version. Crash safety is improved with an enhanced structure, and an Automatic Post Collision Braking System is designed to limit additional damage to surrounding vehicles and property in the event the GTI is involved in an accident.

As the performance-oriented version of the Golf, the new 2015 GTI gets a more powerful version of the turbocharged and direct-injected 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that comes standard in the Golf. Volkswagen says final horsepower and torque ratings will be available closer to when it goes on sale; for now, the company estimates the GTI will generate 210 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Buyers choose between a 6-speed manual transmission and an optional 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), each delivering power to the GTI's front wheels. The DSG is an automated manual gearbox that works like an automatic and does not require the use of a clutch pedal.

Like other Golf models, the new GTI is equipped with Volkswagen's Cross Differential System (XDS), which employs a front differential lock to improve handling and traction, the company says, as well as a new progressive electric steering system. Unlike other Golf models, the new GTI is likely to offer a European Performance package at some point in the future, according to Volkswagen.

In addition to a more powerful engine, the 2015 GTI gets a lowered sport suspension and unique aluminum wheels equipped with lower profile tires. Design details such as red-painted brake calipers, side skirts, rear diffuser panel, and twin chrome exhaust outlets distance the GTI from other Golf models, as do its smoked LED taillights and LED license plate illumination.

Inside, the 2015 GTI is equipped with sport-bolstered seats and the iconic plaid inserts, as well as a black headliner, red ambient lighting, sport steering wheel, unique shift knob and trim inserts, stainless steel pedals and foot rest, and instrumentation specific to this model. A touch-screen radio display is standard equipment, and the GTI can be optioned with a new infotainment system that includes a proximity-sensing touch screen and a navigation system equipped with 3-D graphics.

Volkswagen will build the next-generation 2015 GTI in Mexico. The car goes on sale early in 2014, and additional details will be available closer to the GTI's arrival in showrooms.

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