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The Golf GTI Facts

The Golf GTI Facts

Seven GTI facts that you need to know!

It is often red, has checked seats and does not just have a sporty look - most people could tell you that much about the Golf GTI. A host of interesting stories and facts has accumulated over the past 45 years, and we have put these in print for you!

Fact 1: GTI engine with four cylinders

A GTI characteristic: it still relies on a robust, four-cylinder petrol engine to provide maximum driving pleasure. This started out in 1976 as a 110 PS injection engine, but now the new Golf GTI unit has more than double the power – a mighty 245 PS! The Golf 1 already went from 0 to 100 km/h in an impressive 9.2 seconds, while the needle on the speedometer stopped moving at 182 km/h. Back then, mid-range saloon cars struggled to hit the 160 km/h mark. Not only that: the new Golf GTI keeps pushing on until it reaches 250 km/h (electrically limited).

Fact 2: Unique rim design for each GTI generation

The combination of tyres and rims on a car represents the key connecting factor that ensures optimal transfer of drive performance to the road. The optics are important too: almost 50 percent of the overall appearance for a car can be attributed to the rims. The GTI has had plenty over the decades.

Fact 3: 5,000 Golf GTIs were planned and more than 2.3 million have been constructed

Anton Konrad, then head of the press department at Volkswagen: “We were aiming for a sporty series Volkswagen with a bit of understatement. We planned to construct 5,000 of these cars that you could use to go shopping or drive on the racetrack.” The sales department was not particularly optimistic ahead of the IAA 1975: “We won't even sell 500 of these GTIs.” And they would be proved right. Ultimately, it was not 500 Golf GTIs that were sold, but more than 2.3 million of them!

Fact 4: European aesthetics combined with comfort

Star designer Giorgetto Giugiaro created the appearance of the Golf in Turin. Herbert Schäfer, design director at the time, installed the legendary red GTI trim strip in Wolfsburg, while the iconic checked design was produced by the first woman in the Volkswagen design department – Gunhild Liljequist. Visiting London on a journey around Great Britain proved inspirational for her. Black was sporty enough, but she was looking for a second colour with a powerful, sophisticated effect – and settled on red. The golf ball design for the gear knob on the 4-speed transmission was also her idea. This still graces the 6-speed manual gearbox in the eighth-generation Golf GTI.

Fact 5: Legendary three-spoke “spittoon steering wheel”

Ready to go: the Golf GTI now has a new multifunction sports steering wheel, with touch controls, perforated leather and GTI clasp. The Golf 1 GTI already had a three-spoke steering wheel of similar style: fans affectionately dubbed it the “spittoon steering wheel” – as the Wolfsburg logo was located in a deep recess – and it remains a collectors’ item to this day.

Fact 6: Golf GTI Cabrio? Yes, we had that in the sixth generation

A topless Golf 6 GTI: on the Golf GTI Cabrio, the electrohydraulic system opened the soft top in 9.5 seconds, requiring eleven seconds to close it at 30 km/h. With the roof closed, it was possible to reach 237 km/h. In the months before it was discontinued, the GTI Cabrio was even officially referred to as the “most powerful open Volkswagen”! Of course, the Porsche 918 Spyder or the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder were the most powerful cars that the Group produced, but after production of the Golf R Cabrio ceased, the Golf GTI Cabrio was the fastest car without a roof to come out of Wolfsburg.

Fact 7: 2012 heralds a meeting of two global brands – in the Golf GTI adidas

To quote the brochure: “Your personal trainer recommends 30 minutes of exercise every day. It’s lucky he didn’t tell you what to exercise with.” You had to be quick out of the blocks in 2012 to secure a Golf GTI adidas from the limited edition of 4,410. You could then settle into one of the sports seats embroidered with the “adidas” logo, with those three famous “adidas” stripes running down the middle.

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