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Seven GTI facts you need to know

It is often red, has checked seats and the tell-tale honeycomb grill - most people could tell you that much about the Golf GTI. We present seven cool facts we bet you did not know about this legend!

Fact 1: Four cylinders for the GTI engine

A GTI characteristic is that 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 - the Golf 1 was impressive by being able to go 0 to 100 km/h in just 9.2 seconds, with a maximum speed of 182 km/h (at a time when mid-range saloon cars struggled to hit the 160 km/h mark). The all-new Golf GTI has more than double the power - a mighty 245 PS! And not only that, it will keep pushing on until it reaches 250 km/h (electrically limited).

Fact 2: Unique rim designs 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. This is particularly important for the current top of the range 300 PS GTI, the Golf GTI Clubsport, which is available with the innovative Vehicle Dynamics Manager and the new "Nürburgring" driving profile. The optics are important too: almost 50 percent of the overall appearance of a car can be attributed to the rims, and the GTI has had plenty over the decades!

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

Anton Konrad, the head of the press department at Volkswagen then: "We were aiming for a sporty series Volkswagen series that was sporty and a bit understated, and had plans to only construct 5,000 of these cars - cars that you could use to go shopping or drive on the racetrack." Truth be told, the sales department was not particularly optimistic ahead of the IAA 1975, thinking that they would not even sell 500 units of the GTI.

And they were right ... because ultimately, it was not 500 Golf GTIs, but more than 2.3 million!

Fact 4: All about European aesthetics and comfort

It was star designer Giorgetto Giugiaro who designed the Golf in Turin. Herbert Schäfer, Volkswagen 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. 

Fact 5: The legendary three-spoke "spittoon steering wheel"

Ready to go: the all-new Golf GTI comes with a new multifunction sports steering wheel, complete with touch controls, perforated leather and GTI clasp. It still carries the same DNA of the original - the Golf 1 GTI came with a three-spoke steering wheel of similar style and Wolfsburg logo, and was affectionately dubbed the "spittoon steering wheel" by fans. It remains a collectors' item to this day.

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

On the Golf 6 GTI Cabrio, the electrohydraulic system opened the soft top in 9.5 seconds, and required eleven seconds to close 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: When two great brands get together, you get the Golf GTI adidas

The brochure said it all, "Your personal trainer recommends 30 minutes of exercise every day, good thing he didn't tell you what to exercise with."

You had to be super quick in 2012 to secure a Golf GTI adidas from the limited edition run of 4,410 units. A defining feature were the sports seats, embroidered with the "adidas" logo, and the famous three stripes running down the middle.

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