"[gallery link="file"] It was light, had it's engine just behind the driver's seats and looked if you squinted like a breadvan kit car from the future. But the original Lotus Europa holds a place close to our hearts because, "
VW Golf: GTi love
When I, the Golf GTi, first hit the scene in Frankfurt in ’75 I was pretty radical and, let me tell you, an instant hit.
I mean, a four-cylinder engine with fuel injection, 0-60 in 9 seconds, all packed into a small family hatch with an emphasis on drivability? I was a revelation.
OK, looking back the tartan trim and golf ball gear knob seems a little quirky now. But take a look at your own snaps; what’s with the long hair and tash, and man those side burns…
Fast forward now to 1984 when even Madonna was like a virgin. I’d had a restyle and had become the Mark II. A new chassis structure and more power saw my popularity and sales rise even higher.
Still, we can all improve and in ’87 I got an upgrade. I now had a 2 litre 8-valve engine and improved aerodynamics.
Here’s me as a Mark III in 1993 with my new 16 valve engine which meant I could now hit 133 mph and fly up to 60mph in 8.3 seconds. It would be another five years before my Mark IV incarnation; which, among other things, saw me in a diesel version as well as two new petrol engine variations.
But for me, and I think you’ll agree with me here, the halcyon days really came with the Mark V. Paris, 2004. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was the star of that show and no surprise; I mean, look at me. A brand new 2-litre T-FSI engine linked to a 6-speed gearbox. Now 15mm lower than before on new springs, dampers and anti roll bars. And guess what, that tartan trim was back, big style. What, that makes you laugh?
By the end of July 2012 another 2.85 million of my lesser badged brethren had been produced, based on the sixth generation of the car launched in 2008. By this time I was so rugged I passed the EuroNCAP crash test with flying colours, gaining the maximum five stars.
On 4 September 2012, Volkswagen celebrated the world premiere of my seventh generation. My weight was reduced by up to 100 kg, thereby reversing the often cited upward weight spiral. Surely I could have been forgiven some middle aged spread! I’m more frugal now, too – 23 per cent lighter on fuel in fact. The new Golf TDI BlueMotion consumes only 3.2 l/100 km (88.3 mpg) (equivalent to 85 g/km of CO2) under standard NEDC conditions.
My GTi moniker may be a little archaic these days – and perhaps it is time to hand over the elite title of the best selling VW ever to a younger, fresher pretender.
In the summer of 2013 the 30 millionth Golf was built. Will there ever be another GTi?
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