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New Volkswagen Golf GTI concept powers into Paris Motor ShowVolkswagen’s all-new Golf is making its motor show debut this week in Paris, with the seventh-generation of the evergreen model displaying a new look plus new technology, engines, safety and infotainment features. But no Golf line-up would be complete without the iconic GTI.  That’s why Volkswagen has also revealed a concept of the GTI Golf on the stand alongside the standard hatchback.

The new Golf GTI, which is set to go on sale in mainland Europe in early 2013 and the UK in summer 2013, is powered by an advanced engine from the existing EA888 series: a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine with 220 PS (10 PS more than the current Golf GTI).  For the first time in the car’s history, the GTI will also be available, direct from the factory, with a ‘performance pack’ which will boost the car’s maximum power to 230 PS.

In the entry-level car with 220 PS, maximum torque has been increased by 70 Nm to 350 Nm – the same as the previous Golf R – which gives impressive flexibility and in-gear acceleration.  The new Golf GTI concept with 220 PS has a zero to 62 mph time of 6.6* seconds and a top speed of 153 mph; add the performance pack and maximum power rises to 230 PS, top speed to 155 mph, and the sprint time falls to 6.5 seconds.

Adding the 10 PS pack not only enhances performance but also handling, with front brake disc diameters increased, plus a front axle differential lock which reduces power-related understeer.

But the GTI’s power does not come at the cost of fuel economy or emissions.  Both GTI versions will be equipped with a standard Stop/Start system, and fulfil the EU-6 emissions standard that takes effect in 2014. With a six-speed manual gearbox, the GTI is set to return 47.1* mpg (an 18 per cent improvement over the Mk VI), with carbon dioxide emissions of 140 g/km.  A six-speed DSG gearbox is available as an option for both power levels.

Both GTI models also benefit as standard from a variable ratio steering system which, in essence, allows the driver toturn the car through a desired radius with smaller movements of the steering wheel.  While conventional steering systems work with a fixed ratio, the new Golf GTI operates with a variable steering ratio which reduces steering input perceptibly when manoeuvring and parking. On twisting country roads, the driver experiences a benefit in dynamics due to the more direct layout.

Naturally, the new Golf GTI also benefits from all the technological advances of the standard seventh-generation Golf, such as reduced weight, new safety systems including multi-collision brake and innovative infotainment systems.

The new Golf GTI concept is distinguished by numerous external and internal styling features, including red brake callipers, honeycomb grille with double red stripe detail, smoked LED rear lights and LED licence plate illumination and chrome 80 mm diameter tailpipes.  Inside, tartan sports seats, a flat bottomed steering wheel, GTI golf ball gear knob and GTI-specific red ambience lighting hark back to cars of previous generations while remaining completely up to date and refreshed for the new generation.

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