Launch pad: Volkswagen Golf GTI mk7

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When the mk1 VW Golf GTI was launched back in 1976 the car has defined a genre of fast hatchbacks that can thrill and excite, but still cut it with the likes of more luxurious and refined metal.

A consummate all-rounder, then? Well, that’s what I’m hoping to find out on the launch of this latest mk7 version with the hallowed boot badge.

With the new car, however, VW has pushed the GTI in two different directions. There are the standard 220hp car and a ‘GTI Performance’ version, costing £980 more but benefiting from an extra 10hp, bigger brakes, and VW’s new trick limited-slip differential – the latter should offer that little bit more focus for drivers who want it.

VW Golf GTI mk7
VW Golf GTI mk7

 

We’ll certainly be able to test if both variants still tick the traditional GTI boxes. We’ll be sampling the car on the track, as well as assessing its on-road ability. This is a car, which should cover all bases with aplomb. On the face of things at least, it has great potential to succeed.

Along with the extra performance – 0-62mph now takes a best of 6.4 seconds – the new car is equipped with stop-start as standard and is 18% more efficient than the vehicle it replaces.

Amazingly, despite the increase in performance the mk7 Golf GTI is actually five insurance groups lower than its predecessor, so it should be cheaper to run, too.

VW Golf GTI mk7 #2
VW Golf GTI mk7 #2

 

On paper then, the latest in a long line of VW Golf GTIs looks like it will be a stonking car. At £25,845 – only £195 dearer than the outgoing mk6 – it looks pretty appetizing.

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