With the automotive world enamored of hot hatchbacks more than ever, the car that started the craze — the Volkswagen GTI — has fallen behind the pack. To catch up, VW will reveal this update of the GTI in Geneva next week, promising more power, less weight and better fuel economy, with enough of all three to garner a few headlines.
Sticking with the formula of a turbocharged, 2-liter four-cylinder, VW says the new GTI will come with two power levels —220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque in standard trim, up from 200 hp in the current version, or a 230-hp edition in a special Euro-only upgrade. During the redesign, VW found some way to shed 138 lbs. from the car's weight, and claims that with a six-speed manual and a new stop-start system, the GTI will achieve 39 mpg.
We're three years away from the 40th anniversary of the first Golf GTI in 1976, and while its fans remain legion, their numbers have been dwindling as Ford, Toyota, Mazda and even Hyundai offer newer variations on the GTI's theme, often at a lower price. VW didn't say when the new GTI would come to the United States or at what sticker price, but after four decades, the race won't be getting any easier.