VW Golf GTI Concept
The fifth generation Golf was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in October of 2003 and went on sale in Europe one month later. It was not released in the U...More »
VW Golf GTI Concept
The fifth generation Golf was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in October of 2003 and went on sale in Europe one month later. It was not released in the United States until January of 2006, however, and then only in GTI form through the spring of 2006. For the presentation of the new Golf, Wolfsburg was renamed "Golfsburg" for a week. Before the North American launch of the Golf in June of 2006, Volkswagen of America announced the decision to rebrand the Golf and return the Rabbit nameplate to the U.S. and Canadian markets. It continues to be sold in Europe as Golf. Volkswagen of America is promoting the cost economy and native manufacture in Wolfsburg, Germany. Most print ads for the Rabbit show the old Rabbit badge (a running rabbit, commonly recognized by most Americans) with the phrase "It's back, at $14,990." TV ads show Rabbits chasing after each other with their numbers increasing until they fill the streets of a city, a sort of double entendre on the phrase "multiplying like rabbits".
Design and engineering
While the interior quality of the previous model startled rivals and led most of them to up their game in revised/replacement models, the astonishing chassis and all round ability of the Mk I Ford Focus startled Volkswagen (and indeed other rivals). In order to counter criticisms of the average dynamics of the previous model, it is widely reputed that Volkswagen poached from Ford the engineering team who designed the multi-link 'control blade' rear suspension system of the Ford Focus, widely regarded as the class benchmark for ride and handling. Indeed, the rear suspension of Golf V (a modified wishbone arrangement) bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the Focus.
The suspension changes, along with careful tuning of the chassis, led to the Mk V Golf delivering road manners which challenged the Ford Focus, and although the chassis ability was only just short of the Focus', the overall ability of the rest of the car led to the Mk V Golf being the best car in its class until the Mk 2 Ford Focus arrived in 2004.
The bulletproof interior quality of the previous generation appears to have been lost, and although still of a very high standard and ahead of other rivals the Golf no longer matches its in-house rival, the Audi A3. Many believe the reason for this step back in quality, also seen in the Mk V Passat of 2005, is to allow daylight between the marketing and price positioning of Audi and Volkswagen products. The previous generation Volkswagens were on a par with their Audi cousins.
The Golf V has proven expensive to build - largely due to its uncommonly long 50-hour build time. According to multiple reports in the European press, its replacement is thus likely to be rolled out in 2008, a good two years earlier than originally scheduled. This means that the production run of the US version of the Mark V - the Rabbit, introduced only in 2006 two years after its world debut - is likely to have an uncommonly short production run.
Options for engines and transmissions vary from country to country, but the Golf is available in petrol 4-cylinder and a new PD diesel unit-injector turbo direct injection engine. Transmission options include manual, automatic, Tiptronic, and direct-shift gearbox (DSG). North American-spec Rabbits will use the same 150 hp 2.5 L five-cylinder gasoline engine that powers the Jetta and New Beetle in these markets. North American transmission choices will include a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic. All of the Golf's engines, including the VR6, have the engine mounting points in the same place, making it possible to remove one engine and replace it with another while making few other modifications to the car.
In December 2004, Volkswagen announced the Golf Plus variant of the Golf V. It is taller than the standard Golf, but 15 cm shorter than the other compact MPV of the marque, the seven-seater Touran. The Plus would replace the Variant station wagon in the Golf lineup, although a Variant may yet be released.
There will be no convertible version of the Golf V, as the Eos coupé convertible (introduced in Spring 2006) will be marketed as a separate model and the New Beetle convertible makes a droptop Golf redundant. The Eos does not share body panels with any other Volkswagen model, although it is based on the Jetta/Golf platform.
The Golf V GTI is hailed as a return-to-form for the progenitor of the genre. The Golf GTI features a 2.0 litre turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine with FSI (Fuel Stratified Injection) direct-injection technology, which produces 200 bhp. It is available in both 3-door and 5-door hatchback body shapes, and comes with a choice of either 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic DSG gearbox which greatly reduces shift time to only 8ms . The concept GTI was first shown to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003. The first production model was initially unveiled at the Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris in September 2004 and went on sale around the world shortly thereafter. At the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2006 the GTI made its long awaited North American debut in 3-door guise. The new GTI has a considerable increase in price over the previous model, mainly due to the features mentioned above and the fact that the exterior itself had not seen such a dramatic aesthetical change in years. The innovative DSG transmission and the 200bhp engine all helped raise the retail price of the car.
In late September 2005, the R32 went on sale in Europe. It features a 3.2 L V6 FSI engine with 250 hp (184 kW) and reaches a top speed of 250 km/h. Going from 0 to 100 km/h will take a brisk 6.5 s, reduced to 6.2 s with the direct-shift gearbox. As with the previous R32; there is 4MOTION all wheel drive through 18" Zolder 20-spoke alloy wheels. Stopping the R32 comes in the form of blue-painted brake calipers with 345 mm discs at the front and 310 mm disks at the rear.
After much speculation, information on the Golf R36, the Golf V's high-end flagship, began to leak in April 2006. It will get the 3.6 litre V6 engine from the Passat, and cost around £1,500 more than the R32. With 19-inch wheels based on the Lamborghini Gallardo's, it is expected to race from 0 to 60 in 6 seconds. It keeps the R32's 4MOTION, but suspension changes are expected to make it more driver-focused, and less refined. A March 2007 launch is expected.
In September 2005, the Golf V GT was announced, which featured a 1.4 L engine in a new and impressive twincharger configuration. This new TSI engine is based on the recent FSI, but with a pair of chargers forcing the induction of the air. The chargers are a single supercharger that disengages after a specified rev-range, at which point charging of the air is handled by a single turbocharger. This system could benefit from both of the efficiency of the supercharger in the lower rev ranges, with the longevity of the turbocharger higher in the rev range. This results in no turbo lag, constant power deliverly along the rev range, and better fuel efficiency than similarly powered V6 2.4 L due to its small size.
The initial American ad campaign for the GTI featured the "fast", which Volkswagen says is the feeling and force inside you that likes driving and encourages your driving passion, with the tagline "Make friends with your fast". However, recently those ads were replaced with a series of ads starring Peter Stormare as a "German engineer" hired to "un-pimp ze auto" by taking tuner cars and smashing them, giving their owners a GTI instead. The slogan for the campaign is "Pre-tuned by German engineers", however it has been Stomare's lines of "VDub: representing Deutschland!" and "V-Dub: German, engineering, in da haus!", delivered with a stilted German accent and coupled with a "VDub" hand motion, that have popularized the ads.
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