SINCE it hit its straps in 2004 with the arrival of the MkV, the Volkswagen Golf GTI hasnít looked back, going on to become to the past decade what the Subaru WRX was to the í90s.
And if this leaves the valuepacked, quick, fun, comfortable, practical GTI with the same problem the Subie once had Ė that itís too common for the individualistic enthusiast Ė the GTI 40 Years edition might just provide the answer.
The fact alone that 100 manual gearbox versions, due in September, will come as part of the 500-only limited edition run might make it the pick over the $2500-cheaper GTI Performance, though youíll have to be quick.
Like, if your order isnít already in, you mightíve missed out.
Essentially, the 40 Years adds a catalogue of hot bits from the GTI Performance and Golf R Ė and some new ones Ė to create a uniquely appealing package.
The GTIís EA888 turbo-petrol 2.0-litre four-cylinder is treated to a larger ícharger, still with an electronic wastegate that lets the ECU manipulate the boost curve for hard-hitting low-rev response and a sweetly linear top end.
With a boost increase, tuning changes, and an overboost that sees peak power and torque crest 213kW (and 380Nm) for 10 seconds when flat-footed in third through sixth gears, it out-does a Golf R in the power-to-weight stakes, though without AWD, it isnít officially as quick, at 6.3sec 0-100km/h.
The rest of the time the 40 Years has 195kW/350Nm and a more urgent, fruitier delivery than any other GTI Ė even the upchange farts, delivered via bigger twin tailpipes, are fuller.
No sticker pack, then, but it does have some to signify its special 40 Years status, along its lower flanks.
With Unique ĎRubyí 19-inch alloys, a specific front fascia with brake cooling gills, Golf R tail-lights, a new rear bumper with a diffuser, and a more pronounced two-piece rear spoiler, itís a more visually arousing machine than the standard, discreet, GTI.
But for those fond of quiet country roads or track-days, the best bits include big brakes, a mechanically variable steering rack, the electronically controlled multi-plate LSD that keeps torque steer and wheelspin to a minimum, while bringing a delicious, nose-pointing vectoring of torque, and adaptive dampers that provide an adept balance of ride, wheel and body control and a choice of modes.
It all combines to make the GTI 40 Years feel special. Itís a concerted stride closer to a Megane RS, if, ultimately, a step short of the benchmark Renaultís connection, control, involvement and liveability compromises. ts, fuser, o-
Even greater steering/chassis connection would make it perfect Extra torque, speed and character; manual d gearbox availability Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Kerb weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Volkswagen Golf GTI 40 Years 1984cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v turbo 195kW @ 5350-6600rpm 350Nm @ 1700-5600rpm 6-speed dual-clutch 1357kg 6.3sec (claimed) 7.1L/100km $48,990 Now
Alcantara door inserts tie in to the 40ís tactile tiller, while honeycomb seat fabric sets this special edition apart.
Adaptive cruise control, a front assist system with an emergency city brake function, a blind-sport monitor, and a rear crosstraffic alert system are standard in the $46,990 sixspeed manual package; the dual-clutch transmission adds $2000. The only option offered is a panoramic glass sunroof at $1850.