Volkswagen has been offering high-performance Golf diesels since 1982, but so far none have ever been offered in the U.S. market.
We’re hoping that will change with the arrival of the new MkVII Golf GTD, which makes its debut next month at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, though we’re not holding our breath just yet.
Volkswagen is reported to be seriously considering the possibility of a local launch, though nothing has been confirmed yet.
So what improvements does the MkVII Golf GTD bring over the outgoing MkVI model? Many.
Starting with its platform, the new Golf GTD benefits from all the advantages of the Volkswagen Group’s flexible MQB architecture. This means it’s roomier, lighter (to the tune of 220 pounds), more powerful and even more efficient than the model it replaces. We’d also argue it’s also considerably better looking.
The MkVII Golf GTD features a new EA288 TDI turbodiesel engine, which is rated at 184 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter engine delivers its peak torque from as little as 1,750 rpm, which should make the GTD very eager around town and possibly quicker off the line than some much more powerful cars.
Volkswagen says it’s enough to accelerate the car to 60 from rest in around 7.5 seconds and see it reach a top speed of 143 mph. By comparison, the MkVI model only puts out 168 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
The engine also meets the latest EU-6 emissions standard and when matched with a six-speed manual transmission will return up to 56 mpg on the European combined cycle. U.S. tests are a bit harsher, though EPA testing should still see the car deliver well in excess of 40 mpg combined. Interestingly, the good ol’ manual is more efficient than the optional six-speed DSG dual-clutch ‘box.
Being a hot hatch, the car also gets a sporty body kit, 17-inch alloy wheels, lowered suspension and chrome-tipped exhausts. The cabin also gets sports seats with GTI-inspired tartan trim, a sports steering wheel and metal pedals.
The car goes on sale in Europe this summer, following its official debut in Geneva on March 5. For our complete coverage of the upcoming event, click here for our dedicated show hub.