- Competes with: Mini Cooper S, Mazdaspeed3, Subaru Impreza WRX
- Looks like: VW showed a lot of restraint when styling its performance hatch
- Drivetrain: 200-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with six-speed manual or automatic; front-wheel drive
- Hits dealerships: Fall 2009
Volkswagen's performance-oriented GTI hatchback receives styling updates inside and out for 2010, but its turbocharged drivetrain lives on from the previous model. When it hits dealerships in the fall, it will be available in two- and four-door hatchback form.
Typical of VW performance models, there aren't any overly done exterior modifications to separate the GTI from the less powerful Golf. There are, however, a number of small tweaks that help give the car its own look. The front-end styling is more imposing thanks to a large mesh lower grille and a thin mesh upper grille that's highlighted by red striping and a GTI badge. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard, and 18-inch rims are optional. In another change from the previous GTI, the car's dual tailpipes are set apart from each other near the edges of the bumper, whereas before they exited the bumper together.
Front bucket seats with large side bolsters go into the GTI's cabin, which also features a meaty steering wheel with red stitching. There's more red thread on the gear selector and parking brake handle, and the cabin also features new door interiors, new gauges and a new center control panel that houses the optional navigation system.
The changes keep the GTI contemporary in terms of its looks, but I'm surprised VW didn't take the opportunity to give it a little more power to keep pace with some of its competitors.More photos below.