VW’s new cult favourite on its way

Considered the original hot hatch, this feisty small car is as at home on your daily commute as it is having a blast on track.

A new generation of Volkswagen’s evergreen Golf hatchback is heading down under.

Arriving in showrooms from May, the small car is tech-heavy, with safety front and centre.

The new line-up is topped by the new Golf GTI — the brand’s cult hot hatch.

Power comes from a familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 180kW/370Nm, paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Both the engine and transmission are carried over from the previous version.

VW claims the GTI will drink 7L/100km and hit 100km/h from a standstill in 6.3 seconds.

Prices for the GTI start at $53,100 (before on-road costs), which is a decent jump over the previous version that could usually be had for just less than $50,000 drive-away.

But there are considerable tech advancements to justify the price rise.

A comprehensive suite of safety gear — dubbed IQ. Drive — has been included as standard. Included are auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, radar cruise control, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, park assist and driver fatigue detection.

VW’s new digital cockpit borrowed from the flagship Touareg SUV is included along with a giant 10-inch infotainment display.

Styling hasn’t been altered too much. The biggest updates are the large low honeycomb grille and air intakes, an led light bar stretching from each headlight to the centre VW logo and bold new 18-inch alloy wheels.

Inside the classic tartan cloth fabric upholstery remains and is joined by stainless steel pedals, ambient lighting and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Joining the GTI in showrooms in May is the regular Golf hatchback.

Prices for the three-tier range start at $29,350 (plus on-road costs) for the base manual Golf and rise to $37,450 for the fully-loaded R-Line version fitted with an automatic transmission.

All versions are powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine making 110kW/250Nm.

VW is also moving away from the controversial dual-clutch auto gearbox found in previous versions in favour of a conventional eight-speed automatic.

All variants are loaded with the IQ. Drive safety suite and all get a version of the brand’s digital cockpit, with the mid-tier Life and top-spec R-Line scoring the same set-up as the GTI.

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