With legacy comes prestige. With forty years of delivering unmatched performance under its belt, the Volkswagen Golf GTI line has launched Mark 7 in its prestigious tenure as Volkswagen’s sports car golden boy. Perhaps surpassed only by the iconic Beetle, the Golf GTI looks to be the leader of Volkswagen’s style and performance.

On February 26, this hatchback was launched to the public in a blaze of glory and fireworks at the VW showroom on 28th Street, BGC. Test drives, cigars, beer, and good food rightly accompanied the event. Volkswagen PH President John Philip Orbeta and Chief Operating Adviser Klaus Schadewald were present for the event to give their introductory remarks to the Golf GTI. Quoting Oscar Wilde, Mr. Schadewald says “life is about creating yourself and that is what the Golf GTI is all about.”

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VW PH Chief Operating Adviser Klaus Schadewald (left) and VW PH President John Philip Orbeta (right).

GTI stands for “Grand Tourer Injection.” Equipped with a 2.0 turbocharged stratified injection engine, the Golf GTI lives up to its name. It can churn out 220 Ps at 4,500-6,200 rpm and a maximum torque of 350 Nm at 1,500-4,400 rpm. That’s 100 kph at only 6.4 seconds. It is further armed with a 6-speed dual shift gear transmission and sports suspension. An acceleration test proved the mettle of its power. Putting the pedal to the metal barreled the Golf GTI along 28th Street in no time at all.

What speeds up often slows down. After an initial burst of acceleration, participating test drivers were encouraged to brake as hard as possible. Braking to a full stop while barreling through a straightaway isn’t an innate response, but as George Apacible, who organized the makeshift racetrack, said, “don’t baby the car.” True enough, the hot-hatch handled the brakes superbly. The car and the steering wheel doesn’t wobble at all. All that’s left are the sound of screeching tires and the smell of burnt rubber.

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The Golf GTI up for test drives.

Owe all this to the Golf’s Electronic Stability Program, Anti-Slip Regulation, Electronic Differential lock with XDS technology, engine drag torque control, and electronic parking brake with auto hold. More safety features include rear assist camera with 8-channel park distance control, driver alert system, airbags (driver, passenger, driver’s knee, front side, and curtain).

Taking the Golf for a spin on the slalom course once again proved its amazing mettle. Turning was practically effortless. It was as light as a feather. Using the steering wheel was akin to swiping left and right on an Xbox Kinect. It goes exactly where you want it to go in the stablest of conditions.

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Inside and out.

As for exterior features, the Golf GTI comes with the GTI package of 18-inch Austin alloy wheels, bumpers, grille, tail lamps, and dual tailpipes; Bi-Xenon headlamps with daytime running lights; and, dynamic headlamp control. On the inside, it is stocked with GTI premium sports seats with “Clark” material, GTI steering wheel with paddle shifts; GTI shift knob, stainless steel pedals, scuff plates, and trim; keyless-go entry/exit with push statr; interior ambient lighting; and, a climatronic 2-zone air-conditioning system.

What may look like a sexy hatchback hides the powerhouse within. Fitted with the trademark Golf GTI honeycomb grille, the hot-hatch brings the ultimate balance between style and performance, clearly earning its name as practically the inventor of the hot-hatch line. It is available in five colors: Oryx White Pearl, Tornado Red, Night Blue, Limestone Grey, and Deep Black Pearl. The Golf GTI is priced at P2,290,000.