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All-new, faster Golf GTI unleashed

We've already seen the concept car, but now Volkswagen has pulled the covers off the seventh-generation Golf GTI in showroom guise and it's barely changed.

While this iconic hot hatch hasn't elevated itself to the battleground occupied by the Megane RS, OPC and friends (Golf R will pick that fight) the new one is still slightly more powerful than the 155kW Golf 6 GTI and the latest 2-litre direct injection turbopetrol offers two power levels on international markets.

Sadly, South Africa will only get the 162kW base model when the new GTI docks here early in the third quarter of this year. Overseas customers will also get the option of a 'Performance' model that pushes 169kW. Both versions have a maximum torque output of 350Nm, an increase of 70Nm.

Against the clock, the standard GTI should take 6.5 seconds to get to 100km/h, making it 0.4 seconds quicker than today's GTI, and you'll get an extra 5km/h out of the new one - with the top speed listed at 245km/h.

The Performance GTI gets to 100km/h 0.1 seconds quicker and also has larger brake discs and a mechanical front limited-slip differential.

Both versions of the GTI are said to be 18 percent more efficient than the current one, with a claimed combined figure of 6.0 litres per 100km in the case of the six-speed manual models and 6.4 l/100km for the six-speed DSG.

Remaining faithful to last year's concept car, the GTI stands apart from the Golf family with a unique front bumper design, distinctive LED headlights, a red strip running across the grille and into the headlights, side sills, rear diffuser and smoked LED rear lights.

Overseas models will offer a choice between 17-inch 'Brooklyn' and 18-inch 'Austin' alloy wheels.

The three-door GTI shown in the pictures won't be coming to South Africa; as before we'll get the five-door, for which no pictures are available yet.

The new GTI's cabin is decked out with a unique sports steering wheel, gear lever and instrument cluster as well as stainless steel pedal caps, black roof lining and red ambience lighting.

VW has announced that prices in Germany will start at 28 350 euros (R328 000); but the South African invoice will only be scribbled closer to the on-sale date.

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