Cape Town - The French can say what they like; in South Africa at least, the term ‘hot hatch’ is synonymous with Volkswagen, first with the Golf GTI, and latterly with the seriously smokin' Golf R.
And South Africans have bought into it; VWSA says that between them, the GTI and R make up more than half of all Golf sales in this country.
And now there’s a twist in the tale: launched this week along with the face-lifted, hotter-than-ever 2017 Golf R, is the only diesel-powered Golf 7 performance derivative to be released in South Africa - the Golf GTD.
Hottest diesel Golf ever
Powered by a comprehensively revised version of the two-litre EA288 turbodiesel four (which it shares with the Passat) rated at 130kW from 3600-4000 revs and 350Nm from 1500-3500rpm, it sprints off the line to 100km/h in a quoted 7.4 seconds and tops out at 230km/h. Even more impressively, the maker claims that it accelerate, in fifth gear, from 80-120km/h in 7.5 seconds.
Fuel consumption on the nominal NEDC test bench is quoted at 5.3 litres per 100km; real-world figures are likely to be significantly higher.
Visually, it’s very similar to the updated GTI that was released here in May, except for a signature chromed trim strip between the headlights, special 18 inch rims and dual chromed tailpipes under the left side of the rear bumper.
Now we come to the alpha male of the Golf family. The Golf R boasts 213kW and 380Nm between 1850 and 5300rpm from its two-litre TSI turbopetrol four, making it the hottest production Golf ever unleashed on South African roads.
It’ll launch off the line to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds, says the maker, thanks to a standard-issue launch control function and a new, quicker-shifting seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox.
It also looks the part, with LED head and tail lights in special bumpers, wide-spaced tailpipes and a choice of special 19 inch alloys.
In addition, you get a panoramic sunroof, active info display and selectable drive modes, including a special Sport display on the infotainment system that shows current engine power and G-forces.
A lap timer is standard on both the Golf R and GTD; adaptive chassis control is an option, as are all the gizmotronics you can get in the facelifted Golf, including the 23cm Discover Pro infotainment system with gesture control.
Resident boy racer and drifter extraordinare Jesse Adams was at the SA launch of the new gung-ho Golfs, stay tuned for his driving impressions.
|2.0 TDI GTD DSG||R506 700|
|2.0 TSI R DSG||R647 300|
These include a three-year or 120 000km warranty and a five-year or 90 00km service plan. Service intervals are 15 000km.