40TH BIRTHDAYS are worth celebrating – a fact not lost on Volkswagen as they mark an important milestone for its enduring hot hatch; the Golf GTI. With a limited edition version about to hit showrooms, here’s seven things worth knowing about the Golf GTI Mk7 GTI 40 Years.
1. The tartan trim in the MkVI GTI was called Jacky, perhaps after Le Mans (and Bathurst) winner Jacky Ickx, though when we asked him in 2013 he said he had “no idea”. We didn’t get to the bottom of whether the ‘Clark’ trim tartan in the MkVII GTI is named after the late Jim, but we know for sure the 40 Years edition’s unique honeycomb fabric isn’t named after anyone.
2. Despite our excitement about a manual gearbox version in the 40 Years edition, global sales statistics suggest we Australians are among the most likely to choose a dual-clutch version.
3. The 40 Years edition is based on the GTI Clubsport offered in Europe. We get a unique name to keep local muscle outfit HSV sweet.
4. The original Golf GTI, which was conceived by a covert team of performance-obsessed engineers, was originally planned as a 5000-unit limited edition. Today, Volkswagen Australia sells more than 5000 Golfs in a quarter – a good chunk of them GTIs.
5. The unique 19-inch alloy wheels worn by the GTI 40 Years are called ‘Ruby’ in Australia, rather than ‘Brescia’ as they are known elsewhere. They were named by GTI fans via a Facebook campaign – the gemstone marks a 40th anniversary, and is the birthstone for the month of July, when the 40 Years edition was launched.
6. The overseas-market GTI Clubsport is offered as a three-door, though it’s possible to order a five-door. Conversely, the Aussie version comes as a five-door, but you can’t order a three door.
7. An overboost function takes outputs to 213kW and 380Nm, to make the 40 Years the most powerful GTI ever and the most potent MkVII, but only with the accelerator flat, in third, fourth, fifth or sixth, and for 10 seconds at a time.