For nearly three decades, the Volkswagen GTI has represented a potent combination of sports car-like finesse and tuned driving excitement in a versatile hatchback design. The all-new 2010 GTI ushers in the sixth generation of Volkswagen’s “hot hatch” lineage, and continues the evolution of an award-winning formula that has impressed driving enthusiasts across the globe.
With its fully redesigned exterior, including a more aggressive front end, cleaner side profile, and sleeker hatch area, the GTI upholds its sporty nature. New interior enhancements help set the GTI apart not only from the competition, but also previous generations, and allow both the driver and passengers to enjoy total control and comfort. Starting at $23,290, the 2010 GTI stays true to its heritage by providing a dynamic driving experience at an affordable price, and is ready to reward its owners with every start of the ignition.
As an icon heading into the next decade, the 2010 GTI two and four-door models take a number of styling cues from the original Mk I, as well as the more recent past, and revitalizes them. In true GTI style, the more aggressive front end starts with the hallmark black honeycomb grille with the GTI badge on the passenger side, and the distinct red stripe outline, which flows into the new angled teardrop headlight housings (High Intensity Gas-discharged Xenon headlamps with AFS are optional). lower front fascia’s cooling duct is blacked out. A more streamlined profile continues heading toward the rear, with a more subtle pair of black side skirts that only run partially along the GTI’s lower edge, and the absence of any side moldings. In the rear, newly-shaped taillights integrated into the quarter panels and hatch include smoked red brake lenses that are underlined by clear reverse and turn signal lenses. Blended into the updated rear bumper are red running lamp lenses, along with a blacked out diffuser with special cutouts for the chrome-tipped, split dual-exhaust. Low-profile all-season performance tires are standard. Summer performance tires are an available option. Atop the rear hatch is a body color duckbill spoiler, which houses the third brake light.
The GTI comes standard with 17 x 7-inch alloy wheels wrapped in allseason performance tires, and can be upgraded to larger 18 x 7.5-inch versions with either all-season or summer performance tires to match. A full-power tinted glass sunroof is also available as an option.
Engine and Transmission
Under the hood, the latest version of the GTI utilizes the acclaimed 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder gasoline engine, with FSI direct fuel injection and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters. Bred for smooth, top-notch performance, the engine features an advanced, fully-electronic management system that combines drive-by-wire throttle control and FSI direct fuel injection to cut back on emissions while increasing overall fuel efficiency and power.
Producing 200 horsepower at 5,100 rpm, and 207 lbs.-ft. of torque from 1,800 all the way up to 5,000 rpm, the GTI’s 2.0-liter engine is prepared to take to the road with force. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, the GTI can go from a zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, and on to an electronically limited 130 mph top speed. Power delivery remains smooth and direct across the rpm range, allowing for a swift, 7.5 second run from 37 to 62 mph in fifth gear, and finishes with a redline of 6,500 rpm. In terms of fuel economy, the 2.0T engine and six-speed manual transmission deliver an EPA-estimated 31 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg in city driving.
For drivers who want the performance of a traditional manual transmission with the precision and ease of use of an automatic gearbox, the GTI is available with an optional automatic Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG®) transmission. This technologically advanced six-speed transmission incorporates an automatic dualclutch system that instantly engages and disengages gears without the need for a clutch pedal. With a special computer controlling the process, one clutch is engaged on the next gear needed while the clutch from the previous gear is released. The results are crisp, quick shifts without the loss of power that is experienced with a traditional manual gearbox, and the ability for the GTI to reach 60 mph in 6.7 seconds from a standstill. The 2010 GTI’s fuel economy is improved when equipped with the DSG transmission, which attains an EPAestimated 32 mpg in highway driving, and 24 mpg in city driving.
Those owners who opt for the DSG transmission can switch between full automatic operation, which requires no additional action beyond moving the gear shift lever to the “D” position, and automated manual operation, which enables the driver to control every gear change. Volkswagen Tiptronic® lets the driver shift up and down as he prefers, using either the finger-operated paddles mounted to the GTI’s steering wheel, or by tapping the gearshift selector up or down. As an added performance bonus with the DSG transmission, a Launch Control program can be enabled, which, when the car is stopped, allows the engine to build revs before the first clutch is engaged, and creates a more perfect launch with controlled wheel-spin.
Chassis and Suspension
To ensure all of the GTI’s power makes its way to the road, a fully independent, European-tuned suspension is employed at all four corners to provide drivers with the confidence they demand on even the most challenging roads and conditions. At the front, McPherson struts with lower control arms are complemented by a tubular anti-roll bar to keep the front tires planted, especially in the corners, and connect to an all-aluminum sub-frame to reduce unsprung mass. The track-stabilization steering roll radius cuts back on body roll in tight turning situations, and has a more direct steering ratio for improved driver feedback.
Keeping the car settled at the rear without sacrificing passenger comfort, a four-link independent setup with the springs and shock absorbers positioned apart from each other are matched with a separate sub-frame and another
tubular anti-roll bar. The sport-tuned arrangement comes with an added benefit – increased cargo space – by allowing for a larger rear hatch opening. Helping the GTI to head into the corners with ease is an electro-mechanical
power rack-and-pinion steering system. With good on-center feel, confidenceinspiring responsiveness to driver input at all positions, active-return steering, and straight-ahead driving correction assistance, the system seamlessly unites the GTI and its driver.
Bringing the GTI to a halt are vented 312mm x 25mm disc brakes at the front, and solid 286mm x 12mm disc brakes at the rear, all with red-painted calipers that can be seen through the new 17 x 7-inch alloy wheels.
Active and Passive Safety
The 2010 GTI comes with standard with a collection of safety features and enhancements, including a three channel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Anti-slip Regulation (ASR), Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), Engine Braking Assist (EBA), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP®). Like all 2009 model year Volkswagens ESP comes standard on all 2010 model year vehicles, ahead of the U.S. government’s mandate that by 2012, all vehicles produced will need to have some form of Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
New for the sixth generation GTI is a standard Electronic Limited Slip system that Volkswagen has named XDS. The system electronically monitors input from various wheel sensors and, in the event of slippage, transfers extra torque to the wheel or wheels with the most traction.
Like all Volkswagens, the GTI also includes the Prevent and Preserve Safety System, consisting of 40 standard safety features. As standard equipment, the GTI includes, but is not limited to: Six airbags (dual front, dual front side thorax, and side curtains), optimized head restraints, front seatbelt pretensioners with load limiters, and three-point safety belts in all five seating positions (two front and three rear). In the four-door GTI, rear side airbags are available as an option, as are rear outboard safety belts with pretensioners and load limiters.
The 2010 GTI continues its performance showcase inside the cabin, with accommodations that will delight both driver and passengers. Heavily bolstered front seats are wrapped in patterned sport fabric with red and white doublestitching throughout, come standard with eight-way manual adjustment, adjustable lumbar support and head restraints, and are heated. On two-door models, both front seats incorporate the Easy Entry System for improved access to the rear seating area. The three-spoke flat bottom steering wheel has been upgraded with an embossed center section, aluminum trim on the spokes, red stitching, and perforated leather along the top and bottom sections for better grip.
The instrument panel has also been redesigned, with chrome trim surrounding the large tachometer on the left, which incorporates a smaller, integrated engine temperature gauge as well as the matching speedometer on the right, which features an integrated fuel gauge. Standing between the black analog gauges is a multi-function onboard computer display that provides the driver with key information regarding the fuel mileage, odometer, and more.
Metallic highlights continue throughout the interior, gracing the gearshift knob, the trim inserts and the pedal cluster, and brushed-metal accents add a sense of sophistication to the HVAC controls and stereo unit.
The GTI comes standard with an 8-speaker sound system with an AM/FM/Sirius™ satellite radio, touch-screen in-dash six-disc CD changer with MP3 format readability, theft deterrence, auxiliary input jack along with an iPod® adapter, and Bluetooth™ connectivity for hands-free calling with a paired mobile phone.. For increased audio fidelity and enjoyment, the 300W Dynaudio Lite premium sound system can be ordered.
The GTI’s Autobahn options package for both the two and four-door models adds top sport front seats, leather seating surfaces front and rear, and a power sunroof. Owners can also order their 2010 GTI with a touch-screen navigation system that includes a 6.5” high resolution display, integrated 30GB hard drive (10GB for navigation, 20GB for audio), WMA / MP3 audio CD playback, DVD playback, an SD memory card slot, a 3.5mm auxiliary input jack in the center console. The system provides both visual and audible commands through the center console display, as well as the digital display located in the instrument cluster.
The 2010 GTI comes standard with 24-hour Roadside Assistance for three years or 36,000 miles (whichever occurs first), plus the following new vehicle warranties:
• Five-year / 60,000 mile (whichever occurs first) Powertrain Limited Warranty
• Three-year / 36,000 mile (whichever occurs first) New Vehicle Warranty
• 12-year unlimited distance Limited Warranty against corrosion perforation
The GTI, like all 2010 model year Volkswagens, is included in the nocharge Carefree Maintenance Program. Under this program, all of the GTI’s scheduled maintenance, as described in the maintenance booklet, is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Warranty – three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Additionally, all current Volkswagens, including the GTI, use synthetic oil, which, when combined with state-of-the-art German engineering, eliminates the need for a 5,000 mile oil change. This ultimately allows for all current Volkswagen owners to driver farther between scheduled oil changes.