The GTI is one of the models that best represents Volkswagen’s special appeal with “drivers” seeking affordable German-bred performance at a great value. Ever since the Rabbit GTI hit US streets in the early 1980s, there have been many imitators and even a few contenders. But, there is only one original Pocket Rocket. Those who can’t wait will be rewarded with a standard features list that includes everything but the kitchen sink. Or, to use another phrase probably heard back in those early 1980s when the original GTI was introduced, it’s packed to the gills.
Similar to how it all started, the 2006 GTI is offered with a four-cylinder engine, the acclaimed Volkswagen 1.8T. This 1.8-liter turbocharged four cylinder has earned the respect of sport driving enthusiasts almost everywhere and has collected numerous engine accolades. More importantly, it has developed quite a following among brand enthusiasts. This will be Volkswagen’s last 1.8T offering for the GTI.
The Volkswagen 1.8T incorporates dual overhead camshafts, an aluminum alloy cross-flow cylinder head, five valves per cylinder, Motronic sequential multi-point fuel injection, and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters. Add your choice of a five-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic® driver-selectable gear shifting, and “It’s off to the races!”
The new GTI 1.8T unleashes 180 horsepower at 5,500 revolutions per minute and 173 lbs-ft of torque from 1,950 through 5,000 rpm. With the five-speed manual transmission, 60 miles per hour is a mere 7.5 seconds away from zero mph. The 2006 GTI also can turn in a respectable EPA fuel economy rating of up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway. Choose the automatic transmission and 0 to 60 mph takes about a second longer, with fuel efficiency of up to 29 mpg on the highway.
A sport suspension tuned realistically for the daily commute provides the driving dynamics expected in a German-engineered automobile without a teeth-jarring ride. Front and rear gas shocks with independent front McPherson struts and a track correcting torsion beam rear axle keep the car tracking straight and smoothly. Front and rear stabilizer bars and power-assisted rack and pinion steering deliver stable cornering. A perfected strut layout minimizing drive-force influences and 225/45H all-season radial tires smooth the daily grind.
Power-assisted, dual circuit four-wheel disc brakes with 88 x 25 mm vented front discs and 232 x 9 mm solid rear discs help with performance and control. A four-wheel Anti lock Braking System with electronic brake pressure distribution and Anti-Slip Regulation traction control are standard.
An Electronic Stabilization Program with brake assist has been added as standard equipment on the 2006 GTI. The Electronic Stabilization Program uses sensors to monitor the need to automatically help intervene to stabilize the car when it is being driven near its performance limits. It also will correct over- and under-steer that may occur during emergency maneuvers, for example.
Part of the “fun” of the original GTI was its stealth; it didn’t look all that different than its less quick “three-door” cousins. But those who knew the difference always would say, “That’s one hot hatch!"
The new GTI is like that, too. From the outside, it isn’t all that different looking than a Golf. Only one GTI badge is visible, on the rear deck. A sharp eye will pick up other clues, like dual visible exhaust tailpipes and darkened tail lamps.
Up front, the new GTI borrows from good stock, its Golf relatives. A family crease in the engine hood flows loosely in a “V” from outboard at the windshield into the frame of the grille. At the outer edges, the hood rises smoothly to the fenders, which house large, amoeba shaped headlamp and turn signal assemblies that reach back and up onto the fenders.
Inside, the 2006 GTI includes heatable sport seats with an “Easy Entry System” that moves the front seat forward for easier rear-seat entry and exit, a three-spoke padded leatherwrapped steering wheel, leather shift knob and handbrake grip, and chrome accents.
A “Leather Package” includes leather seating surfaces, adjustable lumbar
support for driver and front passenger seats and molded door trim with smooth
inserts. A “Luxury Package” adds a power sunroof and Monsoon® Sound System.
Like all Volkswagens, the GTI comes standard with dual front and side (thorax) airbag supplemental restraints for the driver and front passenger. Side Curtain Protection® also is standard and covers the middle pillar and side-glass for added protection for front and rear passengers.
For added assurance, all new Volkswagen automobiles are backed by 24-hour Roadside Assistance for four years with unlimited mileage. For added owner peace of mind, a comprehensive package of new car warranties include:
• Five-year/60,000 mile (whichever occurs first) Powertrain Limited Warranty
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