Volkswagen’s new Golf GTI has been crowned Car of the Year 2005 by BBC Top Gear. At a prestigious ceremony held at The Groucho Club in London last night, Jeremy Clarkson, who both hosts the popular television show and writes for the top-selling magazine, presented the award to Dr Bernd Pischetsrieder, Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen AG.
The awards represent the views of both the team on BBC 2’s Top Gear, the UK’s most watched motoring programme, and expert road testers at BBC Top Gear magazine, the country’s most popular motoring monthly.
The new GTI fought off tough competition to come out on top as Car of the Year. Clarkson, writing in the awards issue of Top Gear, was particularly impressed with the new turbocharged FSI powerplant: ‘The 2.0-litre engine is probably the strongest link of what’s a fairly unburstable chain. There’s no lag at all and even if you can’t be bothered to change gear, there’s always a bagful of torque on hand.’ He was also highly complimentary about the handling, steering, practicality and distinctive, yet subtle, styling.
‘The simple fact of the matter then is that no matter how you cut it, the Golf is either brilliant or excellent in every single area. It’s fast, it handles well, it’s easy to park, easy to run, socially acceptable anywhere, comfortable and well made to boot,’ Clarkson continued. Small wonder, then, that the new GTI took the winner’s place on the podium.
The new Golf GTI has received a rapturous reception from motoring experts in the run up to its UK launch in January, with glowing reviews and numerous group test victories. With evocative styling cues, sharp handling and brisk, aurally pleasing performance, the new generation is a deliberate hark back to the qualities that made the Mk I such a hit following its launch in 1976.
In summing up the reasons why the GTI took the coveted award, Clarkson wrote: ‘This new Golf is an absolute sensation.’
The 2.0-litre FSI 200 PS engine uses homogenous direct injection and turbocharging to achieve highly flexible power delivery - peak torque of 207 lbs ft is produced between 1,800 and 5,100 rpm. Yet despite this tractable quality, the new GTI is still exciting to take to the red line, where it produces lively performance.
Prices for the GTI start at £19,995 (RRP on the road), for the three-door with manual gearbox, rising to £21,820 for the five-door version with Volkswagen’s revolutionary DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) transmission. Full specification details and on-line ordering are available at www.newgolfgti.co.uk . A number of customers have already placed orders for their cars and will be taking delivery very soon. Retailers are also able to take orders and will have demonstration vehicles ready to try shortly.
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