Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Volkswagen GTI Electric Car on Detroit Auto Show 2014

The most powerful Volkswagen Golf ever made its debut Monday at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With 290 horsepower on tap, the next-generation Golf R promises the power and performance to rival the Subaru STI while still offering Volkswagen refinement.
This latest GTI, which doesn’t go on sale in the U.S. until the first half of 2014, is similarly unflappable. Misjudge a decreasing-radius turn? No worries, the GTI has front-end grip for days, and the tail stays planted. And should you have really overcooked it, there’s a stability-control system that you can’t fully turn off anyway. Jab your big dumb right foot into the accelerator too aggressively on corner exit? No sweat. A trick optional electronically controlled, multiplate, limited-slip differential goes to work, guiding the GTI’s faceted nose without interrupting the power delivery. It is a model of decorum.
A new engine makes the new Golf R more powerful than ever, spinning out 290 horses, 34 more than the last version, and putting the Golf R in Subaru WRX WTI and Mitsubishi Evo territory. The new engine launches the car from 0 to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds when equipped with the optional DSG six-speed dual-clutch transmission or 5.3 seconds with the six-speed manual.
With the GTI’s quick, new progressive steering rack (2.1 turns lock-to-lock), this car never feels darty or unbalanced, even when pushed hard on the squirrelly hill roads in southern France where we tested European-market versions. The GTI simply says confidently, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this handled.” On the same roads, the Ford Focus ST, the GTI’s most direct competitor, would be hollering, “Woohoo!” and shaking its tail, possibly with its pants off. Which suits you better?
The familiar 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbo four-cylinder, the so-called EA888, is in its third generation already (if only VW had thought to coin the EcoBoost name all those years ago). The U.S. version of this torquey engine should be rated at 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s up 10 hp and 51 lb-ft compared with the old engine. It feels every bit as strong to us as does the Ford Focus ST’s 252-hp mill, yet the GTI doesn’t torque-steer like its competitors.
It’s solid, composed, and steady under power. You expected something different?
The next-generation Volkswagen Golf R goes on sale in the first quarter of 2015 as either a 2015 or 2016 model with a price likely approaching $40,000.