With the hot hatch segment experiencing something of a boom at the moment, it is only fitting that the car that started it all 21 years ago, Volkswagen’s Golf GTI, should get some extra firepower.

With the hot hatch segment experiencing something of a boom at the moment, it is only fitting that the car that started it all 21 years ago, Volkswagen’s Golf GTI, should get some extra firepower.

And extra firepower it sure has, thanks to an up-rated 1,8-litre turbocharged engine that now pushes out 132 kW at 5 600 r/min and 235 N.m of torque all the way from 1 950 to 5 000 r/min (up from 110 kW and 210 N.m). A close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox is a new addition to the package.

Volkswagen claims a top speed of 228 km/h and a zero-to-100 km/h sprint time of 7,9 seconds. So it’s no slouch then. But Volkswagen also claims that it will sip fuel at the rate of 8,4 litres/100 km.

The engine’s extra power comes from mainly a re-mapped ECU, increased turbo boost pressure and lower back-pressure exhaust system.

The rest of the package is familiar, but punters that opt for the stunning new 17-inch Santa Monica alloy wheel package at R5 780 will also get a slightly reworked and stiffened suspension. Brands Hatch 16-inche wheels are standard.

Standard equipment includes; Dual front airbags multifunction computer, alarm/immobiliser, selective central locking, lumbar support for the driver’s seat, climate control and an 8-speaker radio/tape.

The Golf GTI sells for R230 370, a price that includes the 5 years/60 000 km Automotion service plan. And, oh yes, the “I” in GTI is now finished in red.

The more powerful new Golf GTI is the first of a flood of new models from Volkswagen. Still coming this year is the addition of 10 new models into existing model ranges, of which six are either Golf or Jetta (GTI is the first of these). But the greatest excitement comes from the announcement that there will be five brand new model ranges.