With some time to go before the latest Golf GTI comes to South Africa, VWSA offers performance versions of its subcompact in the form of both diesel and petrol versions of the Golf 5 Sportline.

With some time to go before the latest Golf GTI comes to South Africa, VWSA offers performance versions of its subcompact in the form of both diesel and petrol versions of the Golf 5 Sportline.

VW's hottest hatch, the GTI, has an aggressive honeycomb grille, imposing 18-inch alloys and a four-cylinder turbo-charged 2,0-litre FSI engine, which produces 150 kw at 5 300 r/min and 284 N.m at 1 800 N.m. VW claim the GTI will zip from zero to 100 km/h in 7,5 seconds and reach a top speed of 225 km/h. However, it will only become available in South Africa in March next year.

But until then, for those who cannot wait to get their hands the hottest Golf 5, VWSA has launched the Sportline versions to appease aficionados' performance appetites in the interim.

Available in both diesel and petrol derivatives, the Sportline version should appeal to a wide range of consumers.

The 2,0 TDI Sportline pushes out 103 kw at 4 000 r/min and 320 N.m at only 1 750 r/min, while taking 9,3 seconds to reach 100 km/h from a standing start. Its top speed is claimed to be a hasty 203 km/h.

Volkswagen's next Sportline offering is the 2,0 FSI Sportline which produces 110 kw at 6 000 r/min and 200 N.m of torque at 3 500 r/min.

Armed with FSI (Fuel Stratified Injection) to make fuel injection and combustion more efficient, the 2,0-litre petrol version accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 8,9 seconds and is capable of reaching a top speed of 206 km/h.

Drive is transmitted to the front wheels via a new six-speed Sportline manual gearbox and apart from the Golf's regular base specification; the Sportline also receives an upgraded interior and exterior.

Equipped with safety features like ABS, ASR and EBD, the Sportline boasts bigger and wider 16-inch wheels as standard, with a more athletic 17-inch available as an option.

On the inside, subtle touches like the leather gearknob, boot and handbrake levers and titanium-coloured dash inserts are evident. Customers have a choice of Burr Walnut wood inserts as well as body-hugging sports seats with leather trim as an option.

Along with its stiffer body construction, the Golf Sportline's ride height is lower by 15 mm.

The diesel Sportline requires services at every 15 000 km and oil changes at 7 500 km while the 2,0 FSI needs servicing every 15 000 km. Both models come with Volkswagen's three-year/120 000 km warranty, a five-year/60 000 km Automotion maintenance plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.

Prices for the 2,0 TDI Sportline and 2,0 FSI Sportline are R 227 820 and R 209 200 respectively.