Volkswagen have just launched their Golf GT in Australia so it seems appropriate to provide some background to this new Golf and it’s rather unique engine. The Golf GT is not brand new having first come to light in late 2005 but it has taken a while to find its way down to Australia.
If you’re familiar with the current VW Golf range then there are no real suprises. It looks like any other 2007 Golf, is no doubt beautifully made (like all VW’s) and like all Golfs (Except R32) it is a FWD four-cylinder.
The interesting thing about the VW Golf GT is that it combines a small capacity direct injection four-cylinder of just 1.4-litres with a turbo-charger and super-charger. VW have dubbed it the “Twincharger” or TSI engine and it was good enough to win engine of the year in its class in 2006 and 2007.
The compact power unit develops 125kW at 4500rpm and 240Nm at 1750rpm. It endows the Golf GT with the ability to scramble from 0-100km/h in 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 220 km/h. Its considerable torque (given its capacity) makes the engine feel like a higher-volume naturally aspirated engine, while the possibility of driving with fewer gearshifts keeps the overall fuel consumption down to a frugal 7.2 l/100 km (39.2 mpg).
Volkswagen believe that the combination of exhaust turbo-charging with an automatically switched, high-speed mechanical supercharger develops the same torque as a high volume naturally aspirated engine while using less fuel.
Generally, engines that use only a turbo-charger to increase power suffer from varying degrees of turbo-lag. As the turbo unit relies on exhaust gas to rotate the compressor blades there is a lack of power at low revs until the turbo ‘spins up’ to operating speed increasing the level of boost. This lack of power and torque at low revs is referred to as ‘lag’. There are many variables that increase or decrease lag such as the size of the turbo and turbo design.
Superchargers like turbos are compressors but they are driven by the engine (belt driven from the crankshaft usually) and provide boost pressure from idle. Volkswagen by combining the two technologies has sought to eliminate turbo lag while getting the best of both worlds from the two different types of forced induction systems…and that’s quite clever.
The new (to Australia) Volkswagen Golf GT will be available with the choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) which is reported to be excellent. The Golf GT will slot nicely into the current Golf range between the 2.0-litre FSI and 2.0-litre turbo-charged GTi Golf models.
Expect the VW Golf GT to give its nearest rivals a good shake-up by combining class leading power and fuel efficiency in the one package. Pricing starts at $34,990 for the standard 6-speed manual and up to $37,290 if you tick the 6-speed DSG option box as no-doubt many will. VW have designed the ‘Twincharger’ engine with DSG in mind so expect the combination to work well together.
The GT comes with some impressive standard kit for the money including:
• Dual front airbags
• Dual front side airbags
• Front and rear curtain airbags
• ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)
• EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution)
• ESP (Electronic Stability Program)
• TC (Traction Control)
• Three spoke leather steering wheel with GT badge
• 17” BBS alloy wheels
• Sport tuned suspension
• Sport front bucket seats
• Dual-zone climate control
• 6-stack CD player
• Central locking
• Cruise control
• Trip computer
• Heated mirrors
• Engine immobilizer
If you're looking for a car that offers a combination of spirited driving and frugal fuel consumption then the Golf GT should be on your short list for a test drive.