The managing director had a swipe at what the South Korean maker has described as unprecedented interest in the performance brand’s inaugural offering as well as berating others in the segment such as the Honda Civic Type R, Ford Focus RS and upcoming Renault Megane RS.
Volkswagen published a statement through media channels on Thursday reiterating the price points for its expanded range of Golf GTI and Golf R-based performance cars (which we covered in 2017), with Bartsch asserting that "there is now a performance Golf for everyone".
"Extraordinary claims are being made for supposed rivals that are not yet on sale,” he says.
“While any skunkworks can turn out a track day special, the expertise and experience required to engineer a GTI or an R – cars that also excel in the real world - is rather more hard won.
"When you've owned a GTI or an R, it's difficult to settle for anything less."
While the Hyundai and Renault are yet to go on sale most of the GTI’s natural rivals are already available. Based on one of the best-selling cars in the country, the turbocharged i30N has the potential to be a hit with Australian enthusiasts.
Volkswagen has released more affordable versions of its traditional performance cars which are now on sale as the $37,490 Golf GTI Original and $47,490 Golf R Grid.
Bartsch has a history of baiting rival brands, telling reporters in 2016 “I don't think anyone wakes up in the morning and goes 'I'm aspiring to own a Korean car’... but I think people still wake up in the morning going 'I would really like to own a Golf GTI'”.