Volkswagen GTI MK7

The story of the GTI has come full circle.

In 32 years of its presence in America, the GTI survived six generations as the original hot hatch. Once the wait was over for the GTI to come on this side of the ocean, it took on a life of its own. It won its share of awards, explored performance with various forms of power and made track heroes out of its enthusiasts.

Like most cars with a history such as the GTI’s, it had its ups and downs. Yet, there is one thing in common the GTI held true through six generations of history – it still held a special place in the hearts of its owners and fans.

The story is far from over. In 2014, a seventh edition of the GTI arrived. When it touched the ground, a new legend was born.

The Mk 7 GTI has been heralded as the best ever by any media outlet, blog or enthusiast that had a taste of it. It marked major improvements over the Mk 6 with a more solid MQB platform, a longer wheelbase, extensive suspension work, additional active and passive safety features and a new generation infotainment system. All of this is now wrapped in a new angular design, a highly improved instrument panel and switchgear all around.

Power continued to be provided by the 2.0 liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to either a six-speed manual or the DSG gearbox. It continues to top out at 210 horsepower – still the most powerful GTI ever. The driving dynamics were addressed in the GTI – now forming a balance between ride and handling with the option of drive modes that are customizable.

Two- and four-door models continue to be available, with three trims to choose from. The top of the line Autobahn model only comes in a four-door with the highest level of standard equipment available on any GTI in its history.

The response to the Mk 7 was phenomenal. The result was winning two of the most important automobile awards in this country within its first few months of sale – the Motor Trend Car of The Year and the North American Car of The Year.

The journey has begun for the seventh generation GTI. After 32 years it remains one thing above all – original.