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2013 Volkswagen GTI Overview

Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - December 27, 2012

The Volkswagen Gran Turismo Injection (GTI) was really the "original" hot hatchback, as it was released in 1976 as a trim level for the Golf. The GTI is still essentially still an upgraded Golf, as it enters the 2013 model year, but it is now considered its own model. The 2013 model year is basically a carryover year for the GTI, but there are a few minor changes afoot for this performance hatchback.

The changes for the 2013 model year include new rims to separate the mid-level trims from the high-level trims and a ball-shaped shifter knob on certain trim levels, giving the GTI a retro look and feel. All 2013 GTI models feature a 2.0-liter 16-valave TSI engine that pumps out a respectable 200 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque. The engine connects to a standard six-speed manual transmission, but there is the option of a DSG dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters. With the manual transmission, the GTI hits 60 mph in just 7.3 seconds and gets 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The DSG transmission gets it to 60 mph slightly quicker, and nets it 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. The 2013 GTI comes in four trim levels: 2-Door, 4-Door, 2-Door Autobahn and 4-Door Autobahn. The 2-Door and 4-Door models are basically base models of their respective format, offering the sporty look of a two-door model or the ease of access provided by a four-door model. The Autobahn trim levels add a touch of class to the GTI, by way of upgraded cabin materials, exclusive wheels and better audio.

Competition is plentiful for the 2013 GTI, as the hot hatchback market is definitely making a comeback in the U.S. The GTI’s first competitor is the 2013 Ford Focus ST, which features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that pumps out 252 horsepower, six-speaker sound system with iPod integration and a 6.2-second sprint to 60 mph. The Mazdaspeed3 is the next competitor in line, which features a 2.3-liter engine that pounds the concrete with 263 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque, a six-speed manual transmission, 10-speaker stereo system and a 6.5-second run to 60 mph. The last competitor for the VW GTI is the 2013 Subaru WRX Hatchback, which has a 265-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine, a five-speed manual transmission, six-speaker sound system and a 5.9-second sprint to 60 mph.

With all of this competition and the GTI being significantly slower than all of them, it needs to step up in the quality and standard features realms to attract customers.

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