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New 2009 Volkswagen Golf GTI Pirelli - (Australia)

October 10th, 2008
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Volkswagen’s most powerful Golf GTI – the limited edition Pirelli model – made its debut at the Australian International Motor Show.

Volkswagen is continuing the history of one of the best known limited edition models in the company’s history. In May 1983, the “Original Pirelli” arrived on the market in Europe. It was based on the first generation, second series Golf GTI. A distinctive identifying feature: Specially designed alloy wheels with the “Pirelli P” on their outer edges. A remarkable 10,500 cars of the special model were built and sold within half a year. Then it was over – a limited edition! If there were an Automobile Hall of Fame for young-timers, the “Pirelli GTI”, as it was called by its fans, would have long held a place there.

The legendary tyre tracks are now being extended by the new Golf GTI Pirelli, with completely new Pirelli high-performance tyres too. They are wrapped around powerful 18inch Pirelli wheels in Titanium look. The car’s interior has been upgraded with partial-leather sports seats with an embedded tyre tread pattern. Instead of the current GTI’s 147kW, the new car converts 169kW into forward propulsion. If needed, a 245 km/h top speed is within the car’s capabilities. In 6.6 seconds the Turbo-FSI propels the GTI Pirelli to 100 km/h from a standstill.

Powerful Golf GTI Pirelli

It was 25 years ago when Volkswagen first introduced the era of downsizing on its first turbo-diesel. Of course, the Turbo-FSI on the GTI is technically unrelated to a turbo-diesel, but they have the principle of downsizing in common – in both cases engine displacement is replaced by engine charging.

On the Golf GTI, Volkswagen has transferred its downsizing concept to a powerful gasoline engine for the first time; its use of a turbocharger with intercooler plus direct injection brings fuel economy and sportiness in greater harmony than ever.

The Golf GTI Pirelli is proof today of the potential in combining gasoline direct injection and charging. Its turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine is currently the most powerful four cylinder engine from Volkswagen. This front-mounted transverse engine is shifted by a standard six-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). The 16 valve four cylinder with 1,984 cm3 displacement outputs its maximum power of 169 kW at 5,500 rpm. Its maximum torque of 300 Nm is available over a large speed window – from 2,200 to 5,200 rpm. Nothing is more befitting a sports car than this sort of torque characteristic.

Golf GTI Pirelli rides on Pirelli wheels and tyres

“Power is nothing without control”, says Pirelli. Volkswagen sees it this way too. Chassis, brakes and ESP combine for a well-balanced safety package that can even perform masterfully on the North Loop of the Nuremburg Ring track.

But things do not really get rounded out until the tyres come into play. That is why Pirelli is contributing a new high-performance tyre to the project: The latest generation of P-Zero tyres. The material mixture and tread pattern of the 225/40 P-Zero were designed to benefit handling, braking, ride comfort and aquaplaning properties.

The tyres are wrapped around Pirelli alloy wheels. They are coated with a Titanium-coloured paint. The manufacturer interprets the visual effect of the five spokes as homage to the wheels of the first Pirelli GTI. They had openings in the form of a P for Pirelli on their outer edges. This P is also found in the new wheel design – but in this case it is reflected: In the rim flange. However, there are worlds of difference between the dimensions of the two types of alloy wheels: They are 7.5x18 inch today, but were 6x14 inch back then.

Distinctive exterior and interior design

Bumpers and side skirts painted in the body colour visually set the Golf GTI Pirelli apart from the 147kW GTI. A plate with the Pirelli signature on the right side of the tailgate is a reference to this exclusive Golf GTI. In its side profile, the new car has standard tinted rear windows and another Pirelli signature can be seen here on the C-pillar of each side.

The GTI Pirelli stands out from the rest of the model series with its refined interior. The standard GTI seats developed by Volkswagen Individual were upgraded to perfectly customize them for the GTI Pirelli. The anthracite coloured lateral supports, seatbacks, head restraints and centre armrests are upholstered in leather (“Vienna” type); yellow decorative seams provide a fine visual contrast. But the real highlight is the centre seat panels. They are not made of the usual GTI “Interlagos” diamond pattern, rather of a breathable and very luxurious anthracite micro fibre with a tyre tread pattern embedded in the micro fibres. There is yet another accent in the front head restraints. Where the “GTI” letters are usually found, in this car the lettering is “Pirelli” throughout.

“Pirelli” equipment features also include heated seats, electrically adjustable lumbar supports in front, and all-leather centre armrest in the rear.

The leather sports steering wheel and parking brake grip have been retooled to match the top sports seats: They also have decorative yellow seams. In addition, the steering wheel with ergonomic hand recesses, a metallic GTI emblem on the vertical spoke and perforated leather supports combine to deliver a sporty driving style.

Available in both three and five-door body shapes, the Golf GTI Pirelli is priced from $47,490* and $48,990* respectively.


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