Tuesday, October 23, 2012

From Our Boxier Boxster Files: MKVII Volkswagen GTI

What has the power-to-weight ratio of a Porsche Boxster and twice the seating-plus-one at half the price? Why the new MKVII Volkswagen GTI, seen haring around Berlin recently and coming to a showroom near you ... but as always in the U. S. of A., not soon enough.

VeeDub's newly larger, lighter, more powerful People's Sturm & Drang & Left & Righter marched before a critical crowd of dour continentals in the city of beer by the yard: dour possibly because of the early sales success of Ford's boy-racier Focus ST or the coming onslaught of FWD competitors from Mercedes and BMW ... or dour just because this is Germany, where cracking a smile in public is two social infraction levels below picking your nose.

Considering the Focus ST has been expertly styled for the Fast & Furious crowd and the policemen who tail them and considering that competing German marques will reliably find ways to price themselves out of the sales segment, VW might work some grins into its sales forecasts after all.

There was nothing wrong with the old car that a better U.S. dealer service network couldn't fix, so for now stateside early adopters have a bigger, lighter, more-balanced car to consider along with the same long-term ownership variables as days gone by.

The new car should be ever-so-more chuckable after the diet (aluminum roof and more high-strength steel) and redistributed pooch (the engine sits closer to CG). A minor horsepower bump and major torque swell (to 258 Audi A3esque ft-lbs) should allow MKVII of the world's favorite people's punch-in-the-atmosphere to parry well with its upstart hot hatch competition.

According to Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, VW plans to overthrow Ford and Toyota as the world's largest car maker within the decade.

German auto execs often state grand things in very plain language, whether you're talking Juergen Schrempp having a laugh over his clever ruse in the Daimler-Chrysler Merger of (non- ... ha ha ...) Equals or Winterkorn telling the world that VW is going to take over the world by 2019.

GTI Gen VII looks to be a great conversation opener for that world domination discussion. Let's raise a double dopplebock to the hope that reliability and a capable dealership network in the U.S. figure into the plan.

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