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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


Golf GTI: From R11k to R670k

From engine size, power and performance, the biggest change since the GTI's arrival in 1982 has been its price.


This week’s confirmed pricing of the eagerly awaited Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI not only came as a surprise to many fans and observers, but in some cases also a shock. Sporting a sticker of R669 300, the GTI, which will be joined at a later stage by the Golf R as the sole derivatives of the eighth generation Golf locally, comfortably rates as the most expensive iteration ever, with social media users and even die-hard fans labelling the price as being on the steep side. ALSO READ: Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI officially priced With 2021 being the 45th anniversary of the…

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This week’s confirmed pricing of the eagerly awaited Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI not only came as a surprise to many fans and observers, but in some cases also a shock.

Sporting a sticker of R669 300, the GTI, which will be joined at a later stage by the Golf R as the sole derivatives of the eighth generation Golf locally, comfortably rates as the most expensive iteration ever, with social media users and even die-hard fans labelling the price as being on the steep side.

ALSO READ: Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI officially priced

With 2021 being the 45th anniversary of the GTI, The Citizen looks back how the Golf GTI’s sticker price has climbed, or rather evolved, since the Mark I.

Note: Pricing relates to the ‘standard’ GTI and omits special edition models like the GTI R (Mk IV), Edition 35 based on the Mk VI, the Clubsport as well as the Clubsport S variants of the Mk VII and the Mk 7.5 TCR.

Mk 1

While unveiled internationally in 1976, the original Volkswagen Golf GTI only became available in South Africa towards the end of 1982, a year before the planned reveal of the second generation Golf.

Volkswagen Golf GTI
Where it all started; the original Mk I GTI became available towards the end of 1982. Image: Volkswagen

Having been updated that same year, the local market model therefore sported the 82 kW eight-valve 1.8-litre petrol engine with 150 Nm and the close ratio five-speed manual gearbox. Top speed was rated at 185 km/h.

Price: R11 475

Mk II

Again debuting after the European model, the Mk II GTI arrived in mid-1985 powered by the same engine as the original, but with torque lifted to 155 Nm.

Despite being heavier, the Mk II managed to hit 190 km/h with the introduction of the latter 102kW/168Nm 16-valve engine upping the top speed to over 200 km/h.

Volkswagen Golf GTI
Better known as the jumbo, the Mk II GTI spawned a South African exclusive 2.0-litre 16v model in 1991. Image: Volkswagen

Not content though, and wanting to fend off the Opel Kadett GSI Superboss, Volkswagen South Africa, in 1991, introduced a locally developed 2.0-litre 16v Golf GTI with outputs of 110kW/175Nm, an uptake of eight kilowatts and seven Newton Metres.

Paired to a five-speed manual ‘box, the 2.0 16v GTI, despite its higher outputs, could only manage 0-100 km/h in 9.3 seconds when tested by CAR Magazine in said year with the top speed being a verified 208 km/h.  

Price: 1985: GTi 8v – R14 800

          1991: GTI 2.0 16v – R55 540

Mk III

Touching down in 1992, the Mk III GTI received widespread criticism for its lacklustre performance and being a step-down from the Mk II.

Producing 85 kW, the 2.0-litre eight-valve engine Golf GTI still holds the title of the slowest GTI ever made with the 0-100 km/h dash taking 10.5 seconds.

Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Mk III GTI is generally regarded as where matter started going wrong for the GTI. Image: Volkswagen

The introduction of the 110 kW 16-valve model soon after improved matters, but power craved South Africans opted instead for the 128 kW 2.8 VR6 that arrived in 1993 with a top speed of over 220 km/h.

Price: GTi 8v – R58 806

         GTi 16v – R81 829

Mk IV

Often regarded as the lowest point in the GTI’s history, the arrival of the Mk IV in 1999, two years after the original launch, saw South Africa missing out on the lethargic 92 kW model and instead receiving the turbo derivative whose 1.8-litre 20-valve unit produced 110kW/220Nm.

The first turbocharged Volkswagen Golf GTI and also the first to have a six-speed gearbox, the inherent lack of poke became rectified in 2003 with the debut of the 132 kW GTI, whose 235 Nm contributed to the Mk IV being able to reach 220 km/h and accelerate from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 7.8 seconds.

Volkswagen Golf GTI
First launched with 110 kW, the 132 kW Mk IV brought much needed performance to what is viewed as the low point model in the GTI’s history. Image: favcars.com

Price: 1999: GTI 110 kW – R139 431

          2003: GTI 132 kW – R231 640

Mk V

Considered the turning point in the GTI’s history, the 2005 debut of the Mk V drew extensive acclaim as many pundits described it as having re-captured the magic of the original.

Volkswagen Golf GTI
Still sought after to this day, the Mk V GTI brought the fun element back into the GTI. Image: favcars.com

Still popular today, it utilised what has become a staple Golf GTI engine ever since; a 2.0 TSI that pumped out 147kW/280Nm. Hooked to a six-speed manual gearbox or the six-speed dual-clutch DSG, the Mk V could hit 235 km/h and dispatch the 0-100 km/h sprint in 7.2 seconds.

Price: GTI – R240 000

GTI DSG – R253 500

Mk VI

Very much an evolution over the Mk V, the Mk VI GTI brought more refinement and specification to the GTI upon its arrival in 2009.

Volkswagen Golf GTI
Mk VI brought more power and refinement. Image: favcars.com

Now producing 155 kW with torque unchanged at 280 Nm, it also became the first Volkswagen Golf GTI to dip below seven seconds with a claimed 0-100 km/h dash of 6.9 seconds when equipped with the DSG ‘box. As before, the Mk VI offered both the DSG and a six-speed manual, the former proving more popular by a considerable margin.

Price: GTI – R317 300

         GTI DSG – R331 800

Mk VII

Stepping-up from the Mk VI, the Mk VII’s docking locally in 2013 officially cemented it as the nation’s favourite hot hatch.

Volkswagen Golf GTI
With the arrival of the Mk VII, the Golf GTI officially cemented its position as South Africa’s favourite hot hatch. Image: Volkswagen South Africa

The first Golf to ride on the then new MQB platform, the Mk VII GTI offered up 162kW/350Nm, the former increasing to 169 kW with the debut of the DSG only GTI Performance in 2015.

By this stage, the self-shifter had taken over as the gearbox of choice for the Volkswagen Golf GTI with the arrival of the facelift Mk 7.5 in 2017 seeing the manual being discontinued entirely.

Volkswagen Golf GTI
The most powerful until the arrival of the Mk VIII, the updated Mk 7.5 Golf GTI waved goodbye to the manual gearbox. Image: Volkswagen South Africa

With Volkswagen South Africa opting not to bring the GTI Performance to the local market with its 180 kW, the Mk 7.5 retained the same 169kW/350Nm outputs as the Mk VII Performance with its top speed of 248 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 6.4 seconds making it the fastest GTI ever made… until the arrival of the Mk VIII.

Price: 2013: Mk VII GTI – R368 300

          2013: Mk VII GTI DSG – R382 800

          2017 Mk 7.5 GTI DSG – R545 000

For more information on the Golf 8 GTI, click here.

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