First-Generation VW Golf GTI Takes on All-New Model and Wins… Kind of

First-Generation Golf GTI Takes on All-New Model and Wins… Kind of 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
A lot of incredible things came out of the 70s, including some decent music. However, we mostly remember the Golf GTI, which is approaching its 40th birthday. To celebrate, we're going to look at a drag race that honors both the old and the new.
Every year, Golf GTI fans descend in their thousands onto the shores of Lake Wothersee in Austria. Some of them love huge speakers and lowered suspension, but most still appreciate an immaculate Mk1 Golf GTI. These retro hot hatches are hard to find, and a mint condition model can fetch €4,000.

But that's not the point here. The point is that the Mk1 GTI in this video is stunning. It has the Pirelli alloy wheels in perfect condition, all the trim a paintjob that looks better than new. The 2015 model isn't bad either, with its lowered stance, big alloys, twin exhaust and well-equipped interior.

But can the old timer keep up with the new gun? This race was organized by Auto Express. Though we're not fond of the editor they sent out to do it, giving the Mk1 a head start makes perfect sense. In the end, the new GTI loses convincingly because of a few slow gear changes and the gigantic 3.5-second head start.

After watching nearly 4 minutes of video footage, we don't feel like we've learned anything. The newer Mk7 should have murdered its rival from many decades ago, and the claim that weight is to blame seems superficial. You see "only 25 bhp per ton" is actually a lot. Torque also needs to be taken into consideration, with the 2015 model delivering levels that would have required a V8 back in the 70s.

Modern cars are made heavier for added safety features and luxury extras, hence need more powerful engines. How many owners of the current GTI would be able to live without heated seats, powerful headlights and parking sensors?

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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