The GTI's story has all the right elements and historical markers to make it the stuff of automotive legend. The GTI needs no real introduction, as these three letters are synonymous with Volkswagen even though a number of other car manufacturers have used them on some of their products.
I am myself an un-closeted massive fan of the GTI, although I've never owned one myself. I have, however always coveted one... I do own a Jetta GLI, which is the sedan version of the GTI.
Essentially, I love me an old school Volkswagen, and as I looked around for data on the GTI and its history, I came across a few interesting nuggets I thought I'd share.
- The Golf was first introduced in 1975 and was based on the Audi K7.
- The first Golf GTI was launched in 1976.
- A Rabbit "GTI" was available in North America in 1979, but was nothing more than a sticker package without go-faster bits.
- The real Rabbit GTI came to North America for the first time in 1983. I want one. Yes, you do need to know this
- In 1983, a brand new Rabbit GTI retailed for $7,990 USD. A 1992 GTI sported a $13,910 USD sticker price or a 74% increase. Then, (wait for it...) a 1995 GTI VR6 could be had for $22,225 USD or a near 60% increase over the MK2!
- Thankfully, horsepower numbers have risen exponentially, as well. MK1: 90 hp. MK2: 134 hp. MK3: 172 hp.
- The new 2015 GTI is the most powerful production GTI, ever. The Golf R is on another level.
- The MK7 GTI is 15mm lower than the same generation Golf.
- The MK4 GTI began the trend that now finds the GTI more appealing to a broader number of car buyers as opposed to being reserved for the few, the proud, the diehard GTI enthusiasts.
- The MK3 (1994-'99) GTI has the lowest production numbers at 28,115 units. So far, the MK2 (1985-'92) has the highest, at 66,223. Roughly 35,000 examples of the MK1 (1983-'84) GTI were sold. These are US sales figures. For those who want more data: MK4 (1998-2004) 60,995, MK5 (2006-'09) 46,558, MK6 (2010-'14) 63,016.