Diesel Fans, Take Heart: The Volkswagen Golf GTD Could Be Coming To The … – Forbes
Don’t give up on the Volkswagen Golf GTD just yet.
There’s hope the sporty diesel-powered hatchback might come to the United States after all, according to Michael Horn, president and chief executive officer at Volkswagen Group of America.
After revealing at the New York auto show that the highly anticipated GTD version of the Golf was doubtful for the U.S. market, VW received such a deluge of protests from customers and the press that the company is reconsidering.
“We are redoing the business case, so I’m rather confident that we will get it,” Horn said. “But it’s not going to come before 2017.”
Horn made the remarks at a press briefing for the U.S. launch of the all-new 2015 VW Golf, which begins arriving in dealerships soon.
This is Volkswagen’s second change of heart on the Golf GTD.
Originally, this souped-up diesel version of the Golf had been expected to arrive stateside in 2015. But at the New York auto show in April, Horn had said the cost of importing the diesel engines from Germany all but put the kibosh on the plan for U.S. sales, as it pushed the price point for the GTD too high. He did not elaborate on what changes would make the newly revised business case more attractive.
Volkswagen has to tweak the exhaust treatment system of the Golf GTD to comply with U.S. requirements, which is one reason why Horn estimates the release would be delayed until 2017. These systems, which use urea to neutralize particulates and other toxic emissions, enable diesel engines to meet stringent emissions standards.
Another factor contributing to the longer timeframe for a U.S. introduction of the GTD is that the company will have to ramp up production at the Volkswagen plant in Puebla, Mexico, Horn says.
The VW Golf GTD is a variation of the company’s gas-powered Golf GTI, a hot hatchback adored by car enthusiasts the world over for its superior driving dynamics and pulse-quickening acceleration.
Both the GTD and GTI use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine but, given the inherent properties of gasoline and diesel engines, the GTI produces more horsepower, whereas the GTD produces more torque. What this means in practical terms is that the GTD should feel quicker at lower speeds, while the GTI will accelerate faster at moderate-to-high speeds.
Like the GTI, the GTD is all new and is already on sale in Europe, where it has received rave reviews for its acceleration, handling and fuel economy. Compared to the VW Golf GTI, which gets an estimated 28 miles per gallon in combined city/highway driving—already quite good for a vehicle of its caliber—the GTD is expected to be about 20 percent more efficient.
As far as pricing, the Golf GTD is expected to cost roughly $2,000 more than the GTI, which has a starting price of $24,395.
Although the GTD won’t be coming to the United States for at least a couple of years, other all-new versions of the VW Golf are on the way now. These include two gasoline-powered models, the base Golf TSI and the high-performance Golf GTI. There is also a diesel version of the latter, called the Golf TDI, which will have a smaller, less-powerful engine than that of the GTD.
The VW Golf GTI is expected to arrive in dealerships as soon as this month, with the others due later this summer.
Volkswagen also plans to launch its electric e-Golf in the fall, followed by the Golf SportWagen and Golf R in early 2015.