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Car and Driver: New VW GTI “Sport” Trim Is the Least-Expensive Way to Get Performance Package

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2016 Volkswagen GTI

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We tend to think of the Volkswagen GTI as one model, but really it’s a family of cars, with two-door and four-door body styles and multiple trim levels. For 2017, VW is shuffling the trim levels and equipment a bit, with the biggest change being the arrival of the Sport trim level, which nestles in between the base car and SE, below the top-spec Autobahn. Notably, the Sport will be the least-expensive way to get the Performance Package equipment—including the uprated, 220-hp engine—in a GTI.

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For 2017, the Performance Package effectively is no longer a package—its features (Golf R brakes; electronically controlled, torque-sensing, limited-slip differential; and the 10-hp power boost) are now standard not only on the new Sport, but also the SE and the Autobahn, and it can’t be had on the base cars anymore. Since the two-door GTI comes only in base trim for 2017 (the two-door SE has been dropped), that means there’s no longer a way to get the Performance Package equipment on two-door GTIs.

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Besides the Performance Package gear, the new four-door Sport also comes with 18-inch Nogaro wheels, black mirror caps, keyless entry and ignition, LED daytime running lights, bi-xenon headlamps, and special floor mats. For the base GTI and the SE, the optional Driver Assistance package brings a passel of active-safety aids: blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. The top-spec Autobahn has all that stuff standard for 2017; the Autobahn’s optional Driver Assistance package adds lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, and automated parking.

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Pricing for the new Sport—and the rest of the GTI lineup—will be released closer to the 2017 model’s on-sale date this fall.

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