The 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI gets a 40th Anniversary Edition with special styling elements and a limited production run of 1,500 units.
While the GTI launched in Europe in 1976, this special edition celebrates the hot hatchback’s 1983 North American launch as the Rabbit GTI. The gap between launches was so great that the first year of the GTI in North America was also the last for the original GTI Mk I in Europe. A Mk II version launched there the following year, and in the U.S. in 1985.
The GTI 40th Anniversary Edition sports “40” decals, an illuminated grille, and gloss black 19-inch wheels from the European-market GTI Clubsport 45 model, shod with summer tires. VW is offering four exterior color choices: Tornado Red, Opal White Pearl, Pomelo Yellow Metallic, and Urano Grey (which is unique to the Anniversary Edition).
On the inside, the special edition has a “40” badge for the steering wheel, Scalepaper Plaid cloth seats, and the traditional GTI golf ball shift knob.
Mechanical bits are the same as any other GTI, including a 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine making 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. It drives the front wheels through 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch transmissions.
The GTI was redesigned for the 2022 model year, moving to the Mk VIII Golf platform and gaining features like standard adaptive damping and an elaborate Digital Cockpit interface with a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster and touchpad controls on the steering wheel.
Pricing starts at $34,150 with the manual transmission and $34,950 with the dual-clutch gearbox, both including destination. Those are increases of $3,025 for the manual and $2,525 for the dual-clutch transmission over the base GTI S, but VW said it intends the 40th Anniversary Edition to slot between the S and the SE trim levels.
The GTI 40th Anniversary Edition isn’t the only special-edition VW hot hatch for the 2023 model year. VW is also selling a Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition to mark two decades of all-wheel-drive hot hatches. It gets carbon-fiber interior trim and a sunroof delete to lower the center of gravity, and it will be limited to a production run of 1,800 units.