- volkswagen has released some details for the golf gtd, a diesel version of the eighth-generation golf gti.
- the gtd will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine with 197 horsepower.
- the gtd is unlikely to make it to the u.s. market because volkswagen's last attempt to sell diesel-powered cars here ended in billions of dollars in fines and class-action lawsuits.
if you are an american and not a commercial truck driver or coal-rolling enthusiast, your experience with diesel-powered vehicles may be limited to a dim memory of a drawn-out scandal in which volkswagen admitted to building cheats into its diesel cars so that they would pass emissions tests. as a result, the ceos of the volkswagen group and volkswagen usa resigned, and the company agreed to pay billions of dollars to settle a class-action lawsuit and spend billions more building electric vehicle infrastructure in the united states.
after all that, it may come as a surprise that volkswagen was planning to launch a diesel version of its eight-generation golf gti called the gtd at the now-cancelled geneva motor show. but despite diesel's problems in the u.s. market, it remains an important part of vw's global portfolio. volkswagen has said that diesels accounted for 43 percent of sales in germany and 27 percent of global sales to private customers in 2018. so even as the european union tightens emissions restrictions, diesel seems like a good bet for volkswagen.
this particular diesel-powered volkswagen golf gtd will be based on the eighth-generation golf and golf gti. the new golf is slightly meaner-looking than before, with squinty-eyed led headlights and sharper sheetmetal creases. gti, gtd, and gte (an plug-in-hybrid variant of the gti) models have an open honeycomb grille with the fog lights integrated into the honeycomb pattern as if it were a lite brite. a strip of silver brightwork just below the front edge of the hood will distinguish the gtd from the gti's red and the gte's silver trim pieces.
inside, the gtd's seats will retain the plaid pattern that has long been a cornerstone of gti design. sadly, the golf ball-patterned shift knob has given way to a sleeker but less charming electronic shift lever in all but the manual-transmission gti.
the gtd's 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine makes 197 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque it comes standard with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a new series catalytic converter system which injects a urea solution into the exhaust at two different points to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. volkswagen also promises high fuel efficiency and a long driving range.
the gtd and gti will be on sale in europe later this year. we expect the new gti to make its way to the u.s. market late in 2021, but the introduction of a gtd or any other diesel-powered passenger car from volkswagen is extremely unlikely.