Volkswagen’s GTD Diesel Hot Hatch is Greenlighted for the US

Volkswagen Golf GTD Front Quarter

The first time we saw the Volkswagen Golf GTD was at Geneva this year, and production for Europe was a given from the start, exporting the hot diesel hatchback to the US was a little more uncertain. Many Americans are biased against the fuel, remembering the dark days of diesel before sulfur content was lowered and computer management helped control emissions and the clouds of black smoke that betrayed the motor. Volkswagen has had a great deal of success with oil burners over the last decade or so, however, with diesel Jettas and Passats becoming a major part of its business plan in the states (likely aided by the relatively few competitors on the market). As more companies are bringing cars to our shores driven by the more efficient fuel (notably, Chevrolet and Mercedes), Volkswagen saw the opportunity to corner the market on high performance diesels, and will bring the GTD to the States.

In a sentence, the GTD combines the athleticism and aesthetics of the GTI with the fuel consumption benefits and the mountain of torque in a diesel. The GTD, which launches this summer across the pond, won’t be available until 2015 in the US due to Volkswagen staggering the release of the seventh generation Golf. The standard 3- and 5-door hatchback will go on sale this year, with the GTI reappearing in 2014 and the GTD the year after. Although the GTD suffers a long gestation period, it will be the sportiest diesel-powered car in the US  market when it does finally go on sale.

Compared to its gasoline-fed brother, the GTD is slower in a straight line, with 0-60mph anticipated to arrive in about 7 seconds. The 2.0L 4-cylinder produces 184hp and 280lb-ft of torque, so when the turbo finally does spool up, the instantaneous acceleration will be noticeably improved. Inside, the traditional plaid GTI seats have been retained (as well as the flat-bottomed steering wheel), and the sports suspension setup is shared between the two models. That means the biggest difference between the GTI and GTD lies under the hood.

Automotive News reports that the GTD will start somewhere around $27,000, or roughly $2K more than the most spartan GTI, which is offset by the estimated 10mpg gain in highway driving compared to the gasoline version. We first previewed the GTD when it debuted at the Geneva Auto Show in February.


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About Cameron Rogers

Cameron Rogers is the founder and lead writer at Downshift Autos, the only automotive blog on the Internet*. Born in the back of an AMC Gremlin, Cameron vowed to never let this extraordinarily embarrassing detail define him, so help him God. He drives a GTI but absolutely will not shut up about it if somebody asks. He will not hesitate to let people know that no, they shouldn't get a Porsche 911 when a Morgan 3 Wheeler is so obviously the superior choice. He is obsessed with the seats of a Carrera GT and the steering wheel of a Fisker Karma. He once sat in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S, his greatest accomplishment to date. He is just now realizing that writing an autobiography, however miniscule, in the third person is odd and unnerving. *As of this writing, Cameron has been informed that there are, in fact, many websites and blogs centered around cars and car culture. He regrets his grievous error.

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