Volkswagen Golf GTI – History of the sports icon / 45 years of the GTI. The 1970s was a horrible decade in automotive history, but it opened the door for what would be widely considered the world’s first hot hatch—and one of the world’s most beloved affordable sporty cars—the Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit GTI. Coming off the muscle car excitement of the 1960s, new emissions regulations choked off horsepower, killed muscle cars, downsized the Ford Mustang into a poorly built econobox, and stifled automotive excitement. It was important regulation, but automakers weren’t prepared and horsepower was throttled back for more than a decade.
Without power to fall back on, Volkswagen took a lighter route. The European automaker had always prioritized practicality over power anyway, and the company decided to make a sporty version of its compact, front-wheel-drive Golf hatchback. The result was the Golf GTI, a car that is widely recognized as the world’s first hot hatch. The car made its debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September of 1975 and went on sale the next summer, kicking off a history of sporty fun that continues to this day.
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Golf GTI 8-Generations 00:00
Golf GTI Mk I 00:46
Golf GTI Mk II 01:40
Golf GTI Mk III 02:31
Golf GTI Mk IV 03:33
Golf GTI Mk V 04:37
Golf GTI Mk VI 05:28
Golf GTI Performance Mk VII 06:27
Golf GTI Mk VIII 07:30
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