2023 VW Golf GTI 40th Anniversary Edition celebrates the big 4-0
• The GTI 40th Anniversary Edition from VW will be available as a mid-2023 model.
• It slots in between the base S and SE, with a starting price of $34,150 (add $800 for the automatic transmission).
• Production is limited to around 1500 units, split evenly between the six-speed stick shifter and the seven-speed DSG.
When you’re past 21, important birthdays are often greeted with as much trepidation as celebration. There’s the existential fear of old age, the questioning of one’s own accomplishments, and the troubling signs of physical decline. But it’s different with cars. When the Volkswagen GTI made the big 4-0 this year (the US version, at least), there was nothing to do but celebrate the occasion. Well, maybe you’ll also monetize the occasion by releasing a special 40th Anniversary Edition.
This GTI wears certain party garb in the form of special lower body graphics, 40th anniversary badges and exclusive Tornado Red and Urano Gray colors (as opposed to Kings Red Metallic and Moonstone Gray on other GTIs) along with Opal White Pearl and Pomelo Yellow Metallic. For added contrast, the roof, wheels and mirror caps are finished in black, another exclusive anniversary edition. Inside, you’ll find the same checkered cloth seats found in the S and SE. Perfect.
The 40th Anniversary Edition is based on the entry-level S, but adds a few key elements normally reserved for the top-of-the-range Autobahn: adaptive dampers and 19-inch wheels with 235-35 summer tires, and speed-sensitive steering. So there is some substance under the celebration.
VW says the redline-accented wheels are borrowed from the European GTI Clubsport 45 (the model has been around there longer), but unfortunately the Clubsport’s engine, which is cranked up to 296 hp, isn’t invited to our birthday party. The 40th Anniversary Edition has the same 241 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 as the rest of the US GTI lineup.
The $34,150 for the 40th Anniversary Edition represents a $2,875 premium over the base car, which is worth it to get the adaptive dampers without having to lay out nearly 40 big ones for the highway.
Will the GTI as we know it survive the electric age? Hard to say, but better grab one while you still can. After all, you’re not getting any younger.
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