26 of November, 2016. Tonight, Volkswagen is taking a major step. After launching the Gol GT Concept at the 2016 São Paulo Motorshow, Volkswagen brings the car to the Bubble Gun Treffen 8, the eight edition of a festival for VW aficionados. This could be another example of a concept, like last year's Up TSI, but this could mean a lot more...
Let's look back at the Gol history, back in 1985, Volkswagen decided to create a car that could compete with Ford's Escort XR3. They used the same recipe as the first Golf GTi, give a small car, a powerful engine. And with the 1.8L engine, the car's power jumped from 51cv to an impressive 99cv and could go from 0-100km/h in 9.7 seconds. The car soon became successful among petrolheads. In 1987 the car got its first restyling and its sporty version became the Gol GTS.
In 1989, Volkswagen launched the Gol GTi, the first car from the BRDM (Brazilian Domestic Market) equipped with electronic injection. The new 2.0L engine had 120cv which helped the Gol to become known as one of the best Brazilian sports car. In 1996, after the remodelling of the whole bodywork, VW launched the GTi 16v, with 145cv, that made the Gol more powerful than the Golf GTi at the time.
At the phase III, the Gol reached its peak in level of performance. The GTi had an overhead camshaft imported from Germany that increased power to 153cv. But Volkswagen developed a 1.0 16V Turbo version that had better performance than the GTi, but costing less. People started buying the Turbo instead of the GTI; this made the GTI to be withdrawn of the market very fast, just after one year, making this one of the rarest versions of the Gol. After the withdrawn of the GTI, the Turbo became the only sport version, but due to breakdowns, it also became a rare version, but off Gol's fans radar.
For phase IV and V, sport versions appeared only in a series of aerodynamic kits and sporty looks, nothing related to performance. At the phase VI appeared the Gol Rallye, equipped with the 1.6 16v MSI engine, developing 120cv. But the more "adventurous" look didn't look that cool to the fans.
With the good acceptation of the Up TSI 2p at the Bubble Gun Treffen 7, the success of the Sandero RS and the launch of the 208 GT, VW saw the opportunity to offer a car with good hot hatch dynamics, based on an entry level car. But since the Up doesn't have many fans because of its design, VW may have thought that the best way to launch a hot hatch is in a car that is already known among VW fans.
And what better car than the Gol? It has history, it is a legend, Brazilians love it and have been waiting for it since 2003. As far as I'm concerned, if VW does it right and with the right price, the Gol phase VII may have a sporty version with desired hot hatch performance. Let's hope VW bring back joy to its fans and the petrolhead world.