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2002 VW GTI 337 Edition
by Greg Wilson
Volkswagen took the wraps off a hot new GTI model at the recent New York International Automobile Show: it’s called the GTI 337 Edition, and it’s coming to Canada in mid to late July for a very reasonable asking price of $32,900.
Based on the rare GTI 25th Anniversary edition sold exclusively in Europe last year, the GTI 337 Edition is essentially a GTI 1.8T with a 6-speed manual transmission, a lowered sport suspension, special bodywork and blackened taillights, Recaro sport seats, a Monsoon sound system, and unique 18-inch alloy wheels and Z-rated 225/40R-18 inch performance tires. Volkswagen will build just 1,500 GTI 337 Editions.
“The 337 name comes from the codename for the Golf model back in the early 1970s,” said Frank Maguire, vice president in charge of sales and marketing at Volkswagen of America, Inc. “The GTI is the sport version of the Golf and since we didn’t begin selling the GTI here until 1983, the name 337 seemed like a nice way to recognize the history of this vehicle and make it meaningful to our most enthusiastic drivers. This is a very unique car for the Volkswagen lover.”
Available in one colour, ‘Reflex Silver’, the GTI 337 Edition can be distinguished from other GTI’s by its subtle front chin spoiler, rear valance, darkened taillamps, matching side skirts and rear spoiler just above the hatch. In the rear, there’s a single polished stainless steel exhaust pipe tip.
The GTI 337’s striking BBS RC Kreuzspeiche 18-inch alloy wheels offer a peek of the car’s upgraded discs brakes with unique red calipers, the first time this has been offered on a GTI. Tires are super grippy 225/40ZR-18 inch summer performance tires.
The interior includes standard front red and black Recaro sport seats designed for extra support during enthusiastic driving, and unique interior trim including a special three-spoke perforated leather-covered steering wheel with red stitching, a leather-covered hand brake with the same red stitching, a special ‘golf ball’ shift knob with a GTI logo, alloy interior trim, and alloy foot pedals, foot rest and door sills. As well, the 337 comes with a standard high-performance 8-speaker Monsoon AM/FM/CD/cassette sound system.
A standard six-speed manual transmission replaces the five-speed manual found in the GTI 1.8T, however the 180 horsepower turbocharged 1.8 litre four cylinder powerplant is exactly the same as the GTI 1.8T.
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The 180 horsepower 1.8 T was first launched last year and provides substantial low-end torque and high-end horsepower, employing a turbocharger, intercooler and five valves per cylinder. All of this is built into a compact, long-stroke 1.8 litre four-cylinder engine package. The engine pumps out 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm 174 lbs. ft. of torque from 1,950 to 5,000 rpm – an unusually long and flat torque curve that provides plenty of pulling power from the low end through the top-end. VW claims a 0 to 60 mph time of just over seven seconds. The new 1.8T engine actually has more horsepower than the current VR6 engine (174 horsepower) which will be updated to the 201 horsepower version in the near future.
GTI 337 Editions are already on sale in the U.S., and supply will be limited in Canada. Its MSRP of $32,900 is about $7,000 more than a GTI 1.8T, but that seems reasonable given the long list of extra standard equipment such as the Recaro seats, bigger brakes, 18 inch tires, and six-speed manual transmission. And its additional custom features are all covered under Volkswagen’s new 4 yr/80,000 km warranty and 5 yr/100,000 km warranty.
For those who want an alternative to the time and expense of customizing their own GTI, the GTI 337 Edition is a great way to get an limited edition GTI right off the shelf.
Greg Wilson is a Vancouver-based automotive journalist and editor of Autos