VW is going to make the most of its new GTI, with three models joining what has already been a well received hot hatch. A 'GTD' variant using a 2.0-liter common rail diesel will go into production in April 2009, with 170 horses and nearly 260 lb.-ft. moving through either a six-speed manual or VW's DSG gearbox. The GTD will be sold at an €800 premium over its gasoline brother, and will get to 62 mph about a second slower in return for longer hauls between refills.
After that, toward the end of 2009, comes the GTI 'Plus' that will push the car dangerously close to the Audi S3 and may spell the end of the current R32. A 60 hp bump over the standard GTI takes the Plus up to 270. The fun-to-drive factor should be raised with a seven-speed DSG transmission, and handling mastery will come courtesy of a Haldex all-wheel-drive system.
The capstone: to help everyone get over the current and rather underwhelming R32, the hottest hotness is supposed to come in 2010 in the form of an R42. Swapping the current V6 for a 2.5-liter, turbocharged 5-cylinder that it will share with Audi's TT-RS and RS3, the raunchy R is rumored to get a chest-hair-growing 350 hp. If Auto Motor und Sport are to be believed, it will start rolling out of factories in November of 2009 at an undisclosed price.