Specs For 1997 VW GTI VR6, Driver's Edition

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1997 Volkswagen GTI-VR6 Driver's Edition

Last Updated: 9/15/97

Make: Volkswagen
Model: Golf
Year: 1997
Class: Compact
Bodystyle: Hatchback
Drive Type: FWD
Where Built: Puebla, Mexico

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What's New For 1997
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Standard Equipment
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GTI VR6 gets a lowered suspension for improved handling, and a redesigned cylinder head quiets GL and GTI models. A K2 edition debuted in December, 1996, sporting heated front seats, premium sound, and a rack with either skis or a snowboard attached. Spring, 1997, brought a slick Trek model with alloys and a bike up top. Also new about the same time was a JAZZ model jazzed up with alloys and a CD changer. In the summer, VW released the Driver's Edition GTI-VR6.

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Excellent road manners, roomy interior, fun-to-drive, heater will roast your face, zingy V-6 engine
Some controls and symbols difficult to decipher, staid styling, very uncomfortable front seats

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The Golf is a descendant of the wondercar that started the econobox trend in the U.S. In 1975, Volkswagen introduced the Rabbit to Americans. Stubby and blocky in style, the Rabbit was inexpensive, fun to drive, and sipped fuel. Unfortunately, it also broke down, rusted quickly, and cost more than most were willing to pay to maintain. A switch to production in the United States doomed the Rabbit, and VW finally replaced it with the Golf in 1985.

The first Golf was stubby and blocky in style, inexpensive, fun to drive and sipped fuel. It too broke, rusted and cost extra to maintain. VW aficionados swore by them though, claiming that once you found a mechanic who could fix one properly, VW ownership was like a cool club that only the automotively astute would join.

Great for aficionados, but Volkswagen needed a more broad customer base to keep afloat in the States. The third-generation Golf is stubby and blocky in style. It is fun to drive. It sips fuel, but not as frugally as it should. It is affordable. It is also supposed to dispel reliability fears by offering a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty on the powertrain, which VW advertises heavily. Since its arrival in 1993, we havenít heard many horror stories about maintenance costs, breakdowns or rust, so maybe this Golf will do the trick for Volkswagen.

Then again, maybe not. It just isnít a very appealing car. Forward styling is as ugly as a bulldog, and the car is available only as a hatchback in a society that associates such vehicles with a low class, bargain basement, "I couldnít afford a sedan" mentality. However, Volkswagen sales have been on the upswing since the car was introduced, and VW management is beginning to pay closer attention to the needs of American consumers.

This year, they decided to drop the GTI VR6 about ľ inch lower thanks to new shocks, springs, and anti-roll bars. Handling, which was very good to begin with, should be improved. GL and GTI models run quieter this year thanks to a redesigned cylinder head. On the horizon, a Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) diesel model that was still-born in 1996, and has been delayed for 1997, is rumored for 1998. The diesel is quick, clean, and quiet. We doubt most Americans are going to be interested.

When the snow began flying, VW brought out the K2. Sporting unique trim, heated front seats, heated washer nozzles, heated exterior mirrors, and premium sound, the K2 is aimed directly at Busters with a roof rack and the buyerís choice of K2 skis or a K2 snowboard. Unfortunately, ABS is not optional on this snow-bound model, which seems awfully suspect to us.

Warm spring weather resulted in the Golf Trek, which included a mountain bike, alloy wheels, fog lights, and special trim. Again, ABS was not on the options list for this special edition model. A jazzed up Golf called, oddly enough, the JAZZ came along mid-year sporting alloy wheels and a CD changer.

As the dog days of summer approached, Volkswagen released the Driver's Edition GTI-VR6, which boasted unique alloy wheels, a lowered suspension, new anti-sway bars, and special trim inside and out.

Our brief spins in a Golf GL and GTI VR6 tell us that this VW would be a very rewarding vehicle to own and drive. Though the GL is not particularly speedy, it keeps up in traffic with no problem. On the Interstate, this car is a wonder, communicating all the right stuff through the suspension and steering. Itís easy to cruise at 80 mph in a Golf. Speedy Drivers Wanted.

The VR6 version of the GTI is an absolute wonder. The central locking system is a real pain, and our 1995 test car exhibited lots of suspension float, but blistering acceleration and the carís ability to zip through canyons with aplomb rescind these complaints. Compared to BMWís 318ti, the GTI VR6 is a bargain.

If youíre considering a compact, try a Golf before buying. It might be ugly, but itís fun to drive.

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Acura Integra GS-R BMW 318ti
Ford Probe GT Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T
Nissan 200SX SE- R  

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Performance Data
  • Acceleration (0-60 mph): 7.1 sec.
  • Braking Distance (60-0 mph): 139 ft.
  • Roadholding Index: 0.79
  • Base Number of Cylinders: 6
  • Base Engine Size: 2.8 liters
  • Base Compression Ratio: 10
  • Horsepower: 172 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Torque: 173 lbs./ft. @ 4200 rpm


  • Length: 160.4 in.
  • Width: 66.7 in.
  • Height: 56.2 in.
  • Weight: 2811 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 97.4 in.
  • Front Headroom: 37.5 in.
  • Rear Headroom: 37.4 in.
  • Front Shoulder Room: 54 in.
  • Rear Shoulder Room: 54.6 in.
  • Front Hip Room: NA
  • Rear Hip Room: NA
  • Front Leg Room: 42.3 in.
  • Rear Leg Room: 31.5 in.
  • Luggage Capacity: 17.5 cu.ft.
Safety Features
  • Anti-Lock Brakes: Standard
  • Driver Air Bag:
  • Passenger Air Bag:
  • Side Air Bag: NA
  • Integrated Child Seat: NA
  • Traction Control: Standard
Crash Test Results
  • Driver: Rating = average
  • Passenger: Rating = average

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gal.

EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway)

Manual: 19 mpg / 26 mpg

Range in Miles: (City/Highway)

Manual: 276 mi. / 377 mi.

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The cost of insuring this vehicle is relatively:

GEICO Save 15% or more on your insurance premium
for your free quote call 1-800-555- 2758 , 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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(All Prices in US Dollars)


1H1VT4 Hatchback GTI-VR6 Driver's Edition 2-Dr 5-speed Manual
Invoice =
MSRP = $20,070
Destination Charge: $500
Gas Guzzler Tax:

Dealer Hold Back: 2% of the Total MSRP Click here for a brief explaination of dealer holdbacks.

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Check Edmund's list for currently available incentives and rebates for this vehicle. Be sure to take any incentives/rebates into account when calculating an appropriate price for the vehicle.

[Advertising Charges: All vehicles carry a legitimate manufacturer advertising fee equal to one to three percent (1-3%) of the MSRP, depending on geographic region. This fee is passed on to the consumer without dealer markup, and is non-negotiable.]

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(if appropriate, differences between alternative models are listed):

GTI VR6 DRIVER'S EDITION (in addition to or instead of GTI-VR6 equipment): Speedline 7-spoke alloy wheels, red-painted brake calipers, bright finish twin tailpipe extension, special cloth upholstery, custom carpeted floor mats, silver-faced instrument gauges, red-stitched leather coverings for the steering wheel, handbrake, and shift knob; bright finish release knob on handbrake, aluminum and rubber golf-ball design manual shift knob, deluxe door sill covers with embossed GTI logo, stiffer suspension lowered 10 mm from stock, progressive anti-sway bars

GTI VR6 (in addition to or instead of GTI equipment): 2.8-liter V-6 engine, close-ratio 5-speed manual transmission, sport-tuned suspension with firmer shock absorber settings, rear gas-filled shocks, 15- inch alloy wheels, P205/50R15H all-season tires, traction control system, halogen projector fog lamps, darkened taillamp lenses, power body- color exterior mirrors, power windows with one-touch down feature and convenience open/close in conjunction with central locking system, passenger reading light, delayed entry lighting, leather-wrapped steering wheel, height-adjustable steering column, passenger seat height adjustment, front sport seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, trip computer, twin visor vanity mirrors, premium AM/FM stereo with cassette player and 8 speakers, roof-mounted whip antenna

GTI (in addition to or instead of GL equipment): Alloy wheels, cruise control, power sunroof with tilt and slide feature, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with cassette player, 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes

GL: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, power rack and pinion steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, 14-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, P185/60R14 all-season tires, tinted glass, dual exterior mirrors, rear spoiler, 2-speed windshield wipers, rear intermittent wiper/washer, dual front airbags, power trunk release, driver's seat height adjustment, reclining front seats with adjustable headrests, 60/40 split- folding rear seat, 3 passenger assist handles, tachometer, trip odometer, coolant temperature gauge, dual visor vanity mirrors, pre-wiring for 8 speakers, center console with dual cup holder, front door map pockets, rear cup holder, rear door map pockets, front seatback pockets, front seat storage trays, trunk carpeting, rear seat heat and air conditioning ducts, power central door locking system, daytime running lights, anti-theft alarm system, child safe rear door locks, rear window defogger

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OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT (Descriptions & Prices):

Option NameInvoiceMSRP
B0W California Emissions $98 $100
B55 Massachusetts Emissions $98 $100
NYE New York Emissions $98 $100
CDC Stereo -- CD Changer (All except JAZZ)
6-disc magazine
$412 $495
--- Leather Seats (GTI VR6)
Includes leather seat and door panel trim
$480 $550
--- Metallic Paint $153 $175

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© 1997 by Edmund Publications Corporation

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This information may not be reproduced or communicated in whole or in part by any printed or electronic means without explicit written permission from the publisher. All information and prices published herein are gathered from sources which are thought to be reliable, but the reader should not assume that the information is official or final. The publisher does not assume responsibility for errors, and all pricing data are subject to change without notice. Certain marketing and buying services listed here are not operated by nor are they the responsibility of the publisher.