It was fast. It was nimble. It was fun. And it had attitude.
The original 1983 Mk1 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI sported red plaid seats, snowflake wheels, and a golf ball shift knob. It helped create a brand new category of sports car; the hot hatch.
Now, the Rabbit is back for 2019 as a special edition model — the GTI Rabbit Edition is the first GTI to pay tribute to the Rabbit heritage since the 2003 20th Anniversary vehicle. Here’s why we should all be excited.
The GTI has always been notable for its blending of sportiness and practicality. Take the Mk1 GTI: It featured a unique combination of sports-car performance, signature stylistic accents, and an iconic shape that won a cult following when it first hit U.S. shores in 1983.
For the next three decades, VW rolled out generation after generation of eagerly awaited, limited-production GTI editions for enthusiasts. Many featured special performance equipment and unique body and interior highlights, including distinctive hues such as Jazz Blue, Magma Orange, and Ginster Yellow. And a few hold a unique place in the legendary Rabbit line. The Mk4 GTI 20th Anniversary, for example, was the first GTI since the Mk1 to sport a “retro Rabbit” badge, although it didn’t carry the Rabbit name itself.
In 2019, the Rabbit makes a return, paying homage to the dedication of countless enthusiasts and past generations while celebrating the unique heritage of the VW GTI in the U.S.
It will be available in Cornflower Blue and Urano Grey — stand-out, non-metallic colors —as well as Deep Black Metallic and Pure White. It features a LED lighting package, a new-for-GTI “Vmax” spoiler accent on the rear roofline, and road-hugging 18-inch “Pretoria” alloy wheels painted gloss black. The U.S. version of the 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition — a limited run of just 3,000 — also includes a special gift from VW (but you’ll have to buy one to find out what it is).
Bucket-style, race-inspired Top Sport driver and passenger seats inside the cabin come in heritage Clark Plaid cloth upholstery along with red tags embroidered with the VW Rabbit logo and red-trimmed floormats.
Additionally, the Rabbit Edition includes standard Driver Assistance features such as Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitor, and Autonomous Emergency Braking.1
The experience behind the wheel (and on the road) of the 2019 GTI Rabbit edition is just as exceptional: Powered by 228 hp, a VAQ mechanical torque-sensing limited slip differential helps to direct all that to the ground. And high-performance Golf R ventilated disc brakes offer plenty of smooth, well-modulated stopping power.
The 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition: It’s been a long time coming. And well worth the wait.