The Volkswagen GTI 40th Anniversary Edition is a Nod to History, but It’s Also a Relative Bargain

This GTI delivers some top-end goodies without spending more than $40K

The GTI has been around in the U.S. market for four decades — and this one’s marking out the occasion.

It’s fitting for the car that kicked off the hot hatch phenomenon to celebrate a special (U.S. market) birthday. That’s exactly what this 2023 Volkswagen GTI 40th Anniversary Edition does, following up on the Golf R’s 20th Anniversary model. Apart from being a nod to the car’s history in the States, though, it also brings in some bits from the top-spec Autobahn model at a lower price.

Specifically, the 40th Anniversary model starts off as your standard GTI S. To that basic package, Volkswagen adds in 19-inch wheels from the European Golf GTI Clubsport 45, wrapped in summer performance tires. You also get DCC adaptive damping and speed-sensitive steering from the more expensive Autobahn model. That means you get a decently well-equipped package with the plaid cloth seats (which look cooler, to my mind) for a more reasonable price.

The 2023 Volkswagen GTI 40th Anniversary Edition kicks off at $34,150 for the 6-speed manual version. That rings in a bit less than the mid-range GTI SE, but brings in the bits you might want if you’re purely interested in performance over tech features. You can get a 7-speed DSG transmission if you want for $800 more. Only 1,500 of these limited-run cars are heading to U.S. dealers nationwide, which is actually a pretty healthy supply considering VW has been selling about 6,000 normal GTIs a year, at least for the last two years.

Like the other GTI models, this anniversary edition still packs the 2.0-liter EA888 turbocharged four-cylinder, putting out 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque.

2023 Volkswagen GTI 40th Anniversary Edition

Volkswagen offers two exclusive colors for the 40th Anniversary GTI.

You can pick Tornado Red (pictured here) or Urano Gray. Opal White Pearl and Pomelo Yellow Metallic are also available, though you can get those two hues with the standard GTI as well. Other special touches include a “40” badge on the steering wheel, as well as decals on the door sills.