Volkswagen Golf GTI new car review

11 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Volkswagen Golf GTI new car review отключены
Volkswagen Golf GTE

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Flexible engine delivers punchy performance

Surprisingly economical

Slick gearbox

Practical interior

Excellent road manners

Comfortable and quiet


Price premium over some competitors

Auto hesitates in stop-start situations

When it comes to hero cars, they don’t come much more iconic or well known than the Golf GTI. The car that created the now-booming hot-hatch segment has been a mainstay of the compact Golf line-up for decades. While there’s been the occasional blip on the impressive lineage (the fourth generation was underwhelming), for the past decade the GTI has been the one to match.

Throughout a turbulent year in which quality and customer service hit the headlines for Volkswagen, the GTI is the exclamation mark of the rollout of the new seventh-generation Golf. While there’s a faster Golf R in the wings, the GTI is the volume-selling hot shot that in many ways helps define the Golf.

What do you get?

New Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk. VII.

While it shares its body with the basic Golf, the GTI comes with its own unique tweaks, starting with the trademark tartan trim. It would look out of place and out of date in anything other than a GTI, but Volkswagen gets away with it.

For $41,490 plus on-road and dealer costs (or $43,990 for an auto) the GTI also has a unique front and rear bumper that sits lower and gives the car a sportier look, while there are alloy pedals and sports seats that grab you better around the sides. There are plenty of red design touches too, such as the red brake calipers and red stripe through the grille.

The Golf 7 also has a driver-selected Driving Mode that is now standard and allows a choice between comfort, normal, sport and Eco settings, or a driver-programmed individual setting. Each adjusts the steering, throttle response and suspension.

There’s also the full Golf fruit, including a central touchscreen, parking sensors front and rear, a reversing camera, cruise control, dual-zone auto airconditioning and the safety of seven airbags (dual front, front side, side curtain and a driver’s knee airbag).

What’s inside?

Those tartan seats provide both support and comfort, giving the first sense that the GTI has a different purpose on four wheels. There are also some splashes of red, from stitching on the chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel to red stripes in the front doors.

Otherwise, it’s pure Golf, from the simple, elegant layout and instruments to the central touchscreen, which can sense when you’re about to press a button and changes the screen’s layout to make it easier.

As well as controlling the sound system and cruise control, the buttons on the steering wheel unleash all manner of functions in the digital display between the speedometer and tachometer. There’s a detailed trip computer and even a lap timer.

There are two covered storage options in the centre console and good-sized door pockets. Overall, the finishes and fit are excellent.

Those in the rear are catered for with air vents for better cooling, while the boot should keep small families and couples content.

Under the bonnet

There may be only two litres of engine, but that’s underplaying what goes on when you hit the accelerator. A turbocharger helps boost oomph and ensures the GTI’s engine is one of the most flexible in the business. Pull from as low as 1500rpm is prodigious, allowing you to squeeze the throttle rather than drop down a gear or two, yet the GTI punches hard towards its 6800rpm electronic cutout. Nowhere in that rev range does the four-cylinder feel undernourished, clawing strongly, with a feistiness befitting the hot-hatch tag.

It’s a fantastic little engine.

The gearbox is a winner, slickly selecting ratios, with a good spread between all six.

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Our previous experience with the six-speed twin-clutch DSG reinforces it’s also a class act, with a blat on full-throttle up-changes and a slickness to its shifts that goes some way to offsetting the occasional around-town clunkiness when taking off.

Sealing the GTI’s reputation as one of the great new turbocharged engines is respectable fuel use of about eight or nine litres per 100 kilometres around town. It’s helped by the good stop-start system that temporarily shuts down the engine when stationary.

While that’s more than the claimed 6.2L/100km average, it’s still very good, considering the performance on offer.

On the road

Despite its hatchback bones, the Golf GTI feels more performance car on the road. Grip from the 18-inch Bridgestones is great (some also come with Dunlop tyres), allowing for brisk and confident cornering. The GTI chews through a set of corners with surprising pace.

It’s just as at home in a sweeping bend as it is punching out of a tight hairpin, something that has the electronic differential working to apportion drive to the wheel with traction.

Just as impressive is its well-tuned ride, which has some requisite firmness and resistance to leaning when pushing on, but manages to dispose of road uglies and settle quickly after bumps. It’s a polished all rounder that is just as home in pockmarked suburban streets as it is on a flowing, challenging strip of blacktop.

The GTI is relatively quiet too, hushing wind and tyre noise, while allowing the rortiness of the engine to occasionally waft into the cabin.

While it’s sending all its power through the front wheels only (the upcoming Golf R will drive all four wheels), it does so with efficiency, helped by its smart electronics that occasionally grab a brake delicately to contain any unwanted wheelspin and keep the car powering effectively out of a bend.


Few cars offer the all-round polish of the Golf GTI. A fantastic engine, great dynamics and upmarket interior combine with reasonable value to make it the current hot-hatch pick.

As for Volkswagen’s quality and customer service issues, Drive’s experience and feedback suggest the company has stepped up, although there’s still room to improve. While that may be enough to make us think twice about shelling out for some VWs, we’d happily line up for a GTI.

Vital statistics

Price $41,490 (manual), $43,990 (auto), plus on-road and dealer costs

Power 162kW at 4500-6200rpm

Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Golf GTE

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