What is this?
The defacto hot hatch, by which all hot hatches are compared with. It’s the car you get if you want to go fast, yet live with comfortably everyday, and most importantly, affordable for the performance you get.
The Mark 7 incarnation brought MQB tech to the GTI, along with the rest of the tech, chassis and engine updates of the standard Golf to the hot hatch.
So, is it still hot, or not?
The new GTI comes from the factory with a 10hp power boost to bring its total to 230hp. Peak torque remains the same, and you’ll probably be better off buying an older model and giving it to a professional tuner to get more than just ten horses out of the engine.
But VW has taken more refinements to the selectable drive modes. Go with the traffic flow at a normal pace, select the accompanying drive mode on the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) and it rewards you with a nice and smooth drive over most of the roads. Sure, it’s a little less unsettled than a standard Golf, but you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference on a vast majority of tarmac.
Engage Sport mode and the GTI takes of its suit, puts on a tank top and flexes The steering sharpens up a notch, the throttle response quickens and the suspension firms up. Attacking corners in this mode reaps plenty of smiles and eggs you to bring out the devil to play. In this mode, you’ll feel the various improvements to the chassis as it doesn’t flex as much as its predecessor, and the suspension – even if it feels stiffer – communicates better than the outgoing generation.
What about the rest of the car then?
The interior still remains a German teutonic affair, although the red stitching brings some visual excitement to an otherwise giant sea of black plastic surfaces. Most notably, the ‘Discover Pro’ entertainment system hsa ditched almost every button and gets more gesture recognition.
The boot gains a nifty addition of a subwoofer that’s built into the spare wheel, which adds just about the right amount of bass to accentuate the already good sound system – all without being overbearing.
It’s not a GTI today if it doesn’t come crammed with driver assisting features, which this GTI fulfils with park assist, blind spot indicators and the new Active Info Display, which you’ll probably spend quite some time to customize it to your liking.
Is it for me?
It’s not hard to recommend a GTI if you’re in the market for a fast hot hatch, although your requirements will determine if it’s the car for you. Hardcore trackies may want to put the new Civic Type R ahead of the GTI as it offers much more driver engagement and excitement, but it won’t be as comfortable as the GTI on a daily basis.
However, if you’re the kind of person who just wants one car to do it all, it’s hard to beat the GTI when it comes to being an all-rounder. Perhaps, that is the biggest problem with the GTI – it has grown too mature for the young audience it once attracted. But, if you always wanted a GTI since you were young, chances are, you would have grown older slightly too…
Volkswagen Golf GTI
Engine: 1,984cc, turbocharged inline-4
Power: 230hp / 4,700-6,200rpm
Torque: 350Nm / 1,500-4,600rpm
Transmission: 6-speed DSG
Top Speed: 248km/h
Fuel consumption: 6.5L/100km
VES B – Neutral
Availability: Now (www.volkswagen.com.sg)