I don’t really understand why some people used to call the old Mk V and Mk VI VW Golf GTIs boring, when in actual fact, with 200 – 210 hp, they are anything but that, and neither is the latest one, which is the lightest and most powerful one in years.
If you want a boring GTI, then look no further than the Mk IV, which only had a laughable 148hp (150PS) when it first came out, and was virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the range – it didn’t even have a proper visible exhaust tip, hiding its pipe behind the rear bumper.
The latest one is more powerful than before, and there’s even an optional Performance Pack which takes the peak output up to 227 hp (230 PS), narrowing the straight line performance gap which used to separate older GTIs from their rivals. This is also helped by the lower weight, as Chris Harris discovers while driving the standard GTI, without the Performance Pack, for his latest Drive video.
He admits to being a bit confused as to whom the car is addressed to, explaining that these cars were reserved for enthusiasts back closer to their original conception point, who bought them and drove them hard to extract all of the extra performance. Now, even with the six-speed manual (a superfast dual-clutch is available, of course) the GTI is reportedly extremely easy to drive, and can do both comfy and stiff and grippy, depending on which driving mode is selected.
Thankfully, there’s an “Individual” mode, as well which lets the driver tailor the settings either according to the road conditions, or his/her own personal taste.
Harris’ conclusion is that the GTI is very comfortable to cruise in while in Comfort Mode, yet once it’s sharpened up electronically, it becomes an entertaining hot hatch.
Scroll down and watch the entire video, and as always use it to merely acquire information, and not change/form your own opinion - get to drive the car, then try drawing conclusions. Besides, it's not even that hard to take one for a test drive, even if you have to slightly mislead a showroom rep to do so...
By Andrei Nedelea