GTIs Galore: VW Hot Hatch Family Feud Ends With Near Photo Finish

When it comes to straight line acceleration, betting on the horse with… well, the most horsepower is usually the way to go. However, the human element also needs to be factored in, and that refers both to the reaction time and (if it’s a manual) gear changing.

Let’s face it, trying to shift faster than a modern-day automatic transmission is a bit like how Go champion Lee Sedol attempted to defeat Google’s AI-powered AlphaGo software. Spoiler alert: it didn’t end well for the people’s champ.

So how does that apply to this drag race between the all-new Polo GTI, Golf GTI, Golf Clubsport S and Up! GTI?

The two most powerful cars here are separated by some 80 horsepower, in favor of the Clubsport S. The Golf GTI is of course second when it comes to power, followed by the latest Polo GTI, whose 2.0-liter TSI unit makes 200 PS and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque.

The Polo actually put up a surprisingly good fight during the rolling start part of the race, hanging in there alongside the two Golf models for a few seconds before getting left behind. The Up! GTI, with its modest 115 PS and 200 Nm (148 lb-ft) of torque, was of course dead last.

To us, the best part was the standing 1/4 mile race, where the Golf GTI’s launch control and automatic gearbox helped it race shoulder to shoulder with the considerably more powerful Clubsport S version, which was equipped with a 6-speed manual. The human driver clearly struggled to shift quickly enough, especially at high speed. They may be not sit well with purists, but when it comes to speed, dual-clutch transmissions are simply superior.

  • Six_Tymes

    so, the fastest if the club sport with dsg


  • Earl Scheib

    The parade of the uglies!

  • dale kana

    I don’t give a rats ass how quick it shifts. It’s the art of manually shifting gears. I know today’s automatic is quicker. I know Auto manufacturers are selling more vehicles because of automatics. Good for you.

    • Infinite1

      Agreed, the enjoyment of rowing between gears and handling the wheel is utterly satisfying. Anyone can pull on paddle shifters but not everyone can shift gears manually

    • pmindemann

      Yep… a stick, every time. I had an R32 with a DSG (all we could get in the U.S.), and sold it within a year. It was too boring, and the hesitation on launch was annoying. I couldn’t be more pleased with the 6-speed manual in my current GTI.

New Bugatti Centodieci Joins Unique Exhibit Alongside Past And Present Hypercars

The Bugatti Centodieci was unveiled last week at The Quail in Pebble Beach.

Mystery Porsche Panamera Turbo Prototype Looks Extreme, Could Pack 820 HP

This intriguing Porsche Panamera Turbo prototype brings an extreme aero kit, oversized ceramic brakes, and “crazy” sound.

Mark Webber Gives New Porsche 911 Carrera S Seal Of Approval

Former F1 driver Mark Webber took the latest Porsche 911 Carrera S for a spin down under.

Lewis Hamilton Wants To Be Challenged Consistently By Verstappen And Leclerc

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to a proper title battle between himself, Verstappen and Leclerc.

2020 Mini JCW GP Got A Tan In California Over The Weekend

The JCW GP was part of Mini’s 60th anniversary celebrations, alongside the Cooper SE and other cars.

Ferrari To Expand GT Range But Won’t Chase Porsche Volume

Ferrari thinks 40% of sales could be due to Grand Touring models by the year 2022.

New Mercedes-AMG A45, CLA 45 Set New Pricing Heights For Compact Cars

The base A45 hatch starts at €56k, while the CLA 45 S Shooting Brake is the priciest of the bunch, at a whopping €66k.

Fiat Is Readying An Expanded Family Of New ‘500’ Models

Fiat won’t be bothered with large cars and intends its future models to be between 3.5 and 4.5 meters in length.

Mercedes-Benz A250e And B250e Plug-In Hybrids Are On Deck

Order books have opened for the A-Class hatchback and sedan, while the B-Class will launch in a few weeks.

2020 Nissan Juke Is Such A Tease, Debuts September 3 (Updated)

Nissan’s funky crossover is growing up for its all-new second-generation that’s coming this fall.