Here in The Garage we have a long history with the VW Golf, dating back to the early Eighties. The first car I ever piloted around an autocross course was an 82 Rabbit GTI. The car was light, nimble, responsive and made the spectators giggle when the inside rear wheel lifted off the ground. The GTI responded well to fairly simple modifications that made the experience all the more fun. When the event planners at Franczak Enterprises asked if I would like to attend the launch of the all new 2010 VW Golf Family in Quebec I was more than happy to say yes.
Did I mention the black sheep of the family would be introduced at the legendary Circuit Mont Tremblant?
The 2010 Golf is indeed a family of vehicles, that truly offer something for everyone. Of course the 3 door hatch starts things off with a nod to the traditional layout and is joined by a 5 door hatch and a not so traditional wagon. With a
bit lot of massaging, the 3 door is transformed into the formidable GTI. Broadening the choice even further is the choice between a 2.5L gas 5 cylinder or a 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo diesel mated to a manual transmission or 6 speed automatic Direct Shift Gearbox otherwise known as DSG. Of course there is a third engine, the 2.0L, turbo charged, direct injected, 200 horsepower 4 pot that has found its way into the GTI. Here too there is choice, as buyers can choose between the slick shifting 6 speed manual or 6 speed DSG with paddle shifters in either 3 or 5 door configuration.
We began our day in Montreal, winding our way northwest to Mont Tremblant in an assortment of 3 & 5 doors and wagons. Along the way, we would stop and swap with other drivers to get a better idea of what the full line drove like as we passed by the last of the Fall colours. Upon our arrival at the track, we made the switch to performance mode. On the main track, a fleet of GTI’s of each possible configuration were put through their paces, while some 3 & 5 door models wound their way around the autocross course.
On the first evening I had noticed Richard Spenard, one of Canada’s greatest sports car racers, working his way around the room and assumed he was our instructor for the day. As our motley group of auto writers were given instructions prior to getting in the cars, we were informed that a second guy named Pat would be lending a hand. Pat turned out to be non other that Canadian racing star Patrick Carpentier! Obviously we were in for an exciting afternoon.
In the next two parts, I’ll give my impressions of the 3 door 2.5L car and the TDI Wagon and try to explain what an incredible track weapon the GTI is.