With the MkV GTI, VW recaptured the mojo of the MkI and MkII GTIs to the delight of VW purists, plus any enthusiast who appreciates a car that is a kick in the pants to drive. But when it’s time for a new Golf, we also get a new GTI. Since the old GTI was such a great package, VW pretty much left the drivetrain, suspension and steering alone. What we do get is a new exterior and instrument panel. The black honeycomb grill with red stripes, an homage to the Mk I GTI, looks great, and should make anyone smile who “gets it” smile.
What should also continue to make a GTI driver smile is the powerplant-still a 2.0L turbo intercooled four with 200hp. Depending on your preferences, you have a choice of a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. The manual takes you to 60mph from a stop in 6.8 seconds (6.7 for the DSG), while delivering 21 city/31 highway mpg (the DSG does slightly better, at 24/32mpg). It’s also worth mentioning the DSG features launch control.
Inside the GTI, the overwhelming theme is that this is a Driver’s Car. The flat-bottomed, red-stitched steering wheel, heavily bolstered front sport seats and metallic trim remind one of what a proper Teutonic interior should be. Standard on the GTI are heated seats, and a touch-screen in dash 6-disc CD changer with an iPod adapter and Bluetooth. New for 2010 is the Autobahn package, which includes leather seating and a power moonroof.
The GTI continues to be sold as a two or four-door hatch. Pricing starts at $23,290USD for a two-door with a 6-speed manual, to $24,990 for a four-door with the DSG transmission.
The Garage had an opportunity to see the latest GTI in person at the IMPA Test Days event in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. We were invited to an after-dinner party, where the GTI was on display in one of the resort’s ballrooms. Viewing the car from above, our video guru Scott Simmons remarked “That’s the new GTI.” Now, from my vantage point, to me it looked like the ’09 GTI, but Scott owns a VW R32. He’d know. For The Garage trivia buffs, Gary Grant and I live about 550 miles apart, so it’s not often we both see a new car together. Gary’s overriding feeling about the car was a dislike of its wheels; I’m not sure if I feel as strongly as he does, but I’d best describe them as someone who was inspired by the classic Porsche ‘telephone dial’ wheel design, and then dropped acid. While sitting in the GTI, admiring its sense of purpose, I was stunned when a woman swung open the passenger door, took a look at the wonderful, classic tartan seat fabric, and gasped “That is awful!’ I responded that “this is classic GTI, how can you not love this!” Insisting the look was detestable, the woman closed the door and walked away. I uttered “she’s crazy”, but then again I was the one with a glass of Pinot Grigio in the cupholder.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are professionals. Do not try this at home. Or at your local dealer.