New Golf GTi Performance seems to have it all!

Hugh Maguire: is very impressed with this drive

Hugh Maguire

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Hugh Maguire

New Golf GTi Performance seems to have it all!

Hugh Maguire: is very impressed with this drive

I spent one of the wettest weeks in January splashing around in the new VW Golf GTi Performance Pack version, and came away from my road test very impressed with the new car.

The GTi Performance boasts some extra performance enhancements over the “standard” version.

Power is up 10 bhp to 230 bhp, it has a specially developed front differential lock, a more advanced vehicle dynamic function, revised steering, and internally ventilated discs now on all four wheels.

The GTi needs no introduction of that I am sure. The latest version has all the qualities of the new VW Golf range with that extra spice that only the GTi can deliver.

First Impressions

You will not mistake this car for anything but a VW Golf GTi. The styling has evolved rather than radically changed and I suppose that is a good thing.

The 18” inch two tone Austin alloy wheels, GTi specific bumpers, red GTi badging, large rear twin chrome exhaust pipes, and GTI specific red brake calipers all distinguish this Golf GTi from the rest of the pack.

Behind The Wheel

The interior gets a touch of the sporty treatment too with chrome detailing around the dials, the “Clark” chequered interior trim harks back to the interior of the very first GTi’s, the leather trimmed multifunction sports steering wheel which by the way is not completely round but has a flat base like a racing car and aluminium look pedals. It all looks great.

Everything is where you would expect it, with the usual high standard of ergonomics and unsurpassed build quality.

The dashboard is a model of clarity with easy to read instruments and switches that move with a well- engineered precision. I really like the soft red mood light strips in all four door interior panels.

Standard equipment includes Climatic climate control, cruise control, an on board computer, high quality stereo with MP3 compatibility and an AUX port, a six-speed manual gearbox front fog lights, Fatigue detection, Bluetooth with audio streaming, a super and very high tech centrally mounted touchscreen, GTi Sports Seats, Start/Stop technology, and the usual electrics we have come to expect.

On the safety front it is also well kitted out with, ABS, HBA ( Hydraulic Brake assist), CBA (Cornering Brake Assist) Front, side and curtain airbags, a drivers knee airbag, ESP, ISOFIX, and full three point rear belts.

The cabin is very well laid out and of course has bags of leg and headroom both front and rear.

Performance

Well the GTi is all about performance, and this new one does not dissapoint. The Performance version is 10 bhp more powerful than the standard GTi and you will notice it!

Power comes from a four cylinder petrol which now develops 230bhp and is mated to a standard 6-speed manual or the optional DSG gearbox.

Power delivery is rapid and smooth. It will hit 100km from a standstill in 6.4 seconds and top out at a max of 250km/h..

However the figures do not tell all. It feels quick, with plenty of mid range punch but it is also very refined, almost too much so in fact for a sporty car. Driven with restraint, which is difficult you may burn on average 7.3 litres per 100km. Road tax is €280.00

Road Behaviour

The new VW Golf GTi rides and handles very nicely. That sports suspension, which is lowered by 15mm does a rather good job of insulating the passengers from road imperfections. Yes its firm but not unduly so. The GTI has dynamic handling with no body roll in corners and limpet like grip. The electronic differential lock does its job very well ensuring power is put on the tarmac with minimum wheel spin and virtually no torque steer. This new Golf GTi proves surefooted whether on wet or dry roads and the brakes provide powerful stopping power. Its fast, surefooted, sporty and refined, yet eminently practical as you would expect of a Golf GTi.

Verdict

The new Golf GTi Performance is a winner! It delivers in all areas and in particular as a performance hot hatch. Prices start at €35,845 for the 3-door manual, rising to €37,970 for the 5-door. My test car cost €40,039 which included a few options such as metallic paint, rear privacy glass, Bi-Xenon lights and 18’ rather than 17’ inch wheels.

The new Golf GTi Performance is one of the most interesting and involving cars I have driven of late. It offers a terrific blend of style, performance and practicality which is simply hard to beat. It is a car with many characters, from a hot blooded all-out high performance machine to plodding around in city traffic or just doing the school run, the GTi takes to all these roles with ease. There is no other car in this class to match it.