Ah, hope. Hope's a good thing; it primes you to expect the best outcome you can imagine. It sets you down a mental path that, until zero hour, is filled with happiness, lights and smiles. A person will hope their birthday party will be awesome, they'll hope they have a productive day at work that leads to untold praise and riches, they may even hope that one day someone'll make a pre-packaged sandwich that doesn't taste like cardboard. They may even hope that one day they'll be zooming around in a sports car, carefree and happy.
However, because life never, ever, turns out the way you want it to, the whole "sports car" thing doesn't tend to materialise. If it did the roads would be crawling with two seaters and Kia would be racing to make not another econo-box, but a jazzy 2+2 with 180bhp and a slippery rear end. Because life twists in unexpected ways, cars like the Golf GTI are ideal -- you can have your sportscar speed, but also have room in the back for your two wonderful offspring and their colouring books. There's also a boot for prams, bags and a weekly shop. It's a compromise, yes, but not one that'll make you sigh every time you look at it.
The base Golf GTI comes with 217bhp, though a 227bhp Performance Pack can be specced if you like lots of go. If I'm honest, the 217bhp was enough -- zero to 62mph happens in 6.5 seconds, and it'll hit 153mph. That's hardly slow, is it?
On the move it doesn't feel hugely fast -- quick, yes, but fast? Not really. But once you're shifting, the GTI feels wonderfully fluid. It's a capable car that ensures even the dimmest of drivers can feel a little like a hero. The steering is nicely weighted, giving the impression that you may just be in a sports car after all. Twin that with a sport mode that sets everything to angry and you can live out your hopes with a grin on your face.
Yeah, it may have more than two seats. It may have boot suitable for bags larger than a satchel, too. But you know what? It might be as exciting as a sportscar; it might just be better for real people.