XCAR: Volkswagen Golf GTI: All in one
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XCAR: Volkswagen Golf GTI: All in one

4:50 /

The new VW Golf GTI does... everything. Seriously, it does everything you could ever need it to.

It's time to get excited again, excited about a car that many lost after that comparatively few ever get to experience. This is the new Volkswagen Golf GTI, the car for the driver who wants everything. The Golf GTI's story is one we've told before, but it is pretty cool. You see the original Golf GTI wasn't actually supposed to exist, but thanks to some after hours work from some keen engineers, it came to be. The car that was once produced was light and moderately powerful. Therefore, it's pretty brisk indeed, even if its brakes were a bit [unk]. When it went on sale, it became an instant hit. And those three letters [unk] GTI instantly became synonymous with fun fast, hatchbacks the world over. The first two generations of Golf GTIs were a hit. Both are still highly sought-after machines while the next two were less so. VW found its feet again with the Mark 5 and 6, creating fun 200 brake horsepower plus hatches for the folk who needs some fun on the way home. The Mark 7 is no different from the 5 and the 6. It's fast, it's frugal, and it's fun. It's got a fair few tricks of its sleeves too. Tricks it shares with the foot soldiers of the golf range. But those don't really feel to ease or comfortable or even need those particular toys, for example, the ability to change the driving mode. You don't buy a 1.6-liter diesel through a sport button. No, you buy a 1.6-liter diesel to get from A to B as calmly, comfortably, and efficiently as possible and the car will fit in wherever it goes. That's the glory of the Golf, but you get a GTI. You get a GTI because you know there's more to life than it'll do. You buy a GTI because good enough isn't good enough. It's gotta be perfect. Your view on perfection may vary to those of others of course, but the Golf GTI has always, for me, at least, tossed it on the edge of Perfect Car Syndrome, a car that's right for any and every situation. In this spec, you get 220 horsepower, 258 pound-foot, 151-mile-an-hour top speed and a knot to 62-time of 6.5 seconds, so it's fast and that's before you expect the optional performance pack which adds a little bit more power. You get 230 horses of power. Volkswagen claims you can get 44 miles per gallon [unk], though I freely admit I haven't seen. Now, I've seen low to mid-30. Still, it's quite efficient as they can. Also, it's very spacious. You can fit friends, family, and stuff in it. All in all, it's almost perfect. I say almost perfect because, personally, my idea of a perfect car probably has a knot to 62 time in less than 6 seconds and, let's face it, it's probably rear wheel drive because of fun. But on paper, this is a pretty comforting car all told. In practice, always very, very good. Just a good giggle, you fling it into a corner, give it a little bit of poke and off it goes. And it's remarkably comfortable as well. We have sporty seats with bolsters that are oddly spongy, but they're upholstered in tartan like the original Mark 1 GTIs. How cool is that! It really is a cracking little motor. I like to think that everyone at some point in their lives has had an experience with the Golf GTI. It's sort of a benchmark for normal class. You graduate from it wanting something special, something more from your ride. It's a gateway car. The Golf GTI doesn't have a billion horsepower and it doesn't have a look that will turn every head on the high street, but it's still special. It's found that balance between family drag wagon and sports car. You still get your performance and you get the sporting tweaks on the exterior like the vents and the red line that goes all the way across the front, but its space is enough. You can take family, friends, and stuff weekly wherever you go. Everyone's definition of a perfect car is different; for some, its space and frugality; for others, its looks and performance. But as another rounder, the Golf GTI is pretty much perfect.

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