VW Golf GTI Vs GTD – Comparing Volkswagen’s Latest Hot Hatchbacks

If the long-term visitors to carwow are experiencing a bit of dj vu from this piece, we wouldnt blame you almost exactly a month ago to the day, we posted a piece on VWs duo of hot Golfs, which had (at the time) just been revealed at this last Februarys Geneva Motor Show.

Since then, more details have been released on both cars, and the order books for the Golf GTI have literally just opened in the UK. So, as a result, weve decided the time is right to compare the pair for a second time around.

And were gonna start the Head-to-Head with what every prospective hot hatch owner is perhaps most interested in: the claimed speed stats.


Volkswagen Golf GTI

Though both cars have 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engines nestled behind their honeycomb mesh front grilles, theyre the only areas where the petrol GTI and the diesel GTD have anything in common with their respective motors.

For instance, whilst the GTD has a not-inconsiderable 185hp to play with, the petrol-powered GTI comes out of the box with a super unleaded surplus of 220hp.

As a result, the GTI will always be the bookies favourite in any Traffic Light GP against its oil-burning sibling whilst the GTDs 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds and 142mph top speed arent shabby, they do pale in comparison to the 6.5 seconds to the 62mph marker and 152mph top speed.

Whats more, the GTIs optional Performance Pack improves those stats by a tenth of a second and 3mph respectively.

Volkswagen Golf GTD

The GTDs saving grace, though, is its torque whilst the GTIs peak of 258lbs/ft arrives in the rev range at just 1,500rpm, compared to the GTDs 1,750, the diesel hot Golf has marginally more twisting force, courtesy of its 280lbs/ft.

Which should be of some use when, say, youre overtaking traffic on a dual carriageway. Or if you come across a Mk 7 Golf GTI, and persuade the owner to partake in a brief drag race, with the only impromptu rule being you can only select fifth gear…

Sporty styling cues, inside and out

VW Golf GTI driving

As befitting of cars that Volkswagen described in the official press releases as feisty hot hatches thatll rock the road, the GTI and GTD models are adorned with subtly sporty bodykits, to differentiate the halo models in the Golf range from the almost inevitable best sellers, like the 2.0 TDI and 1.4 TSI ACT.

For example, both cars sport a pair of chromed exhaust pipes, roof spoilers, more pronounced side skirts, a more aggressive front bumper design and a stripe across the front of the car (red for the GTI, silver for the GTD), which continues into the headlamp cluster.

In fact, the only obvious external details to differentiate the two bar that stripe are the horizontal slats on the GTIs front bumper, the swap around of the I or the D on the badging, depending on the model, and the fact the GTD rides on 17inch wheels, whereas the GTIs gets 18s.


The theme of suggested athleticism is continued inside, with detailing such as flat-bottomed steering wheels, retro-tastic tartan seats (a GTI trait from the Guigaro-designed Mk 1s inception all the way back in 1975) and stainless steel pedals.

Volkswagen also claims the diesel hot Golf gets a GTD-specific gear lever. Though, judging from the solitary press pic we have of the GTDs interior, we cant really see anything strikingly obvious that differentiates it from the equivalent component in the GTI.

Oh, and being a Golf, the overall build quality, fit-and-finish and practicality should be as youd expect from the sporty versions of the car thats just been crowned the 2013 World Car of the Year.

Value for money

VW Golf GTI interior

Taking the OTR figures at face value, theres very little to separate the GTI and GTD when it comes to pricing at time of writing, the 25,845 GTI is a mere 560 more expensive to buy than the GTD.

However, nothing in life is that simple, and its here where things start to get more complicated, depending on what youre willing to compromise on.

For starters, if the regular 220hp GTI isnt enough for you, theres always the aforementioned optional Performance Pack…which adds another 980 to the asking price.

Then theres the matter of overall running costs. Whilst the GTIs claimed 47mpg (44.1 for DSG-equipped GTIs) and Vehicle Excise Duty fee of 115, they are quite weak in comparison with the GTDs efficiency ace cards of at least 60.1mpg on the combined cycle (up to a very impressive 67mpg form GTDs with the standard-fit manual transmission), as well as a mere 20 sum to fork out annually to the VED tax man.

VW Golf GTD interior

So, whilst we wont rationalise the GTI and GTD in the same way we do for the more mainstream models in the Golf range these are driver-centric hot hatchbacks, after all the massive running cost savings the diesel car has to brag about certainly shouldnt be ignored…

Priced from: 25,285 (GTD), 25,845 (GTI)

Available from: Now deliveries start in summer 2013


From the stats and info weve got at our disposal, it looks like the GTIs biggest rival competitor for could actually end up being the GTD: sure, the, we assume, super zingy turbo- petrol engine and the more balanced weight distribution (diesel engines have the tendency of being much heavier than their petrol counterparts) will undoubtedly appeal to the more enthusiastic driver, but the GTD still has its merits.

Mostly because judging by its predecessors reception the GTD has all the likelihood of offering most of the GTI thrills, yet with the efficiency that would have only been attainable in the most frugal economy cars from not so long ago.

So, theoretically, the big question is this: do you sacrifice fuel economy for extra power and pace, or vice versa?

GTI and GTD reviews are now out. We’ve aggregated and summarised all the expert’s reviews of each, check out our Golf GTI review page and Golf GTD review page for more info on each.

If youre interested in buying a new Golf, you can also compare VW dealer prices online not only have we been able to negotiate an average saving off ever Golf GTD and GTI order, but all orders sent through us go straight to official VW dealers, and includes free delivery within England and Wales.

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