£27,495 - £30,925 Price range
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Powering the Golf GTI is a 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine that provides not only a very smooth power delivery, but also a respectable 250lb ft of torque to give instant acceleration when you put your foot on the accelerator pedal. Driving the Golf GTI is what you would expect from a VW – stable and without any nasty surprises.
Although not cheap, the Golf GTI holds its value well and thanks to superb German engineering it feels built to last. The interior is solid and constructed from pleasant materials – a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard and gives easy control of the radio and the car’s systems.
All GTIs come equipped with a styling pack and sport suspension that distinguish it from the other models in the Golf line up. The performance pack and adaptive suspension are recommended optional extras for more power and improved handling.
Check out our 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI price, specs and release date guide to see how the eighth generation model could look.
Upon opening the driver’s you’ll be struck by the tartan seats that are offered as standard – the same upholstery was available on the original version way back in the 1970s.
The well-bolstered seats and the red stitching on the steering-wheel are some of the few sporty details that separate the GTI’s interior from the rest of the model range. The overall quality is very high, typical for VW, but the layout lacks excitement.
Volkswagen Golf GTI passenger space
This Golf is around two inches longer than its predecessor, meaning a little more space on the front and the rear seats. In the back, the two outside seats are heavily bolstered, to grip passengers during quick cornering. However, the middle seat is slightly narrower, meaning three adults will find it a tight fit.
Volkswagen Golf GTI boot space
The 380-litre boot in the Golf GTI puts it ahead of the Focus ST but behind the likes of the cheaper Octavia vRS. The GTI does offer an adjustable floor and has a very low lip on the opening, making the space very usable. Folding the rear seats is easy and leaves a completely flat loading area. The car has plenty of storage, having decent-sized door bins and a couple of central pods.
As you probably expect, the Golf GTI is incredibly capable at going fast, but also it’s described by reviewers as much more forgiving in terms of ride comfort than other performance hatchbacks. It takes corners with confidence and offers good amounts of grip, but doesn’t feel unsettled or overly firm on poorly surfaced roads.
The driving experience is improved by opting for the adaptive chassis. At £800 it’s a package worth shelling out for, offering multiple driving modes including ‘sport’ and ‘comfort’, which alter throttle response, the suspension set up and chassis feel.
The performance pack is another recommended extra. It adds larger brake callipers, 10hp and shaves 0.1 of a second off the 0-62 mph figure. Its limited-slip differential makes the car unerringly quick in the corners. The pack will set buyers back around £1000 but is money well-spent if you are an enthusiast.
The Golf GTI is offered with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine which generates around 220hp, which puts it 30hp down on the Ford Focus ST. However, it does have a weapon up its sleeve in the form of a huge boost in torque compared to its predecessor. It now offers over 250 ft lb meaning the car has incredible pulling power.
With the manual 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI engine Volkswagen offers fuel economy of 47mpg, which we think is quite healthy, given the car’s performance of 0-62 mph in 6.5 seconds. For those thinking ‘green’ the manual is the way to go, emitting 139g/km. The DSG adds 9g/km to that figure, raising road tax from £130 to £145.
Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG gearbox
One of the biggest decisions is whether to specify the optional £1,400 DSG paddle-operated gearbox or stick with the manual. If you will use the GTI for commuting, the DSG is recommendable as it allows for automatic mode during traffic jams.
Rated in 2012 the current Golf scores five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, coming out particularly high for both driver and passenger safety. The GTI is even safer with uprated brakes, the optional limited-slip differential and bigger, grippier tyres.
The GTI is by no means a cheap option. Add on some of those key extras and it’s not hard to get close to Golf R money. The GTI Clubsport sits between the GTI and R both in terms of price, power and equipment.
Volkswagen Golf GTI specs
Volkswagen offer a comprehensive warranty with the Golf, however, for extra peace of mind it also offers an extension of up to five years, costing an additional £550.
While the Volkswagen Golf GTI isn’t the cheapest hot hatch out there its relatively affordable running costs and strong secondhand values make up for this. Those attributes, combined with the car’s performance, class-leading build quality and practical interior, make it a superbly well-rounded package.