2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance

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Volkswagen’s Golf GTi is known as the sire of hot hatches since its introduction to the motoring world years ago.


The original fast German hatch was a car every boy racer dreamed of owning. But today, in the market that is shared by the BMW M140i, the Ford Focus RS and the Honda Civic Type R has begun to sound quite ….. rudimentary, if you want one for pure driving pleasure.

The Golf GTi, we think it is enough for it to be one of the best hot hatches your money can buy today.

Outside, a red stripe across the front grille that eats into the head lamps, defining the car’s iconic image. The front fog lamps are covered by a set of fins. Subtle pinching of the shoulders gives the Golf a sense of lightness; a small red “GTi” badge gives a hint of its identity on the front fender. Rear wings, with tiny piano black buttresses flank the rear windscreen, supposedly to create better aerodynamic efficiency, taper into the sides of the windshield. At the base of the rear bumper, there are the twin tail pipes which add to the balanced design of the Golf.

As per all Golfs, interior quality is bulletproof. The manual air conditioning knobs allow adjustment of the fan speed, while dual climate control keeps both the driver and front passenger comfortable at the right temperature. A hint that you are in something special, comes from the bottom spoke of the steering wheel, with a “GTi” badge on it, there is also red coloured double stitching around the wheel, which serves as a reminder, the vast responsibilities you have of being a GTi driver.

The infotainment binnacle might be the final analogue one to be produced, before Volkswagen switches to a fully digitised unit. While this is great for added flexibility of the instrument display, the analogue instruments do add a sense of mechanical realism to the drive, which I find, is important to keep, in view of keeping the Golf feeling simple.

As per all Golfs, the GTi is actually a practical daily driver. Front and rear legroom are excellent, the seat offer good support for four adults plus a child; an ideal for family usage. There is also a generous boot space for the hatch, at 380 litres. If you are in the market for a properly sorted; “go everywhere, do anything” performance hatch, the VW Golf GTi is one of the most satisfying to have.

The thing that ultimately defines the Golf GTi is really how does it drive and how it delivers the performance.

The well proven MQB platform that carries the car is also shared by the Skoda Octavia and the Audi A3, which is bigger and lighter than the previous Golf.

The potent 2.0-litre produces 169kw of power and 350Nm of torque. This current car actually producing 100 per cent more power than the first GTi. Maximum torque begins at a low 1,500rpm and keeps the generous torque spread till 4,400rpm. Century sprint figures are 6.5 seconds.

The power delivery of the car when accelerating is surprisingly quite linear and non-in-your-face kind of brutal. Although there is just a tad of lag in start-stop situations, the pre-boost drivability of the GTi is good and creeping the car along is not much of an issue.

The Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) allows the suspension dampening settings to be toggled, including dropping the car by 15mm in “Sport” mode for better stability. Call it an “up-trickle” or a “down-trickle” effect, but somehow, all Golfs drive really well, and the GTi, pushes the handling envelope much further with the DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control).

Playing with the various drive modes brought out the best in the GTi in different situations, from laid back cruising speeds, to white knuckle, around multi-bends-moments.

In summary, we feel the Golf GTi has a rock solid reputation, excellent build, great engine and transmission combination, lovely styling and just right noise deadening. This is the one car, we could simply walk into the showroom with the full confidence of not testing drive it and it will guarantee you a smile on your face.
  • Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol
  • Output: 169kW/350Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch
  • Fuel: 6.6L/100km (ADR Combined)
  • CO2: 153g/km (ADR Combined)
  • Safety Rating: Five-star (ANCAP)
$46,490 (plus on-road costs)