One of the hottest of hot hatches, the Golf GTI offers speed, superb handling and sharp styling. With its extensive range of features and equipment, the GTI is a compelling automotive package.
Available in three and five-door iterations, the crisply fashioned GTI features body-coloured bumpers, door handles and door mirrors. The latter are electrically adjustable and heated and include integrated indicators. A black honeycomb radiator grille adds impact to a smart front-end and is adorned by the GTI insignia. A roof spoiler brings extra definition to a rear fascia that also includes a black diffuser and smart chrome exhaust pipes. Illumination includes bi-Xenon headlights with daytime running lights, LED front fog lamps, LED tail lights and a high-mounted brake light.
A snappily designed five-seat cabin features black roof lining, chrome-plated surrounds on air vents and window buttons and stainless steel pedals. Heated front sports seats offer height-adjustability and lumbar support. Power-assisted steering, an electronic parking brake, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and two-zone climate control are among a range of standard features. Storage provision includes an illuminated, cooling and lockable glovebox and drawers positioned underneath front seats. A 380-litre boot features a height-adjustable and removable floor. With rear seats folded, cargo capacity extends to 1,270 litres.
A 2.0-litre petrol engine provides both performance and efficiency, producing 217bhp and 350Nm of torque. This enables the GTI to go from 0-60mph in approximately 6.7 seconds and achieve a top speed of 153mph. Despite its potency, the vehicle still returns 47.1mpg and 139g/km of CO2. The Start/Stop system switches off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop, thus reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions further.
A 6.5-inch colour touchscreen provides access to audio and navigation functionality, including a CD player, radio, mapping, points-of-interest and traffic-sign recognition. Bluetooth® connectivity is also included. An Anti-lock Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Driver Alert System, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System are among a range of driver aids. The GTI comes with a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, and passive safety features include seatbelt pre-tensioners and reminders, ISOFIX child-seat anchor points, child-proof rear doors and multiple airbags.
Choice from 4 alloy types across two sizes, 18" and 19":
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If you want a Golf with a little more poke, then there are a few avenues to go down. You could go down the hybrid route with the GTE, the diesel route with the GTD or the traditional one with the GTI. There’s also the all-encompassing Golf R, if you’re looking for all-weather traction.
Say you’ve gone for the traditional GTI but want a little extra poke, where do you go? The answer is here – to the GTI Performance. Power is boosted from the regular GTI’s 227bhp up to 242bhp, while a locking front differential and larger brakes are added for better cornering ability.
As mentioned, the GTI Performance gains a variety of mechanical tweaks designed to give it an edge over the regular GTI. That upgrade in power is crucial here, as is the inclusion of the front differential. Inside, you also get Volkswagen’s excellent Discover Pro infotainment system, accessed via a 9.2-inch colour touchscreen.
The media system is standard on the Performance, bringing a good level of value for money to the £35,364 car. It’s certainly not cheap, but you do get a lot of technology and performance for the outlay, as well as plenty of badge prestige with that all-important GTI moniker.
The GTI Performance uses the Golf’s regular 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor, which here produces 242bhp and a decent 370Nm of torque. It’s driven to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, controlled via steering-mounted paddles.
There’s also a range of stability systems fitted as standard, including electronic stability control and a full traction control system – as well as the previously mentioned differential. Our test car also featured dynamic chassis control (an £830 optional extra), which is a welcome addition when driving on country roads where a softer ride is imperative, and being able to change the ride softness is a huge plus.
In truth, the regular GTI feels sweet enough to drive without the inclusion of more power. However, that extra punch offered by this Performance model does feel noticeable, though because of the Golf’s unflustered way of delivering power it rarely feels sharp or raw. That’s our biggest criticism – the GTI Performance just doesn’t get under your skin in the way other cars do.
The acceleration is brisk, the larger brakes are sharp and have plenty of feel while the automatic gearbox will happily slush its way through the cogs – though manual changes lack the immediacy that you’d like. The dynamic chassis control is an optional extra we’d choose, as it allows you to soften the ride off enough for UK roads.
The GTI Performance does, in almost all areas, mirror the looks of the regular GTI. That means you get a full styling pack with reshaped front and rear bumpers, as well as a rear diffuser and tinted glass. How to spot a Performance? Look for GTI logos on the brake calipers, as well as larger diameter brake discs fitted behind them. It’s a stylish looking car, that’s for sure, and certainly looks special enough when compared to the ‘regular’ Golf.
It’s an exterior design which more than reflects the car’s price tag, and as with any other Golf, it looks just at home parked outside a luxurious hotel as it would in the supermarket car park. Transcending car etiquette is what the Golf has always done, after all.
The interior of the GTI Performance is finished to a high standard, with plenty of premium materials used throughout. There’s red stitching on the steering wheel and gear knob gaiter, and chrome-plated air vents to help lift the overall look of the cabin, too. Honeycomb black inserts also give the cabin a little more life, though despite being well-made, it’s not a hugely exciting place to be sat.
The cloth seats are hugely supportive, however, and should be ideal for anyone thanks to height and lumbar adjustment. They’re also heated – an added bonus in the colder months. You’ll also find 308 litres of seats-up boot space, rising to 1,270 litres with them folded down, ensuring that the GTI Performance remains practical as well as fun to drive.
The GTI Performance comes with a good amount of standard equipment. You get a 12.3-inch ‘Active Info Display’, which replaces the conventional dials with a screen. Clear and easy to read, it can relay key information back to the driver as well as displaying a satellite navigation readout and media functions. In addition, two-zone climate control comes fitted as standard, along with adaptive cruise control and parking sensors.
A Driving Mode Selection system is also fitted, allowing you to choose between Eco, Normal and Sport Modes. Each changes the steering and throttle response of the car – with Sport mode featuring the heaviest steering weights and sharpest throttle response. An Individual mode allows you to pick between the various settings to your liking, too.
The GTI Performance adds a little extra sparkle to the regular GTI offering a little more power for those who want it. High equipment levels mean that the Performance does feel like a complete package, while solid build quality justifies the price tag.
However, the £35,364 price of our test car put it in the same range as the more powerful, more capable Golf R, meaning that Volkswagen has provided a genuine alternative to the GTI Performance – from within its own range.
Model: Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance
Price as tested: £35,364
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol
Power (bhp): 242
Torque (Nm): 370
Max speed (mph): 154
MPG (combined): 44.8
Emissions (g/km): 144
|47 monthly payments of||£189.00|
|Retail cash price||£21,490.00|
|Optional final payment||£7,619.40|
|Option to purchase fee³||£10.00|
|Total amount payable||£23,097.51|
|Total amount of credit||£14,904.89|
|Representative APR %||3.6% APR|
|Rate of interest p.a.||3.6% fixed|
|Excess mileage charge||4.8p per mile|
|35 monthly payments of||£279.00|
|Deposit contribution ¹||£2,000.00|
|Retail cash price||£29,740.00|
|Acceptance fee ²||£0.00|
|Optional final payment||£9,861.30|
|Option to purchase fee ³||£10.00|
|Total amount payable||£31,926.20|
|Total amount of credit||£20,798.10|
|Representative APR %||3.6% APR|
|Rate of interest p.a.||3.6% fixed|
|Excess mileage charge||6p per mile|
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