The proven 2.0 turbocharged engine is a near full carryover from the previous car, but with some minor material changes to handle higher output. Engineers have coaxed out another +10 horses from the straight-four, and it now delivers 230ps. Maximum torque is on tap from between 1,500rpm to 4,600rpm, a generous spread. While there is a slight increase in power, emissions-wise the new car does perform slightly better, with 151 g/km of CO2, versus the previous car’s 153 g/km.
The Golf hits 100km/h in 6.4 seconds. With its full 350Nm on tap from 1,500rpm, you are assured a constant push into your seat, as the car works through its proven wet clutch 6-speed DSG transmission, while delivering signature DSG farts with each gear change. We were hoping that VW would have introduced their wet clutch 7-speed into the GTi though. We do love how the car keeps its composure even under hard acceleration, never frightening, but actually very assuring.
Cornering ability is razor-sharp, with very minimal understeer and roll, while steering feel is good from the progressive electric unit. As expected, the suspension is on the firm side, however GTi is still quite easy a car to live with, being able to soak up plenty of what our local roads can throw at it. The front seats are very supportive, and we would dare say with just the right mix of support and comfort.
Driven at a leisurely pace, the 2.0’s low-down torque delivery ensures that the car pulls readily, and is willing to upshift early under “Economy” mode, without the engine ever feeling sluggish. The now-familiar coasting function also helps drivers save pennies on fuel cost, and surprisingly, I did actually enjoy the drive in Eco mode, almost as much as flicking the hot hatch around some challenging corners.
New to the Golf, are a set of blind spot sensors, crucial to assisting you with lane changes, by monitoring vehicles behind you from speeds above 30km/h, and offering visual warnings at the respective wing mirrors. Rear Traffic Alert helps in preventing rear-ward T-boning by checking on approaching vehicles as you reverse, by providing an audible warning to the driver upon detecting an approaching vehicle, and is able to apply the brakes automatically, if the driver fails to react.
The Golf also now features semi-automated park assist, making the chore of gauging as you park a little less daunting. We also like that Volkswagen had also made it easier for drivers to park head-in with the system.
While the GTi might not be a cheap car, and it never was, it is able to deliver driver satisfaction, not only when you’re gunning it around the bends, but even when you drive it delicately, or economically, it just delivers so well! With a few improved bits of equipment, and added performance, an already great iconic hatch has definitely set the bar higher.
In my lens, I would dare say that the iconic GTi is one of the very few cars you could simply purchase in full confidence, even without asking for a test drive.