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Boys Night Out

So here we have the Volkswagen Golf GT - Turbocharged and Supercharged 1.4 Engine that VW claims will make pulp out of 2.3 litre cars. It was only natural of us to challenge VW's perceptions of what bigger NA engines could do. And so, to find out just exactly how good it really is, we pit it against a Fiat Stilo Abarth and a 230hp, rechipped BMW 525i as the photo car. Boy were we in for a shock...
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
24 May 2007

On drinking and The Missus

Cruising on the highway with the needle pointing north to a hundred, the revs are a little past 2,000 in sixth. Noise levels aren’t intrusive and the whole experience is nothing short of a calm, relaxing drive as in any other medium-sized hatch.

Getting to the buttons which display the digital information readouts is not a distracting reach, nor is the simple act of pushing it gently (unlike in some cars where it’s tedious to move the signal stalks) – another easily-missed detail to show that the engineers have been paying attention, and that “small” does not mean you would be getting any less than reassuring build quality.

Push the little square a few times and the instant fuel consumption readout turns up on your instrument panel. While official figures place figures at 7.2 L/100km, regular glances at the digital display showed that it drinks no more than 8.0 L/100km, and maintaining at 7.0L for most of the time.

Ding! One less point for the wife to argue on, while she’s trying to distract you from committing the act of buying one.

Also, because its four-pot banger is displacing less than the usual 1.6, you pay less every year for your road tax compared to the regular 2.4 or 2.5-litre cars. Insurance premiums, as far as it goes, can be had for much, much less than what you might expect from a Golf GTi, much less a Japanese performance car.

And there are plenty more, actually. There is a proper amount of passenger space, even for adults at the rear. So there’s another worry solved about “how is that hatch going to fit the kids and friends comfortably”. It’s reasonably comfortable too, despite its very alert chassis, sensitive to minute differences in the road surfaces.

On a slightly more helpful note, the boot capacity, being the same size as the Golf GTi, is also larger than most hot hatches. That gives the husbands the opportunity to volunteer for the weekly grocery shopping trips. Unless, of course, you’re the kind who can’t tell the difference between a broccoli and a cauliflower.

More importantly, with this car qualifying pretty much a hot hatch, you would want to do the weekly grocery shopping trips. Just so you have an excuse to go and drive it. A little in the same way ladies sometimes need a new dress for a particular dinner.

Even though they already have ten others in their wardrobe. It’s the kind of fun which makes you want to steal that little bit of time, so that you can have another go again.

When it started going round the twisties, we couldn’t help but get the impression that the GT prefers a little load on its 225/45 rear rubbers.

Once that was sorted out (ed. And by that we mean the addition of passengers in the rear seats) the pocket rocket began attacking corners with much ferocity, diving in and turning away as if it were a little Ninja, springing at his opponents, swinging his sword swiftly and gracefully, before lurching at the next target.

Only when every last turn was properly dealt with, the Golf was ready to settle down and return to its meditative mode.

At the end of the night, this car reminded me a lot of its cousin, the A3 2.0T Sportback. And, just like I had felt about that one, I did not want to get out of this. It was a remarkably splendid thing to drive and experience. Throughout the day, the cabin was continually filled with delightful shrieks of “Wow! From a one point four!”

This is a car that has the ability to bring out the joys from its occupants – not something many cars are capable of. And that means a lot.

Usually, if a humanly affordable car (yes, Ferraris and Lambos are bought by humans too, but that doesn’t make them “humanly affordable") is particularly good in one aspect, it does not perform just as well in all the others.

But this one does. It goes quick, seats 5, is comfortable, is good-looking, a joy to drive, carries the luggage and, most importantly, at just about $100Ks, it is humanly affordable.

Credits: Text by Andy Hum. Photos by Amery Reuben

Cars in this article
Volkswagen Golf GT Sport 1.4 TSI (DSG) 2008
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Volkswagen Golf GT Sport 1.4 TSI (DSG) 2008

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