Volkswagen Golf GT Sport 1.4 TSI (DSG), Fiat Bravo 1.4 T-Jet Dynamic Review
Plain Jane or Jane Fonda?

Text and Photos by Khong Shaohao and Amery Reuben
3 Oct 2007
 

Traditionally, your typical hot hatch is a version of some sedate sedan derivative, butchered bumless with an engine on steroids. These days everyone in the circus has a hot hatch, and with that some are hotter than others. However, some manufacturers have begun to realise that not everyone really needs that much heat in their hatches, lest they want to start attracting mongrels, too.



So in come the warm hatches. And no, they won’t do 0-100 in 2 seconds. Just simmering enough to hose off the odd pesky shopping trolley that remains undecided in lane merges.

If the R32 Golf is the super delicious, super hot, supermodel girlfriend that all the lads would have pinned up in their lockers, then that would make the GTI the slightly more reachable hot chick that everyone loves chatting up at the watering hole.

Where does this leave the GT? It’s certainly not the ugly, evil sister. Well I suppose it would be good ol’ pleasant plain Jane from the neighbourhood. Nothing wrong with that at all. Greets everyone with a cheery smile, no airs, no graces, does well at school, popular with most of the community for all the right reasons. Reasons good enough to overcome the lack of cubic capacity where it really counts, which also means low maintenance.

Technicalities revisited

On it’s own it’s a technological marvel. A whizbang of a car. Clever engine, clever gearbox. So clever it might even make tea if taught well enough.

What’s so clever about the powerplant then. Here’s the thing, the GTI makes 200 bhp from a 2.0 litre engine. The GT makes 170 bhp from a 1.4 litre engine. If you work out your maths with modern day arithmetic, that puts the GTI’s specific power output at 100bhp per litre, whilst the GT’s at a whopping 121 bhp per litre. Both are force fed engines, just that the GT has a supercharger AND a turbocharger.

Now, that’s just greedy isn’t it.

Nein, protests Volkswagen. This is the justification. The GT’s supercharger takes care of grunt till about 2-3,000rpm, calls it a day, and the turbo takes over till the rev limiter. This results in an almost idiot-proof powerband. There’s adequate muscle in the low end for some lazy overtaking and a decent amount of poke for some angry overtaking.

However, it’s all singing and dancing if you happen to begin flooring it from the supercharged state. One of the flaws in this application is that if you’re holding onto a few revs in its turbocharged territory, in anticipation of launching yourself into an upcoming gap, then a little bit of lag rears its repulsive head. Otherwise it’s not too noticeable, but do be prepared.

Then again, be a little bit more prepared with the 150 hp and 206 Nm of the Fiat. Nothing much happens beneath 2,000rpm other than a soft growl and it would seem that the car moves in geological time. Once past 2,000rpm, there’s a bit more of a growl and a bit of a hiss.

By 2,500rpm, you would have felt the surge of boost coming on and by then the engine is fully awakened. After 5,000rpm or so, the engine is needing some Ventolin, hence, a change of gears. Overall it feels like a fun engine, with rising boost to feed a funky midrange. Having said that, it has a little more lag than the Golf and it’s also thirstier, too.


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