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Volkswagen Golf GTI review: Hot to trot

Volkswagen's Golf GTI shows fast, fashionable fun can coexist with flexibility.



VOLKSWAGEN launched a facelifted version of its popular hatchback, the Golf, last month, and the one that will get drivers hottest under the collar is also the most famous model: the GTI.

While the Golf R tops the range with more power and a higher price tag (S$219,400 including Certificate Of Entitlement), it can't quite match the GTI when it comes to badge recognition.

That's thanks to a reputation for near-hooliganism, built over six generations.

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In the appropriate drive mode (Sport), the Golf has more than enough pace and poise to harry proper sports cars, while the lively turbocharged engine rips and snorts its way from apex to apex.

The facelift brings a modest 10 horsepower increase, which is nice to have even if most of us won't notice it. In any case, the true value of a GTI is that it can wear more than one hat with utter conviction.

Yet, the latest model tested here is the most refined of the lot. Turn the drive mode to Comfort and the almost-obnoxious exhaust note disappears, while the suspension has enough pliancy to put some slower cars to shame.

Taking the slow lane also lets drivers enjoy the new 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system that packs sharp graphics and a slick interface. It even has simple gesture controls so you can find something good to pipe through the excellent Dynaudio sound system.

With punchy power and persuasive performance, the GTI represents one of the best bargains in motoring not just because it's great at burning tarmac, but because it can deliver hot, cold, and everything in between.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

  • Engine 1,984cc, inline four, turbocharged
  • Power 230hp at 4700-6200rpm
  • Torque 350Nm at 1500-4600rpm
  • Gearbox 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Top Speed 248km/h
  • 0-100km/h 6.4 seconds
  • Fuel efficiency 6.5L/100km
  • CO2 151g/km
  • Price S$183,400 including COE
  • Agent Volkswagen Singapore
  • Available Now